Life in our Foothills October 2021 – A Treasure Hunter’s Dream
Story and photographs by Erin Boggs
You would be hard-pressed to find a better way to spend a day than losing yourself in the over 26,000 square feet of this absolute treasure trove, Tryon Antique Mall and Market Place. Nothing matches the glee of finding that perfect one-of-a-kind item. Here, Antique meets Modern, and every kind of item you could dream of can all be found in one spot. That’s why owners Kim and Michael Ravan chose to name the Antique Mall a “Market Place” as well.
Winner of the Favorites of the Foothills competition for the second year in a row, after just one visit you will see why locals voted it number one in the area. It’s open seven days a week and filled with items for every corner of your home and yard, as well as craft materials, clothing, including hand-made wool knits, holiday décor, even food items and fire wood. The fudge made by a local confectioner flies off the shelves and customers from near and far call in just to make sure it’s in stock before they head over. There is also fresh baked bread baked by a local vendor, and jams and jellies.
Since 2015 when the family bought the business, the Antique Mall has expanded to nearly 400 rental spaces for their vendors. The vendors can choose from book cases, curios, walls and booths for their rental spaces. Item display on the patio space in front of the store is a gift from the Ravans, and each vendor is invited to place two or three items out front for that space. From as far away as Myrtle Beach and Charleston, to those from local towns, the vendors travel to the Market Place and constantly maintain their booths with thousands of eye-catching finds.
“Business has just grown by leaps and bounds since Covid,” says Kim. “People wanted to be out. We’re not accustomed to being unsocial. We want to shop, we want to do things, we want to be with people. And I just feel like that’s played a huge part in that.”
The business has grown to include eight dedicated employees, including Kim’s long-time friend Barbara, to help customers have a pleasant shopping experience at the Mall.
Born and raised in Polk County, Kim’s first jobs were at Owens Pharmacy and Peeble’s Department Store on Trade Street in Tryon. After a career in the medical field, she decided the time was right to embark on a new challenge of owning her own retail business, so she opened the Mall after a lifetime interest in antiques, retail and her love of people.
“I have chased my dream, and we have been so blessed. Truly, we have. I’ve always worked so hard for others, and I always prayed that if you can just put me somewhere where I could work just as hard for myself, that I would work hard. And I have truly worked so hard here to help make this what it is. Of course, it has taken all my dealers. I can’t take credit because without all our wonderful dealers, we wouldn’t be here. You just always want to do better for yourself, and your dream is always to be an entrepreneur and want to have your own business.” Kim says.
Vendors transport all their items to the Mall and upon arrival, have access to a large variety of hand trucks and carts to assist them in getting the items inside and placed in the booths. Besides the assistance to the vendors, the staff always offer to assist the customers in carrying their newly purchased items out to their cars. Kim says “My staff works so hard. I have people say to me, ‘Why are you carrying my stuff to the car’? And we say “Because this is customer service!” Indeed, it is rare to find a business that offers this level of service to its customers anymore.
“As we’re turning lights off and on and helping customers move things in and out, we try to be aware of everything that’s in the booth as much as possible. So, if you come in and ask for something specific, we can take you right to where those items are in the store,” Kim says.
They also have buggies and an item holding section where customers can leave collected items for purchase while they continue to shop. Dealers are encouraged to photograph all of their items and send them to Kim, so that she and her staff can post the items to their Facebook page. Sometimes items can be purchased and shipped to customers.
“We’re very, very proud of the Mall, and the Mall is still growing. We have lots of plans and changes for the future.” Kim says. “You can come here for any occasion, gifts for children, for newborns, for birthdays and for anniversaries. We wanted it to be a market place where everyone comes here when they need something, and we have something for everybody.”
Tryon Antique Mall & Marketplace is located at 1005 S. Trade Street in Tryon. They are open Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. The store number is 828-859-2756.