logo



Cooley finds opportunities in downtown Johnson City

Robert Houk • Nov 15, 2019 at 8:00 AM

Victoria Cooley, the owner of West Main Antiques and Variety Shop in downtown Johnson City, was born to be in the antiques business. She grew up in Southwest Virginia watching her mother operate a successful antiques shop.

Cooley said her fondness for antiques also played a key role in leading her to interior design.

Today, she puts those elements to use in the business she has operated for three years at 126 W. Main St.

Fast Facts

Dog or cat: “Snakes! My 4-year-old son Charlie (with the help of his father) talked me into allowing them to get two.”

Favorite movie: “The BBC’s ‘Pride and Prejudice,’ with Colin Firth. I love a good period piece.”

Ideal vacation spot: “Edisto (South Carolina) or any other low-key beach.”

HOW DO YOU DESCRIBE YOUR BUSINESS?

This is honestly a tough question for me because we are definitely an eclectic hodgepodge. I'm going to let a recent Google review from Rich Layman answer that:

“Two full floors of fun, eclectic antiques through MCM collectibles including furniture, fixtures, accessories, clothing and memorabilia. A must-visit stop for us every time we are in Johnson City. Plus the owners and staff are super friendly.”

WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO LOCATE IN DOWNTOWN JOHNSON CITY?

I am not originally from Johnson City (I grew up not far away in Gate City, Virginia), but I was spending more time in JC and noticed that there wasn't much in the way of retail in downtown or even an eclectic antique shop at all. I saw a need for it. I also saw the growth and revitalization that was happening and wanted to be a part of it.

We just celebrated our three-year anniversary, and truly love being a part of the downtown community. Just like Johnson City itself, we are still growing and evolving into the best that we can be.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE WHO WANTS TO OPEN A SIMILAR BUSINESS?

Just go for it. It can be scary, but with optimism and hard work, you can make it happen. I would love to see more boutique-like retail shops in downtown. There are currently two vacant spaces across the street from us. I would love to see those spaces with thriving small businesses in them.

Take advantage of the many free resources that are available. Push social media hard, especially Instagram. Word of mouth will always be a driving force.

WHO DO YOU TURN TO FOR ADVICE?

My fiancé Gregory Turner, my parents and store manager Larry Thacker (he is my right-hand man and you can find him in the shop four days a week). I am so grateful for the love and support that I have in my life.

HOW DO YOU UNWIND?

I go picking. But seriously, outside of the shop, it’s yoga and meditation, reading and audiobooks. I take walks in nature and spend time with my son.

Johnson City Press Videos