Who knew what a positive effect eBay and facebook could have for small storefront antique shops. A recent visit to Arleen Brown Antiques and Beau Monde Boutique in nearby Front Royal, Virginia, uncovered two shops who are able to keep an amazing inventory of fascinating things because a large chunk of their sales is made all over the globe through the internet. All the better for those of us who can walk in the front door and see a cornucopia of goodies first hand!
The savvy owners of these two shops are clearly a mutual admiration society, most interestingly because they make such a study in contrasts. Arleen Narron, whom Barry and I have known since our old days of shopping at Law’s Auction in Manassas, has been in the business for 34 years. Several of the prints hanging at the Inn were purchased from her years ago, and I just saw two more that I really would like to have. Her current shop, Arleen Brown Antiques on Main Street in Front Royal, has fabulous accessories, fine art and vintage jewelry.
I was particularly intrigued with Arleen’s collection of Coco Chanel and Karl Lagerfeld jewelry, classic! Check out her facebook page to get a flavor of what she carries. Closed on Tuesdays.
Cassandra Eckert, proprietor of Beau Monde Boutique, has only been in the antique business for about four years, starting out online with eBay. She opened her shop on Main Street, just a few doors down from Arleen Brown Antiques, in August 2012. Although newly opened, it gives the appearance of containing a long lifetime of collecting.
This is not one of those spacious shops where someone has done the work of putting together a whole grouping of coordinated items that you might scoop up and take home. You need to spend some time looking and thinking, which truly is the fun of antiquing. The mood is eclectic, exotic, even a little edgey (in a good way), a study in contrasts. See Cassandra’s eBaycollection too. Open daily.
Have you been to either of these shops? Buy anything?