Bon Marche': Keepin It Local
Bon Marche’ Antique Mall
2014 Magazine St., New Orleans
Antique shops line the streets of New Orleans, so, as a break from the Mardi Gras celebration, I took a walk to gander at the local shops. Scattered throughout the streets, antique shops have kept Magazine Street alive and continue to help the commercial area grow. One cannot walk a block without running into an antique shop. So I walked around my neighborhood and found a great antique mall filled with an eclectic style of items called Bon Marche’. Keeping alive the local flavor, a lot of Bon Marche’s stock is based around Louisiana. I spoke with partner Dianne Butler about the organization of her shop. Having worked as the manager of another antique mall before the storm, she saw an opportunity afterwards to open her own place. Due to the vandalism that occurred she was able to find a shop right on Magazine, which is very lucky considering rent for the area. While people were leaving, Dianne started a new business that has flourished since. I have watched her shop fill with items over the last two years and am happy to see over 10 dealers presently in her shop and her shelves filled with collectibles.
As Dianne nurtured her business it grew to include collections of seashells, architectural and outside furniture, antique jewelry, Louisiana photographs, Louisiana paintings, local, handcrafted art, books, and Mardi Gras related memorabilia. She keeps her shop filled with middle to high-end collectibles as well as cypress furniture made locally. By creating a local theme for her shop Dianne gives visitors and residents a different experience than other, often cluttered antique malls. Instead, Bon Marche’ is clean and professional looking. Do not worry, Dianne will still negotiate prices and greets everyone as if entering her own home. Besides being in a comfortable environment, the shop is filled with a mix of antiques and consignment items, so you never know what you will find. Having a good mix of items helps Dianne to pursue her own interests in collecting, such as art deco, oriental pieces, orange glass, and mannequins. Apparently, while setting up the Bon Marche’, Dianne found many old mannequins to help display her vintage clothes. However, she liked the mannequins so much that she brought them home and has begun collecting them ever since. Dianne’s dedication to her customers and her business is apparent from my comfortable shopping experience. Bon Marche’ opens up Louisiana to its visitors, carrying many local items found no other place. Next time you are in town looking for that one thing to remind you of New Orleans, stay out of the T-Shirt shops and walk on into Bon Marche’.