Bob Page loathed his job as an auditor for the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, but sourcing hard-to-find dinnerware for a burgeoning clientele after-hours gave him great joy—so much so that in 1981 he abandoned the monotonous, albeit more lucrative, accounting post and launched Replacements, a procurement business from his own home.
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He stored his budding inventory in the attic, jotted down customer requests on index cards filed away in a recipe box, and started traveling to nearby cities like Nashville to scour flea markets. Seven years later, Page, who now resides in Florida, opened a storefront in McLeansville, North Carolina, and amassed a new stream of fans via word of mouth and newspaper articles.
“For Bob, it’s always been about the thrill of the hunt,” Scott Fleming, president of Replacements, tells AD PRO, and today its massive, treasure-packed headquarters is infused with that exhilarating air of discovery. Encompassing 500,000 square feet, the facility holds around 11 million pieces of china, crystal, silver, and collectibles emblazoned in more than 425,000 patterns. Along with these shoppable pieces is a stash of rare selections—from 1930s Heisey crystal to Royal Winton chintz-ware.
“We never lost sight of the fact that the company was started by someone who did not like what they did for a living, and creating a workplace where people love what they do is embedded into our mission,” explains Fleming. “It’s about connection and meaningful relationships.”