Table Seven Antiques specializes in table top antiques with an emphasis on entertaining and dining. We interview owner Leigh Greer about how she started her business, some of the challenges she’s faced and how she overcame them, and much more. Check out our interview with Leigh…
Table Seven Antiques began in 2008 at a friend’s home party on a small card table. Several of her friends sold stationary and jewelry and I asked if I could tag along. I was thrilled with the response and started to purchase more pieces of hotel silver and restaurant china.
I started participating in antiques shows around the state and also was involved with local fundraising shows, such as Lee’s Friends Unique Boutique and several school fairs. The task of selecting what to take to a show became more and more difficult as my inventory grew.
After several years of packing, loading and unloading for shows I decided to open a brick and mortar shop. Opening the shop is the best thing I ever did. I opened in mid-November of last year and haven’t regretted it one minute.
How many locations do you operate?
I have one location at 915B West 21st Street in historic Ghent. The shop is between Hampton Boulevard and Colley Avenue and will be directly across the street from the new Fresh Market grocery store. When I signed the lease I had no idea Fresh Market would be moving to Norfolk. I really believe our corridor of 21st will be the happening place. Everyone is so excited to see the area developed after years of neglect.
Describe your business and the services/products you provide
I specialize in table top antiques with an emphasis on entertaining and dining. Hotel Silver and Restaurant China is still my first love but I have hundreds of other pieces which include vintage barware, small sterling silver pieces, silver plate flatware, trays, and pitchers. I have china from steamships, trains, airlines and the US Navy. The list goes on and on.
I recently began renting mix matched china and silverware for events. The local wedding industry has been very supportive and I plan to become more involved with event rentals. I carry everything the bride could want for the new vintage wedding trend. I have china, silverware, blue mason jars, straws, striped favor bags, etc. We have it all!
I am 55 years old and was ready to start something new. They say the ideal age to start a new career is in your 50s. I am proof of that fact.
As a retailer, what are some of the challenges that you have faced? Which were the easiest to overcome, which are you still working on?
My biggest challenge is more of an obstacle than a challenge. My shop has been a destination unto itself since I opened in November. I am now getting neighbors which will draw more people to this end of 21st Street. I had many days of construction trucks lining both sides of the street and no parking for customers. Construction is over and parking is available once more.
What sets you apart from other antique stores?
My shop is not the average antique shop. Every piece tells a story and is grouped in small vignettes. Staging is very important and you can see when you come into the shop that it has a different feel from other shops. It has a European feel and Europeans love to come browse because it reminds them of home. I also sell “new” items which complement the old. We carry paper placemats and runners, candles, tea towels and other decorative items.
What marketing have you undertaken that you can attribute to your success?
I have had a lot of press these past several months. I have been featured in Inside Business and The Gracious Living section of the Virginian Pilot. I have an active Facebook page and continue to hear rave reviews about the shop.
What is the best part about owning your own business? What changes has it brought to your life?
I love this area of Virginia, especially Norfolk. I have lived here for 30 years and it is home. It is so wonderful to find local memorabilia to research and sell. I believe that my shop enhances the historic area. Everyone love antique shops because you never know what you will find. Having this shop makes me feel like I am contributing to Norfolk in a major way.