Something big is coming to Mount Pleasant – a 100,000-square-foot antique mall.
The White Owl Antique Mall and Design Center will open this month near the intersection of N.C. 49 and Main Street in a building that once housed a textile factory but has been empty for more than five years.
Owner Rodney Miles saw an opportunity to grow his business with the move from Concord to Mount Pleasant. Town Manager Mandy Garner called the site a good location.
Getting the new location ready has been a challenge.
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Miles said this involved moving a 60,000-square-foot antique mall in one month, adding, “That’s like moving 30 households.”
Some 95 percent of his vendors are making the move with him, and as they move merchandise, Miles and his small staff are renovating the new space.
Miles plans to open with about 70,000 square feet occupied by vendors. He’ll add more – he has a waiting list of people wanting to rent space – by the end of the month.
When fully occupied, White Owl will house approximately 500 vendors, making it one of the largest antique malls on the East Coast, Miles said. And it will make Mount Pleasant a destination for those looking for antiques who will find three additional dealers – Cline’s Antiques, Ruffin’s Roost and Grammy’s Attic – within 3 miles.
White Owl is a different kind of antique mall, said Miles, because “we’re not stuffy.” The staff wants to make antiques affordable and accessible to everyone.
When he got into the antiques business, Miles was surprised to find that the average customer was between the ages of 20 and 50. This generation, he said, is tired of particle board furniture; they want something more solid and special, like the things their grandparents had.
Burned out after working in commercial masonry for more than 20 years, Miles decided to try the antiques business and found it was fun.
Running an antiques mall is like working with 500 small businesses, Miles said. Vendors come from all over the region. Some are there for fun or a little extra income, while for others, selling at White Owl is their livelihood.
Miles hopes that White Owl will become more than just a place for people to shop. With a food court in the works for the center of the mall, and a special events throughout the year, Miles wants to develop a sense of community.
Miles said shoppers will find “100,000 square feet of something for everybody.”
Marcia Morris is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Marcia? Email her at EasternCabarrusWriter@gmail.com.