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Striking Gold with Magnolia Emporium - Charlotte Business Resources
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Striking Gold with Magnolia Emporium

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Front side of the Magnolia Emporium store

They say, you can’t fake passion. Not in life, not in business, and certainly not in entrepreneurship. If you’ve ever stepped foot into Magnolia Emporium, you cannot ignore the genuine passion that owners Randolph James and Robert Naylor have invested in each and every piece displayed in the store. At a very basic level, Magnolia Emporium is a local purveyor of unique art and decor from around the world.

But this shop is far from basic.

Nestled in the up-and-coming “Gold District” in South Charlotte, Magnolia Emporium is exactly that – an emporium of curated, hand-selected, products that connect experiences and emotions with tangible art. To develop this one-of-a-kind, shopping experience, the store owners drew influence from Robert’s roots at the Paiute-Shoshone Reservation in Fallon Nevada, and Randolph’s residencies in the Philippines, England, and Mexico.

“Magnolia Emporium is a journey of places traveled, inspiration by others, memories triggered by scent and bespoke elements.” explains Randolph.

Read more as Robert and Randolph give CBR a glimpse into curated shopping, and provide sought-after advice on opening a retail business in a transitioning neighborhood.


CBR: Magnolia Emporium’s tagline is “Come discover what curated shopping is all about!”, so what exactly is curated shopping?

Magnolia Emporium (ME): Curated shopping allows a customer to not feel like they must settle. More often than not, consumers feel pressure to find something quickly to fill their space, and often become frustrated and settle on something that was not what they truly wanted. We customize their shopping experience by trying to find what it is they truly were looking for from our more than 750+ vendors from around the world.

Painted mural of Queen Charlotte outside of Magnolia Emporium

CBR: We hear you’re a community advocate of Southend’s Gold District. What is the Gold District, and why did you choose this location?

(ME): We didn’t choose The Gold District, it choose us! Robert and I have been huge supporters of this thriving neighborhood and proudly serve as board members. The Gold District is home to two of the most prolific gold mines in U.S. history, The Rudisill & St. Catherine’s. Robert and I also proudly support the growing art community, through murals, art crawls and featured artisans.

CBR: What do you think is important for retail business owners to consider when choosing a storefront?

(ME): I think one of the most crucial factors is to never set a time frame. A business plan is no more than a guideline, it is not set in stone. Most every business is organic, and therefore should be allowed to follow its twists and turns for it to grow. Also, never have a grand opening the day you open your doors for the first time. Have a soft opening and get all the kinks out first. Location, location, location! There is a reason people say that!  It helps!

CBR: What advice would you give someone who decides to open a business in a transitioning neighborhood?

(ME): Have patience and some extra financial cushion to ride it out. It’s never over-night! Get involved in the community and support local, because it truly takes a village!

CBR: Anything else you’d like to share?

(ME): We are honored to have opened our first location in The Gold District and look forward to expanding to other charming towns and cities across the country and internationally.


Outside alleyway with hanging lanterns of Magnolia EmporiumThank you, Randolph and Robert for sharing your story with us! It’s amazing what how passionate business owners can have such a positive impact on their communities. To start your curated shopping journey, visit Magnolia Emporium at magnoliaemporium.com, or follow them in Facebook and Instagram!

Are you thinking of opening up a brick-and-mortar business? Get help finding market and demographics data, as well as zoning information on our Site Selection page!