Off the Beaten Path: Edsall Road
Those big furniture stores beckon from I-395 as you approach the Edsall Road exit in Alexandria. It's almost tempting to stop, except that I'm not a big furniture chain shopper. But one day I did swing through the industrial park off Edsall Road and discovered a simple row of small furniture shops hidden behind the giants.
This is a true shopping off-the-beaten-path experience as you make your way around big rigs bringing in all kinds of goods, shop from store to store without a sidewalk in sight and think you're in the wrong place as you walk by plumbing offices and frame shop suppliers. But then you'll stumble upon stores like Javawood, The Chair Shop and Warehouse Showrooms. They're small shops chock full of affordable and unique items.
Javawood, opened in 1999, sells handmade furniture from Indonesia, as well as a few antiques from China. Its owner Nico Lengkong gets a handful of containers from Indonesia every few months filled with mostly wood furniture, including teak and mahogany. He's in direct contact with furniture makers in Indonesia and occasionally gives instructions on what kind of furniture to make. For example he asked for a mahogany chair modeled after one in the historic Biltmore House in Asheville, N.C. He's now selling it for $295, marked down from $595. He also has a teak lattice loveseat for $275 and large mirrors modeled after ones found in Italy ranging from $1,100 to $1,900.
A few doors down is The Chair Shop, which sells every type of chair you can imagine from more than 100 makers. The floor is covered along with the walls from floor to ceiling with chairs. The styles range from Windsor and Chippendale to Queen Anne and Louis Phillipe. "Name the period and we've got it," says Rusty Grimsley, owner of the shop. You'll pay around $200 for a "decent" chair and Grimsley refuses to get anything from outside of the United States. It's his way of supporting American workers and ensuring that rainforests aren't being cut down to make his chairs. He even carries a small line of furniture made from recycled wine barrels.
Warehouse Showrooms is a few blocks down and offers solid wood furniture pieces such as beds, dressers and bookcases, as well as couches and sleeper sofas. The store, which has a 15% off Columbus Day sale going on until Oct. 20, has a solid oak lingerie chest for $999, a solid maple dresser for $1,459 and a queen-size sleep sofa for $1,159. The inventory comes from various furniture makers, including Tom Seely Furniture, Hanover Heirlooms and Leisters Furniture.
You'll also find some deals at Interior Furniture Gallery, a family-owned business that opened five years ago. The store offers a wide mix of furniture styles from lots of glass to large wood pieces. The store is unloading several of its floor samples, including a rattan and mahogany glider chair for $149, a glass coffee table with four ottomans for $479 and a 3-piece bedroom set for $1,299.
Have you snagged any good deals in the industrial park off Edsall Road? Where else are some unpredictable shopping spots? Where do you shop for furniture?
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