The world’s largest inventory of china, crystal, and silver—old and new—is at home in North Carolina.
Visit to admire the collection, complete yours, or find a treasure.
By Hope S. Philbrick
There’s no china, crystal or silver pattern that Replacements Ltd. doesn’t know about, or at least won’t do its darnedest to find out about.
The company stocks the world’s largest inventory of pieces old and new.
That can come in handy.
I know from personal experience: Several years ago, Replacements, Ltd. was one of my husband’s clients and so we were familiar with the company. That knowledge proved invaluable at a dinner party. As the group of guests sat down at the dining room table, our hostess proudly held up a glass to show it off while explaining that we’d be her first guests to drink from the gold-rimmed crystal antiques she’d just inherited from her grandmother. Guests politely oohed and aahed while she poured wine around the table. She raised a glass, signaling for us to do the same to toast Grandma. As my husband reached for his glass he said something genuine and heartfelt about how he was honored to be among the trusted guests. But as he reached out he knocked over the glass, splattering red wine and shards of glass across the tablecloth.
“Just send me the pattern name and I’ll buy you a new glass,” I said before the last bit of broken glass hit the table and before the hostess burst into tears.
Now I’m not saying the woman wasn’t horrified. But learning that her “irreplaceable” heirloom could be replaced helped mitigate the dining disaster.
A few days and $200 later, she had her glass. And I had the peace of mind of knowing that while we may have ruined her dinner party, at least we were able to ensure she retained a service of eight.
(I also learned her grandmother had exquisite taste. None of my glassware is $200 per stem!)
Since then, I’ve been a frequent Replacements, Ltd. customer (and not, to be clear, due to similar accidents). Glasses I inherited from my grandma were chipped, so I had them repaired. I’ve also sold some pieces to the company, used the pattern identification service, and browsed inventories of my favorite patterns.
On a recent road trip from Durham to Greensboro, I stopped at the retail store and warehouse for a tour.
The place is impressive with beautiful things in every direction as far as the eye can see. Enter and prepare to fall in love with the possibilities of how you might set the table for future dinners and special events. More options exist than you’ve probably ever imagined.
Replacements’ extensive inventory includes more than 12 million pieces from over 400,000 patterns in a space that’s larger than eight football fields!
A wall of china showcases the company’s 500 top selling patterns—No. 1 is Spode Christmas Tree. Tours start there, stroll past rows upon endless rows of high shelves stacked with patterns, by artisans restoring delicate treasures, packages on their way in and out, a museum of ancient pieces that aren’t for sale, a room of discounted less-than-perfect pieces, and a spectacular showroom of merchandise for sale. Along the way, you’ll learn the American success story of founder Bob Page plus pick up a few tips about caring for pieces (e.g., avoid lemon-scented dish detergents because the acid is harmful to china surfaces). And tour guides aren’t shy about name-dropping: You’ll see Elvis’ stemware, President Polk’s plates, and dozens of other historic and current celebrities’ patterns on display (and, often, for sale; after all, imitation is a form of flattery).
Don’t miss what is one of the top destinations in the Piedmont-Triad area. If you’re not a customer yet, you may be one clumsy dinner party away from becoming one—in which case, you’ll be glad for the ease of clicking onto the website any time.
1089 Knox Road
McLeansville, NC 27301
- Odds of Encountering Children: Varies, though it’s risky to bring unruly young children into a china shop this expansive. For the most adult experience, visit during school hours.
- The retail store is open daily from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., excluding major holidays.
- Free guided tours are available every half hour.
- Well-behaved pets are welcome.
– Photos © HSP Media LLC