City Business

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Fastest Growing Companies 1. M.S. Rau Antiques

Editor’s note: CityBusiness tracks the Fastest Growing Companies in the New Orleans area based on information we obtain from our regular surveys of private companies. The five standouts that were featured in our May 10 print edition reported the largest percentage increase in revenue over the past three years among companies that posted between $20 million and $100 million. Businesses that want to be considered for the Fastest Growing Companies list should contact Market Research Director Jessica Greenlee Maldonado at jgreenlee@nopg.com.

By: Lance Traweek, Managing Editor, May 22, 2019

M.S. Rau Antiques’ revenue is growing with age. The New Orleans-based fine art, jewelry and antiques retailer that opened in 1912 has seen revenue grow 118 percent over the past three years.

image001 The 107-year-old store on Royal Street in the French Quarter continues to profit thanks to tourists and tweaks in marketing efforts.

In 2016, the company had $44 million in revenue, which jumped up to $65 million in 2017 and climbed to $96 million last year. Bill Rau is its third-generation owner and CEO.

Lori Paige, chief marketing officer, attributes the growth to expanding its offering in fine art, which accounts for 60 percent of revenue. Art continues to be a major investment for consumers, and the company’s online marketplace has buyers feeling more confident in buying pieces without seeing them in person. The company has also had success at art and antique shows around the U.S., where they meet new clients.

Paige also said New Orleans’ popularity among tourists and conventions helps the French Quarter retailer remain profitable.

She said success does not come without challenges. The company bought two new buildings one door down from its Royal Street space, which will double its gallery space. The main store is located at 630 Royal St.

“It’s exciting but also challenging as we figure out the display space and how our customers will shop, but we are confident we can take what we have learned and fine-tuned over the past 107 years and improve upon it,” Paige said.

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Moving forward, M.S. Rau Antiques’ larger gallery space will allow it to showcase acquisitions much better and improve the customer experience.

“We also plan to expand our jewelry offering, which we expect to appeal to a broader audience,” she said. “We continue to try new art and antique fairs in different parts of the country to meet new clients.”

She said the company believes in putting profits back into its inventory. As the company grows, she said they will be offering rarer pieces of art and a broader fine art inventory. Marketing efforts include continuing to advertise nationally to drive site and store traffic.

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