The Raleigh store opened in October of 1984. It began with the purchase of
an existing basket shop, but within 6 months it was converted and concentrated
on furniture rather than baskets and accessories. The owner, Mike Ervin had been
wanting to grow a business and this fledgling operation presented a good challenge.
At the start the Raleigh store was 2400 sq ft. In its second year, the business we moved
to its present location on Glenwood Ave., increasing the floor space to 7000 sq ft.
A very scary prospect to almost triple in size so early in the company history. It proved
to be a very good move! Within the next 5 years the Raleigh store grew to take over the
whole building - bringing it to 15,000 sq ft.
At the same time Mr. Ervin saw an opportunity to exapand the wicker furniture business, and
opened a 7500 sq ft. store in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Charlotte store saw equal success,
growing to 10,500 sq ft over the next couple of years. Then the opportunity arose to open a store
in Richmond, Virginia.
In the midst of keeping these three retail locations going, Mr. Ervin was also doing some importing
of furniture, with limited success. Eventually, the Tickle Imports operation was purchased from Don
Tickle and Associates to expedite the manufacturing and wholesale side of the wicker furniture business.
The Charlotte location was subsequently closed.
The furniture, due to the nature of the materials used to make most wicker products, is produced
in the Phillipines, Indonesia, China and Vietnam. There are other countries that do produce some,
but much smaller percentages.
The accessories sold in all the store locations are very eclectic and casual basis. We look very
hard for items that are different and blend well with our casual furniture. The range of prices
can be inexpensive to very expensive depending on materials and labor. The wide range of styles
and pricing make it easy for any shopper to find just the right look.
Along with the wicker furniture for indoor use, the Wicker Gallery stores also feature the same
traditional or contemporary wicker look for outdoors! The use of vinyls and synthetics woven
rather than natural materials helps durability for outside use. The use of aluminum sub frames
completely eliminated the problem of wood rot that used to occur when using natural materials
The advances in paint technology has enabled even natural materials to withstand the elements in
moderation. The new fabrics with acryllics, polyester, olefin, and other materials, have great
outdoor application, bringing style and beauty to the outdoors that were usually only seen in
the indoor settings.