Sunnyside Trading Co. Brings the World to Asheville
With a name like Sunnyside Trading Company, the epithet alone of Asheville’s newest market practically promises bright pops of color, happy prints and shining, glittering wares. And what their name promises, they provide. Fabrics and patterns as bright as the sun itself fill the shop, their hues highlighted by warm woods. These home goods hail from all corners of the globe—much like the shop’s proprietors.
Sunnyside’s story is a wandering one, stretching back decades and across continents. One start to the story is in Denver in the ‘70s; it was there that Stuart Hough began his first antique home furnishings company, quickly expanding his stores across Colorado. His passion for antiques, especially of the European variety, took him next to Paris, where he settled with his family for ten years.
But maybe the story actually begins in 2012, when Hough met an eccentric designer and world textile hunter named Tony Abrahim who works out of China. The two, spurred by Hough’s evolving interest in tribal and nomadic arts, decided to relocate to the States and begin a new wholesale furniture business. Located on Sunnyside Avenue in Stamford, Connecticut, the store essentially named itself (with a bit of irony, since it was the most rundown street in the city). A new Bohemian twist wooed Hough’s daughter Charlotte and she joined the team. Connecticut proved an awkward fit for the family, and they began their search—once again—for a new home base.
So perhaps the true beginning to this story is actually here, in Asheville, where the Houghs (now joined by Stuart’s son, Will, too) have at last settled, first with a warehouse in Old Fort and now a shop in the River Arts District.
“Sunnyside Trading Co. is about so much more than home furnishings, it’s about the ‘travel home philosophy,’” says Charlotte. “Not only have we traveled the world to find a home in Asheville, each item that we carry has a unique story and a person attached to it.” Enter the shop and you instantly feel transported to some foreign and far-off locale like Marrakesh or Mumbai. The colors are vibrant, the woods rich. Their signature items include midcentury-modern style chairs upholstered in vintage Indian fabrics and over-dyed rugs from Turkey, but you’ll find a large selection of home goods in the unique shop—and even more in their warehouse, which is open by appointment.
Charlotte and Will have structured the company in a way that directly gives back to the communities that they source from, as well as Asheville. “A key element of the business is philanthropy,” Charlotte notes. “Giving back and creating sustainable business for communities abroad that we source from, as well as enriching Asheville, is the focal point of our mission.”
Everything circles back to one thing: travel. “It all comes back to the Travel Home Philosophy: offering the exoticism of travel all in the comfort of your own home,” Will says. That means importing pieces from around the world and incorporating them into a new, Ashevillian aesthetic. “We hope to build new lines of furnishings and accessories using world textiles re-interpreted by Asheville’s artists, framers, upholsterers and fashion designers.”
Sunnyside Trading Co. is kind of like Asheville itself: its pieces and people hail from all over the world, but it’s in our mountains that they’ve found home.