One of the most popular tourist sites in the Greensboro area is Replacements, Ltd. You don’t have to be a dinnerware junky to appreciate this wonderful mega store, which is located about 15 minutes from the Troy-Bumpas Inn. Like many successful businesses, Replacements, Ltd. was the brainstorm of one man with a passion for collecting beautiful things.
About 40 years ago, Bob Page, an auditor for the state of North Carolina, began collecting china and crystal as a hobby. Before long, his friends started asking him to be on the lookout for pieces of their dinnerware to replace pieces that were broken. His bedroom soon became a makeshift office from which he fulfilled china and crystal orders. His hobby soon became his business.
In 1981, Page left his auditing job and opened Replacements, Ltd. in Greensboro, NC. Initially he had just one part-time assistant. Small ads placed in the backs of magazines met with tremendous response. Customer dinnerware requests were recorded on 3-by-5 inch index cards. Sales that first year were $150,000. By 1984, when the company began converting their database to computers, sales were close to $4 million. In 2008, sales exceeded $85 million. Products now include china, stoneware, crystal, glassware, silver, stainless and collectibles.
Today, Replacements ships more than 50,000 items a week to customers all over the world. The company, which has the world’s largest selection of old and new dinnerware, has 500,000 square feet of modern facilities and an inventory of more than 13 million pieces. People anywhere in the world can do business with them via their website. Customers can register patterns they are interested in and receive email notifications when items become available. About 85% of Replacements’ business is done online, but for those of us lucky enough to live in or visit the piedmont Triad area of North Carolina, Replacements is just a short drive away.
The showroom is open seven days a week (except holidays) with free tours offered daily between 9:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. Unless you take the tour, you see only a small percentage of the merchandise on display in the 12,000 square foot showroom. The showroom also includes a museum that displays rare tableware pieces in beautiful, massive antique display cabinets and counters. The top 500 china patterns are displayed in a long hallway display aptly named “The Great Wall of China.” The tour walks guests through the huge Replacements warehouse where merchandise is neatly stored. The backroom area also houses the crystal and silver restoration and repair and the shipping departments.
Replacements obtains its merchandise from manufacturers and from buyers throughout the country who seek out desired patterns at estate and yard sales. Many individuals also sell dinnerware that they no longer need to Replacements.
Replacements is an easy 15 minute drive from the Troy-Bumpas Inn. Anyone who loves china and other dinnerware is certain to enjoy the visit and likely to find something beautiful to take home. Even if you’re not into dinnerware, it’s fascinating to see how such a well organized company operates. Replacements, Ltd.is located at 1089 Knox Road in McLeansville, NC 27301. To learn more call 1-800-REPLACE or visit www.replacements.com.