It’s a shopping jungle out there, but with the perfect location, a simple concept and a great deal of entrepreneurial spirit and persistence, Bob and Nita Emory’s multi-merchant gift, home furnishings, and design center BLACKLION, is a safari into unique territory. In October of 1995, Bob Emory convinced K-Mart to lease them the 68,000 square foot store at the corner of Park Road and Hwy 51 in Charlotte, NC. In this space, he envisioned the next generation of retailing: BLACKLION.
The concept was simple. A central gift and design center. The vision was to assemble 200 or so merchants offering upscale gifts, furniture and accessories, along with a cadre of local interior designers and an enormous selection of products, all in a one-stop shopping setting.
In 1996, BLACKLION opened to the public. “We wanted to provide a place where customers could find everything for their home, all in one unique sophisticated location” says Nita Emory. “The customers responded and loved the concept.”
With no plans to grow beyond this one store, all efforts were made to make it the best store of its kind in the area. After only a few months in operation, it was apparent that BLACKLION had become a gift and accessory haven of the most interesting and unique home accents.
BLACKLION has evolved into far more than the Emorys ever envisioned. “We are so proud of the incredible mix of hand picked products and designer talents and vignettes that we have assembled in the stores,“ says Nita Emory. Bob adds, “BLACKLION is an entrepreneurial incubator, developing numerous individuals into successful retailers.” Several merchants who first started their businesses at BLACKLION as a hobby, have now left their other careers to concentrate full time on their businesses at BLACKLION.
With so many merchants under one roof, everyone benefits. Customers benefit from a tremendous selection, while merchants benefit from BLACKLION’S original operating concept. Merchants create their displays and stock them, and BLACKLION takes care of the rest...sales, advertising, staffing, and all of the other day to day operations that can make running a business stressful. “This allows our merchants to do what they do best: concentrate on finding and selecting exquisite merchandise for their booths. Then showcasing their products in fantastic decorative settings. Ultimately, the merchants help us give shoppers an an incredible one-stop shopping venue.”
BLACKLION staffs each store with talented professionals ready to help customers with any need. More than a retail store, we’ve become a home furnishings resource for the public as well as designers.
Since the success of the first store, 2 additional stores have followed: one at Huntersville, NC and South Charlotte in Dilworth. BLACKLION has also entered the cyber-space retail world with the April 2001 launch of their internet store www.blacklion.com
“We are extremely grateful and credit the success of our stores to all of the talented entrepreneurs who have been a part of BLACKLION, to our incredible staff and managers and ultimately to our customers, who continue to make BLACKLION their favorite place to shop.”