125 S. 14th St.
Second Place: Virginia Wayside Furniture
Third Place: Ruth & Ollie
Founded by Englishman Andrew Thornton in 1980, "when futons, flip chairs, and Danish lighting summed up the entire world of 'contemporary' furniture," LaDifférence on South 14th Street offers a broad spectrum of international furnishing options, including living room, dining room, office, bedroom and outdoor, as well as lighting resources. The store has won a slew of awards, and was named the 1998 distinguished retailer of the year from the Retail Merchants Association. LaDiff also provides delivery service from as close as the surrounding blocks to as far north as the Maryland suburbs. The store offers professional assembly service for 10 percent of the item price. "We have made a big effort to bring the world to Richmond without forgetting Richmond at the same time," explains Sarah Paxton, vice president and co-owner. "We're global and local all at the same time, and try to be very invested in our community." Virginia Wayside Furniture on Patterson Avenue will celebrate 49 years in Richmond this year. Wayside prides itself on the number of American-made brands it offers, along with design services. In Carytown, Ruth & Ollie is a first-generation furniture store that offers, among other things, upholstered furniture, chandeliers, pillows and lamps.