Skip Ikea.—the Artisans at Green Front Furniture Travel the World so You Don’t Have To

A trip to Green Front Furniture feels more like a scavenger hunt at the Smithsonian than a trip to a furniture store.

Within these massive brick warehouses, swaths of Farmville locals and tourists make their pilgrimage, bodies weaving in and out among towering piles of rugs and lamp decor. The Byzantine mazes contained in these halls would inspire Escher himself. The air is thick with the smell of leather, wood and dust. Green Front Furniture encapsulates both the thriving heart of what’s emerging in Virginia and the richest aspects of our history.

Green Front’s repurposed warehouses and restored buildings form the centerpiece of Farmville’s historic downtown. The store now fills four former tobacco houses and six Main Street storefronts. The furniture store began its story when Richard F. Cralle bought what was formerly Green Front Grocery in the 1950s. Mr. Cralle passed the store down to his son, Dickie, who switched from dry goods to home goods and began to fill its halls with wares he found worldwide.

For years, the artisans at Green Front have been traveling the world to find the most interesting treasures and world-class works of homebound craftsmanship so you don’t have to. The 70-year-old furniture expo has spent a generation compiling a menagerie of creations from across the country in L.A. to all the way across the world in India.

Here’s how to make the most of this hideout of history.

What to bring:

  • Tape measure: You need to make sure the furniture can fit!
  • Smartphone: Take pictures of the pieces you like. Visit the interactive map to plot your course. Call your partner so they can re-measure the size of the living room. Post a selfie! #GreenFront
  • Fabric samples: Make sure your existing sofa can live with your new chairs.
  • Paint samples: Let’s make sure everyone gets along. If the wall color clashes with your new sectional, you are going to have a bad time.
  • Measurements: Always get measurements so you can rest assured. If you have blueprints, bring ‘em! This is the most efficient way to fill your whole home with Green Front furniture, rugs and home decor.
  • Walking shoes: Because with 13 buildings and nearly 1 million square feet, you are going to be walking—a lot.
  • Inspirational pics: Bring magazines. Catalogs. Instagram. Do you have your eye on a certain look or piece from that boutique furniture store in Manhattan? Avoid the outrageous sticker price, take a picture and shop for it here.
  • Field guide: Can’t explore Green Front without it. Don’t forget to pick up a copy.