“What are you going to do with that?” Is often the question from my husband when I beeline it to a treasure at Warrenton, Round Top or anywhere we happen to be checking out. Well, thought you’d like to see some of my current projects.
This patio table looked sad and worn out. Not a lot of work and it fits perfectly in our store
Currently painting this little sofa it entry table, then….
Then, this little beauty arrived – a Facebook find that made me race to Huntsville to pick it up. The paint colors are what I selected to give her a whole new look….
The transition has begun, and yes, I just can’t do a simple one color redo! I have tried!!
The closest I might come to a simple project will be these two chairs —
But, who knows!
It could end up like this!!
When I opened Silver Barn 7 years ago I certainly wasn’t focused on opening another store. Heck, I just wanted to survive a gas crunch, a banking and housing crisis, 2 major elections, and a major drought!
Fast forward to 2014 and an opportunity comes along that is, well, now or never! Viola! Silver Barn gets a sibling – Silver Barn & Co. Why the “& Co.?” Because we have invited a few of our favorite people to bring their excellent taste and products to be the best we can be.
The challenges? Oh yeah baby! How do you remain consistent when one store sells one thing well and the other sells something different? Decorating two stores for Christmas is like the Groundhog Day movie – it is a new day of decorating every morning — over and over!
But where am I lucky? Two of the most beautiful locations in Columbus and La Grange, Texas house our stores; and the staffs at both stores keep me going and keep me sane! Thank you guys!! And, NO, I will not share their names!
We all have THOSE days. You know the ones where you should’ve stayed in bed with the covers over your head. For those of us in retail it can sometimes be a lost package that seems to be touring the U.S. when all it had to do was go 40 miles, a dock strike in LA meaning your Easter bunnies are being held hostage by sweaty men with placards, or a snow dump on the east coast keeping your new barware – on ice! OR, you can have one of those days where that ALL happens and you can’t do anything but wait for the next call with more good news.
Didn’t have to wait long. Semi-trailer driver thinks our address is, well, not our address. That’s a fun argument!
Whew! Ready for bed and it’s only 6:30!
Whenever I come back from market, many of our customers ask, “What did you find?” Quite often I say the best things I found were “in the temps”. So, I thought I’d tell you about one discovery I made this year “IN THE TEMPS” which is the temporary showrooms. These guys don’t have fancy showrooms with numerous reps helping and food and wine all around. These guys are in a 10×10 booth crammed with merchandise and staff and hopefully customers. (I always feel bad when I walk by an empty booth, they look so lonely.)
This time “in the temps” I found a great new company called Knollwood Lane where there were all sorts of new and different items. From pillows to wall decor to a lazy susan out of an old tree to burb cloths featuring cute sayings. Basically, my kind of place. One stop shopping for all the areas of my two stores – Columbus and La Grange. And, their booth was packed! I love all of my traditional, showroom vendors and reps. They know me, know the store, know what we carry so they don’t try to sell me crystal and chrome chandeliers in a Tuscan-Lodge rustic environment. That is where the Temps can be a problem. And, through the years I’ve seen some Temp vendors we’ve found move up to showrooms and find great success. Nora Fleming and Mary Lake Thompson come to mind, and we’ve enjoyed watching and being a part of their growth.
But, there is something about finding that needle in a haystack that makes it all worth exploring the wonderful world of TEMPS. So, when you explore our stores you will find those hidden gems as well, and we hope you feel the way we do when we find something very special. That is our goal. That is why we are here. That is why shopping independent is so important. We all support independence and creativity in one form or another
For the last several years we have hosted a dinner at the Barn. We prepare the meal, some sort of activity and a discount on shopping. This dinner is a charity event for St. Anthony Catholic School donated as an auction item during their school carnival. In addition, we done another 10% of sales from the evening to the arts program at the school.
We all as independent retailers constantly ask customers to shop local, but what are you doing as a retailer to support local needs? We must be an active partner in our community if we expect the same from shoppers within the community. We are proud of our participation and get so much from it when kids tell us how much they do and learn in the art program at the school. We know we’ve helped in some small way to help them spread their wings and learn new things.
Don’t forget your customers and the community in which you both live. It does make a difference!