Dallas Design District loses a little quirky with veteran shop shutter


A funky, exotic home furnishings store in Dallas’ Design District is calling it a day: Big Mango Tradingwhich specialized in imported furnishings from southeast Asia and the Far East, will close its retail store at 1130 N. Riverfront Blvd. in May, after 20 years.

Managing partner Arron Crawford says that they’ll be closing in May with a big sale that will include a large container of newly imported goods as a final send-off.

Crawford’s parents Jaime and Lori Smith first opened Big Mango in 1996, back when the Design District was truly Dallas’ design district, populated by warehouses that were open to-the-trade-only.

The couple had traveled to Indonesia and fell in love with the casual elegance of Bali and Java. They would bring things back for their own home, and then sell extra pieces as a hobby. One day they rented the space on Riverfront Boulevard and the business took off.

They would make regular trips to Southeast Asia, forging friendships with artisans and craftspeople, amassing a unique selection of home & garden decor not found elsewhere in Dallas. And while they serviced the design trade, they were also open to the public, which made them a destination for designers and home shoppers alike.

“Over the past 20 years we’ve outfitted countless bars, restaurants, hotels, parks, homes, yards, and even ashrams, with unique and eclectic pieces found on our treks to southeast Asia,” Arron says.

The merchandise was a highly personal blend of handcrafted home furnishings, distinctive outdoor and architectural pieces, and an extensive selection of exotic accessories and one-of-a-kind treasures with an Asian influence.

“We’re the place to go if you want a stone buddha – not many stores in Dallas sell those,” Arron says.

They also had a uniquely distinctive shopping environment, with its combination of indoor and outdoor display space that made them a funky urban treasure.

“Our store is a little bit different,” she says. “We’re indoor and outdoor. Put it this way: We don’t have temperature control. We were always a little more adventurous than some of the other showrooms down there.”

The main reason they’re closing: the pandemic.

“With what’s been going in the world, it doesn’t support our business model anymore,” she says. “We can’t travel like we used to, and shipping costs have become prohibitive.”

“But the universe has been pointing to the exits for a while,” she says. “We’ve talked about it over the past couple years and finally said OK, it’s been a good run, and it’s time.”

So now’s your chance to get your tribal statues, your teak root sculptures & chairs, life-size metal “Meditation Man” and “Diver” sculptures, clear and blue stacked glass discs on a limestone base, stacked stone cairn sculptures, and stone planter bowls.

“We’ll go out with one more container of goodies from Bali before we pull our gate for last time at the end of May,” she says.