The Classic Consignor: The Story of Charlotte’s Classic Attic

Ede Graves of Classic Attic
Ede Graves of Classic Attic

Growing up in Statesville, Ede Graves moved to Charlotte in the 70’s after graduating from college.  The “big city” appeal and “bustling metropolis” was the perfect place for her to set roots.  After having worked 25 years in public relations and marketing, Graves wanted to find something fun that she could spend the rest of her working years doing.  Fun was an essential part of any of her decision making.  “After much soul searching, I combined my love of treasure hunting with my love of marketing and took a huge leap of faith,” says Graves.
Selling her car and using what she had in savings, Graves put some of her own furniture in the store and called on friends for help.  “They really had faith in me at the beginning, so it didn’t seem so risky.  In fact, as I look back, it never occurred to me that it wouldn’t be a success.  Thank goodness I was so naïve,” explains Graves.
Her love of antiques came from her grandmother.  As a 4 year old back in the 50’s, Graves accompanied her grandmother to auctions and antique stores loving every minute of it.  “I guess that’s where I caught the ‘junking bug,’ digging around in antique shops, and then in the 90’s when consignment stores started popping up, I was hooked,” she says.  In 2002, “Classic Attic was born”.  Graves’s goal was to find a vacant space in her favorite neighborhood in the iconic Park Road Shopping Center.  She was successful and in nine months outgrew the space. Begging the landlord to let her move into the old Whispers nightclub, Graves soon began renovating the space.  It was a perfect location, and that’s where Classic Attic has been for the last twelve years.
Having a strong marketing approach has allowed Classic Attic to grow and remain successful. “Consignors are waiting in line to get their merchandise in our showroom,” says Graves.  “That allows us to pick the types of furniture and accessories that we know our buyers are looking for.  We have a wish book that people sign and tell us what they want, and when a consignor brings it in, we call them,” says Graves.  The customers that come to Classic Attic range from college age kids looking for items to decorate their dorm rooms to “older people downsizing to their retirement places and everyone in between.”  
You can find all sorts of products at the Classic Attic; furniture from the 1800’s, as well as from the 1950’s and even some contemporary pieces.  They also sell upholstered furniture, lamps, artwork, mirrors, custom-made, pre-owned draperies and pillows and decorative accessories.  “Personally,” says Graves, “I love traditional antiques, and I’m a sucker for anything sterling silver.  It’s difficult not to fall in love with every piece that comes in the door.  My husband says our house is a revolving door because I’m always finding something I like better than the piece I bought last month.  Luckily, we’re renovating a historic home in Georgetown, SC, so I have an outlet for my obsession.”
It’s hard work, but Graves loves every minute.  “It’s great not to report to anyone,” she says.  “I’ve never worked harder or longer hours in my life, but knowing the success is directly related to the work I put in is a great feeling.  Too many people work for large companies where the results of their efforts are hard to transfer.  Not here. Hard work equals success.”  Graves is proud of her business and of those who work alongside her.  “I have the greatest folks working with me…Tara Igbanol joined the team almost six years ago as an intern from Queens University and has marketing and computing skills; Patti Long, a decorator, is great with customers and full of ideas; and Valerie Wiebler, our newest designer loves the mid-century, less traditional styles and adds a twist to the mix.”  With a staff like hers and the compliments that abound, Graves and her Classic Attic are one of the best consignment stores around.