Dallas Design District loses some quirkiness with a veteran store shutter

A funky and exotic home furnishing store in Dallas’ Design District stops by: Big trade in mangoes, specializing in furniture imported from Southeast Asia and the Far East, will close its retail store at 1130 N. Riverfront Blvd. in May, after 20 years.

Managing Partner Arron Crawford says they will close in May with a big sale which will include a large container of newly imported goods as the final shipment.

Crawford’s parents, Jaime and Lori Smith, opened Big Mango in 1996, when the Design District was truly Dallas‘ design district, populated by retail-only warehouses.

The couple had traveled to Indonesia and fell in love with the laid-back elegance of Bali and Java. They would fetch things for their own home and then sell extra pieces as a hobby. One day they rented the space on Riverfront Boulevard and the business took off.

They would make regular trips to Southeast Asia, forming friendships with artisans and artisans, amassing a unique selection of home and garden decorations not found elsewhere in Dallas. And while they served the design trade, they were also open to the public, making it a destination for designers and home shoppers.

“Over the past 20 years, we’ve outfitted countless bars, restaurants, hotels, parks, homes, courtyards, and even ashrams, with unique and eclectic pieces found on our treks in Southeast Asia,” says Arron. .

The merchandise was a very personal mix of handcrafted home furnishings, distinctive exterior and architectural pieces, and a huge selection of exotic accessories and one-of-a-kind treasures with an Asian influence.

“We’re the place to go if you want a stone Buddha—not many stores in Dallas sell it,” says Arron.

They also had a singularly distinctive shopping environment, with its combination of indoor and outdoor exhibit space making it a funky urban treasure.

“Our store is a little different,” she says. “We’re indoors and outdoors. In other words: we don’t have temperature control. We’ve always been a bit more adventurous than some of the other showrooms out there. “

The main reason for their closure: the pandemic.

“With what’s happening in the world, it no longer supports our business model,” she says. “We can no longer travel as before, and shipping costs have become prohibitive.”

“But the universe has been pointing towards exits for a while,” she says. “We’ve talked about it for the past two years and finally said OK, it’s been a good race, and it’s about time.”

So, now is your chance to get your tribal statues, teak root sculptures and chairs, “Meditation Man” and “Diver” life-size metal sculptures, clear and blue stacked glass discs on a base limestone, stacked stone cairn carvings and a ball stone planter.

“We’ll be heading out with another container of Bali goodies before we close our door for the last time at the end of May,” she says.

About James Almanza

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