Unique furniture store opens in Highlands Ranch

Shop offers items from countries including India, China and Thailand

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When wandering through Rare Finds' new storefront in Highlands Ranch, there's no telling what might be around the next corner.

Furniture and home decor varying from eagle statues and hand-carved elephant wall hangings to milk carton bar stools and distressed leather sofas fill the store on Quebec Street.

Tony Wilson, part owner and the man who hand-picks almost all the shop's items, wandered the store explaining his methods one morning in late October.

“Different, different, different, that's just the goal at all times,” he said. “To try to have things other people don't have.”

Because many of the pieces in the store are made from refurbished materials, most are one-of-a-kind, he said.

Wilson points out the many live edge, wood pieces of furniture, which come from trees in Thailand. Some are full trees transformed into dinner tables or bars and some are just a portion of a tree turned into a sculpture.

The refurbished pieces, many of which are from India, are made from things like doors, balconies, an old ox cart and other functional items from the country. Wilson travels through small villages while there, working mainly with artisans and sometimes small factories, to find the next batch of materials and items.

“So much stuff comes out of India right now because you can get newly made (pieces) out of reclaimed wood,” he said. “Or you can get a piece that's completely repurposed or upcycled using architectural salvage.”

It's difficult to find these types of items and materials in the U.S., and Wilson has a theory why.

“The U.S. is a lot newer place than India” he said. “I think they're tearing down a lot more buildings and things there than we are here.”

Wilson and his business partner, Brad Grunewald, started the company as a furniture wholesaler in 2010. In 2013, they opened a public storefront in Stapleton and in October, they had the grand opening of the Highlands Ranch location.

“It just makes sense to be down here,” Wilson said. “There's a huge customer base, there's a huge influx of people coming into this part of town.”

Rare Finds also sells pieces to restaurants and offices such as the Google office in Boulder and Raices Brewing in Sun Valley, Wilson said.

Every four months, Wilson travels for three weeks at a time, searching for unique pieces to bring to the store, he said. In October, Wilson planned to travel to the Far East for the next batch of furniture.

“We'll do more than 60 (shipments) this year,” he said. “That's the most we've ever done.”

Shoppers can follow along on some of these journeys through the store's social media pages, where Wilson posts videos and photos of the places he picks.

When looking for items to ship back to the U.S., Wilson tries to find a balance between uniqueness and affordability.

While some of the larger store items, such as a live edge full bar made from a tree in Thailand, can cost up to $5,000, other items can range between about $10 and a couple hundred dollars.

“We want to present things that are super cool but don't completely break your bank to have them,” he said.

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