Linnie Ray opened Classic Collection Antiques Mall, located at 833 Butternut in Abilene, Texas fifteen years ago after having her own store.
The antiques mall has 40 booths with 27 dealers and 8,000 square feet of antique items.
The antiques mall has an open, airy feel to it with no permanent walls.
Linnie has two girls who work for her so she is able to go out of town and look for pieces, more so than her dealers because most of them have jobs.
Renell Moore February 2, 2018
Dealers have made the mall successful
If I didn’t have them, it wouldn’t go over,” Linnie Ray, Classic Collection Antique Mall owner, said. “I keep it running, but I have some really good dealers. I want them (the dealers) to succeed and be happy, and if they’re happy, I’m going to be happy.” Linnie knows that if her dealers are happy, ultimately her customers will be happy. I want customers to be able to see the mantle over there and vice versa . . . I like the open area, and I try to have enough space that you can pull something out.” She said the best thing about the mall is that the dealers are not all alike.
Mall features a variety of items from shabby sheik to mahogany
“We do have various things, and I think that’s why the mall has been so successful,” Linnie said.“I cater to all kinds. I’m not just a specialty mall . . .I just like old stuff, and I like what you can do with it. I really like to decorate, and I like to help people decorate.”
Linnie enjoys being creative and putting pieces together.
“I like to show them how they can take a shabby piece and put it with a nice piece of mahogany and it’ll look good,” she added. “I try to decorate my side of the shop with pretty pieces and shabby pieces or primitive pieces or signs”
Anything Goes in Today’s Society from primitive to new items
“When I grew up everything was maple, or mahogany or pine – everything had to match.
Today, the younger generation really like putting old pieces with newer pieces when they are decorating their homes.
“I think it’s good that people are coming around and seeing that you can put different pieces together,” she said. “The magazines today are dictating what we sell.
Customers can open a magazine today and it will have a shabby mirror in it.
“I like pieces to have shabbied over the years – something that’s set in somebody’s barn. It’s blue, but it’s not baby blue because it has faded over the years, and it has so much more appeal than something you just take home and paint red, or white or whatever and bring it back and put it on the floor.”
Linnie likes to buy antique pieces that are already shabby or peely.
Her motto for the mall is “From shabby to sheik” and she said her style has been successful, but it has been her dealers who have made the mall that way.
“It takes a lot of hard work. It’s a challenge. Every day you get up and something needs to be different,” she said.
“I have a lot of repeat customers, and if you have it the same way, it gets stale,” Linnie said. “I could have something six months, and change it from one corner to another, and someone comes in, and says ‘Ooh, I haven’t seen that, and it sells.’
“You’ve got to make customers want to stop and look at your stuff.”