A “Bonjour!” welcome mat lies in front of Le Maison Supreme, an antique homegoods shop in the Eastern Village of downtown Manhattan, whose window display has even the busiest of city-strollers halting for a second glance. Owner Pierre Francois Supreme waits inside amongst an array of glitzy chandeliers, delicate sets of china, colorful candles and tiny soaps. Seventeen years ago, he left his hometown of Montreal to pursue his big dreams in the city, filling the hand-me-down shoes he was so destined to fill. Previously serving as an apprentice to his father, an antique furniture owner, Pierre was provided with the traditional skills necessary for a successful business. “I’ve always wanted my own store,” he says, “because ever since I was a little boy my heart has been in it.”
His love for his trade beams through one of his favorite pieces, a remarkable 1920’s chandelier from France, inexpensively priced at just $4,000. Similary, he displays many affordable vintage jewelery boxes, clocks, paintings and dining sets—perfect for bridal registries and housewarming gifts. There are small goodies for younger visitors as well, such as decorative soaps that come in all sizes, shapes and colors, polished with only the finest of French packaging.
Pierre has collected antique pieces straight from our nation’s capital all the way to the shores of Naples, but the majority of his collection comes from France. “French flare and I’m there,” he says with a smile. He prices such diverse pieces at such affordable prices because he wishes to build a relationship with his customers—“take care of your customers and they’ll take care of you.” Although the penny for such rare bargains could be much prettier, La Maison Supreme’s underground success proves it just may have a mantra worth following. With countless independent stores unable to make ends meet in an economy where such high rental prices are paired with competitive trades and locations, it’s the customers who take note of Pierre’s passion for his business.
The customers have even given La Maison Supreme its signature slogan—“Si tu n’as pas d’argent d’aaller a Paris… Il faut visiter la Maison Supreme.” If you can’t come to Paris, then simply come here; a comment that is continuously left in the guestbook, located by the cash register, past rows of handpainted turquoise lamps and a delicate gold bed, equipped with soft linen sheets and topped with an antique china teaset. Afterall, there’s only room for writing when you can finally finish staring.