The BEST building on Midlothian Turnpike (1971)

Mar 30, 2024 | by

There is a large rectangular brick building at Agency Avenue and Midlothian Turnpike that was art for almost 2 decades.

BEST Products was founded in Richmond, Virginia, as a mail-order business by Sydney and Frances Lewis in the 1950s. The chain was very successful. The Lewis family were avid art collectors, amassing a large collection which was eventually donated to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

This interest in modern are spurred a collaboration between BEST and the conceptual architectural firm SITE to produce whimsical and surreal building designs for the chain’s suburban show rooms – including this spot on Midlothian Turnpike. The building was retrofitted in 1971 with curved brick walls that appeared to be peeling from the front of the building. Sadly the curves were gone by 1989. The sidewalk on that side of the building still bumps out to go around a wall that is no longer there.


There were many other different designs at showrooms across the country – from California, to Wisconsin to Florida [1] [2] [3].

The Forest Building was the other unique BEST showroom built in Richmond in 1979 at 9008 Quioccasin Road, and it is the only one of them all still around. The design incorporated an existing forest into the architecture of the building, “[spending] months on the building site, re-training the roots of the trees to grow away from structural footings and foundations, and preserving the natural undergrowth, allowing nature and architecture to coexist.” When BEST closed up, this building was bought by the West End Presbyterian Church which has preserved the design.


2 thoughts on “The BEST building on Midlothian Turnpike (1971)”

  1. miss that building on Midlo. can’t tell you how many people argued that it was falling down!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *