by Garrad Lee
Tucked between Fondren Public and Cups Espresso Cafe is Zoubir Tabout Antiques & Interieurs, a quaint, little antique store with a wide variety of furniture, housewares, and accessories.
And it is not in any way demeaning to call the shop little. Owner Zoubir Tabout, who is originally from Paris, France, by way of New Orleans, wants it to be exactly that. “I was the vice president of a high-end antiques company in New Orleans, where I handled all the interior decorating. I was always traveling and always on the move,” he says.
A few years after Hurricane Katrina hit the city, it was time for a change. “I was ready to work less and give more time to myself,” he admits.
That’s where Jackson entered the picture. Tabout had visited Jackson for an exhibit at the Mississippi Museum of Art with some friends that live in the city. He was immediately drawn to the area’s small town charm within a capital city. “I prefer small towns over big towns,” he says.
Tabout moved to Jackson and took up residence in Belhaven. A year and a half later, he opened his shop in Fondren, drawn to the “hip and trendy and bohemian” neighborhood because it reminded him the villages he had grown accustomed to in Europe. “Everything is right here,” he says.
Tabout has also taken a liking to the customers in the Jackson antiques scene. While Jackson lacks a large market of upper high-end clientele like that of New Orleans, customers here still know what they want. For instance, Tabout added a number of accessories like scarves and jewelry after hearing numerous requests from shoppers. On any day, names like Yves Saint Laurent, Gucci, Prada and Valentino can be found around the store. Sometimes, he takes a “shake the tail” approach to showing items to his customers, bringing them pieces he thinks they will like, a skill learned from many years as a tastemaker.
All in all for Tabout, it is about finding what works and making sure it balances with what keeps him happy. He says, “You can come in here and spend four dollars or $40,000. And everything has a story and I love talking to the people. I have possibly my best conversations with the people coming in to spend four dollars. And that makes me happy.”
Tabout enjoys having all the big city amenities at his fingertips, but he notes his love for the fact that driving ten minutes in the car he can find country life. “When I am feeling down, I like to go outside and re-connect with the earth and recharge,” he said. “You can do that in Jackson more easily than in other big cities. It makes for a peaceful life.”
Find Zoubir Tabout Antiques & Interieurs on Facebook at facebook.com/taboutantiques.