Hand painted sign by Mystic Blue Signs, out of New Orleans
2648 Government Street
Baton Rouge, LA.
- Pictures of booths and merchandise are on Facebook at The Pink Elephant Antiques Baton Rouge
“Buying antique and vintage items is the ultimate recycling. Items are being passed down and reused from generation to generation.”
The Pink Elephant, under the direction of owner-manager Lisa Pellissier opened in April of 2016 at 2648 Government Street. The space was formerly home to Aladdin’s Lamp antiques. It was purchased in the fall of 2015 by Pachyderm Properties, a real estate business owned by Lisa and her husband Albert Pellissier. The Pink Elephant is currently a multi-dealer antiques mall with twenty separate booths and dealers. There are plans to add a consignment furniture shop in the building next door after renovations are completed. They hope to bring in an artistic or musical venue for the building that was Tipitina’s Music Co-op.
Lisa says, “My husband and I are in the real estate business. We heard the buildings and property from Ragusa’s car repair to the end of the block were coming up for sale. We live right around the corner in the Garden District and felt this was a good fit for us. I had a booth in Aladdin’s Lamp antiques for several years so I had experience with the antique mall and knew how it worked. I enjoyed the experience and looked forward to reopening the mall.”
“I currently manage the mall and have a booth there. The Pink Elephant has a nice mix of items for every taste. Each dealer has their own booth and they are responsible for stocking and pricing their own inventory. The store policy is “cash and carry”, however, 30 day lay-away is available. The items are old and fragile so there is a ‘no returns’ policy,” Lisa says.
“We have a dealer with hand painted and stenciled furniture, several booths carry vintage clothing, one booth is mostly vintage jewelry and one dealer’s specialty is old books. We have several booths with original art; one artist incorporates old images into her art, others are original pieces.
Some booths have antique furniture and others have vintage items. Throughout the mall you will find collectibles and knick-knacks for sale from various periods and many unique items for sale. I specialize in mid-century items, 1960’s and 70’s. I am always on the lookout for unique items for my booth as well as period pieces. As a dealer you pick things that you think will sell but all your items tend to reflect your own taste. You don’t buy stuff you don’t like,” explains Lisa.
“The main challenge of running a co-op business like the Pink Elephant, is working with twenty unique shops and owners. Each booth dealer has their own space and makes their own decisions. We give them a space to sell items or do their own thing. They each have a vested interest in keeping the business open and running and want to keep customers happy and coming back. Two dealers are always on site to run the store, work the cash register and offer assistance to customers. The dealers enjoy being there; they stop by to see what is happening and check their booth inventory. It is a fun place to hang out.”
As a child Lisa was always interested in garage sales, estate sales, auctions and going to antiques stores. She grew up in New Orleans where estate sales and auctions could be found almost every day and antique malls and shops and flea markets are everywhere. She has always loved “old stuff” and the history attached to them, i.e. where did it come from, who owned it, where has it been and how did it survive this long? She feels old stuff is “a lot cooler” than new stuff. New items of furniture have the “off the assembly line” look and feel; older items are unique and have character. The fact they have survived this long shows they are well made and more solid than newer furniture.
Lisa came to Baton Rouge to attend LSU; she majored in horticulture and accounting. She started her career in horticulture but found the South is not a good place for an outdoor business due to the heat. When her children were in school full time, she looked into starting a business and decided to open a booth at Aladdin’s Lamp Antiques. Lisa found she liked searching for items to stock her shop and then selling them.
“We look for inventory all over – estate sales, auctions, flea markets, etc. Some individuals will come to us and say I’m clearing out my house; we will go to people houses and look through their items. We buy items we think we can sell, we do not do consignment. People are always asking for dressers, end tables and lamps, so we are always looking for these” Lisa says.
Lisa would like to see the Government Street “re-do” happen. “The City was talking about it last summer, now it may be next year. The Mid-City district is full of people walking to stores and restaurants in the Mid-City area. Improving and repairing the street would aid in growth of the area. This road repair would be a boon for all the merchants on Government Street. There is a lot of growth and new construction happening now and more scheduled for the future with the businesses along the street,” Lisa explains.