Friday, January 29, 2010

Old mill turns antiques mall in Concord

A new antiques mall is set to open Monday in a Concord building that's quite the antique itself: The former Cannon Mills Plant 6, now part of the renovated Gibson Mill complex on McGill Avenue, about half a block from Concord Parkway North (U.S. 29/601). The site has roots stretching back to the late 1800s, when it was home to Gibson Mill, which made gingham.

The oldest building that remains dates to 1913, and part of that is the new Depot at Gibson Mill, a 35,000-square-foot space that will have about 130 vendor booths selling antiques and collectibles. The name was inspired by the location, facing railroad tracks that are most definitely operational (when I visited Thursday, a long freight train thundered past).
The owners are hoping to draw visitors from Interstate 85 and nearby attractions such as Concord Mills and Charlotte Motor Speedway

Inside, the building retains the brick walls, warm wooden floors and big windows of the old mill. The merchandise setup, meanwhile, is shades of one of Charlotte's most unusual shopping destinations, the Sleepy Poet Antique Mall on South Boulevard - alas, minus the super-cool vintage clothing section (at least, as far as I saw).

As with all malls along these lines (see also: Trader Marc's in Fort Mill), it gives merchants an affordable chance to have a retail presence without the commitment or expense of opening an entire store. And it seems that used merchandise is also attracting more curiosity from shoppers, too, as they aim to find deals in the recession. Granted, "used" doesn't always mean "inexpensive," but in the world o' vintage, the hunt for a diamond in the rough is part of the fun.