Small Business Spotlight: Embellish, Meridian
by Laura Smith
Published: October 17,2010
‘It’s not the match… it’s the mix’
Group pulled together to make a go of downtown Meridian shop
When Aimee Tramontana was considering closing her retail shop in Meridian, five of her friends jumped in with a new idea for the space.
Tramontana owns a successful wholesale business, Aimee’s Handpainted Linens, which sells to vendors across the nation. By January, she’d decided to close the Meridian retail shop to focus strictly on the wholesale orders. But her friends hated to see the shop close.
“We are all for the rejuvenation of downtown and felt like Meridian needed another place to shop,” said Frances Long, who along with Summer Hines, Karen Rush, Jean Tucker and Terie Shields, opened Embellish at the 2108 Front Street space.
The women first modeled their shop after another one that was open only three days a month and that changed merchandise and décor each month.
“We were hiring contract labor and moving items in and out, and we decided we wanted to do more gifts,” she said. “It was a lot of hard work to keep changing everything; and with Christmas coming up… so just this week we started opening Tuesday through Friday,” Long said.
The store’s mix of old and new items compliments its slogan of “It’s not the match, it’s the mix.”
Merchandise includes custom jewelry handcrafted by Tucker and Rush, antique furniture, cowboy boots, baby clothes, picture frames and other home furnishings and even chandeliers.
Long said customers can find gifts for nearly every budget in the shop, which housed Planter’s Supply in the 1800s and still features exposed brick and high ceilings from that era.
“We have a few things for sale for $5. We try to have something that younger shoppers can buy, and we also have high-end things,” she said.
That’s a bonus of having six owners with ages ranging from mid-30s to mid-50s — everyone has unique tastes.
“We just buy things we like,” she said. “We all have a little bit different taste. Terie can find something for those in their 30s and 40s, and I have an eye for things an early grandmother would like.”
Long said while the women have a lot of fun working together it has been a challenge to corral six opinions and personalities.
“We have learned if something is bothering us to bring it to the table and get it out,” she said. “And we usually hug, say, ‘I love you’ and go on,” she said. “We went to market in Atlanta and I’ve never laughed so hard in my life. I always say, if we quit having fun, we’ll just close the doors.”
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