Tuesday, February 11, 2014
When it comes to the latest in European home décor, shoppers need go no further than Red Bank.
Hundreds of chairs hang from the walls of The Insyde Outsyde Shop, while antiques — armoires, couches, upholstered chairs and more — fill every available space on the floor, leaving only narrow aisles for shoppers to wander.
Ninety-nine percent of the store’s content originated overseas … including the owners. Antique treasures brought directly from England, Scotland and France by co-owners and sisters Victoria Meek-Underwood and Josi Meek stretch from floor to ceiling in the Dayton Boulevard shop.
“We’re unique in every way, really,” said Meek. “We have the best merchandise and the best prices.”
Meek-Underwood said the shop is the only direct importer of French furniture in the South.
The sisters’ family is originally from Wales in the U.K. Meek-Underwood was just 11 years old when she moved to the States in the late 1980s.
The sisters caught the pickin’ bug from their dad, they said.
“My dad has shipped all over the world since the ’60s – Australia, South Africa, Indonesia,” Meek-Underwood said. “He just liked it here. Chattanooga looks a lot like Wales, with the mountains.”
Every six or eight weeks, the sister duo travels to the family’s house in England to shop at markets and fairs, sort through warehouses and even investigate homes, looking for exceptional pieces to bring home to Red Bank.
“It sounds more glamorous than it is,” Meek-Underwood laughed, describing countless hours-long flights.
While they’re in Europe, the sisters always have a shopping plan. They take suggestions from their Red Bank customers, who come to the shop with pictures or descriptions of the piece they’re looking for. Once the sisters make their list, the duo begins the hunt.
“We love our customers,” Meek said. “We had more customers at our weddings than we did our own family,” she added with a laugh.
A current customer favorite is mid-century modern furniture, Meek-Underwood said as she pointed out a handsome sideboard among the maze of furniture in the store. The furniture style is characterized by clean lines and gentle curves, she explained.
“We’re probably the only ones in town with a huge stock of it,” she said. “That style is really in right now.”
Find out what else is in stock by searching for “The Insyde Outsyde Shop” on Facebook, or sign up for text notifications by texting “Antiques” to 415-1139. The shop is located at 5006 Dayton Blvd. and can be reached at 876-1400.