14 November 2009

Meet Denise Williams Roberts

Retailer Denise Williams Roberts knows what she wants, and what her customers want. The first time she saw Dick Idol lighting, she placed a $20,000 order. The fixtures and portables sold through in four months. As Roberts re-tells the story, these were the days before scanners. She says she was ordering so much in the Pacific Coast Lighting showroom that the sales rep told her to slow down. “I can’t write that fast,” he said.
As Idol expanded into furniture and accessories, Roberts followed.
Roberts is the owner of Lilli’s Lighting & Décor in Frisco, Colo. She started with a flower shop and now runs a 4,000-square-foot home furnishings store on two levels.
“I never had enough space” in the original flower shop, Roberts said. She sold fresh and silk flowers, moving several times over the years. One day she noticed the ceiling was unused, so she bought lighting fixtures to hang from there.
Then a storefront became available in downtown Frisco about nine years ago. It was time to stop calling her business a flower shop. She changed the name to Lilli’s Lighting & Décor. (Lilli is her daughter.)


Roberts’ customers are affluent residents who have retired in Summit County. They have owned their own businesses or ran major corporations. Customers are year-round residents or second-home owners. A 29,000-square-foot house is not unusual.
Men love her store, she says, because of the masculine, lodge-y Dick Idol furnishings. Yet Roberts calls Lilli’s Lighting & Décor a “chick” store. “When women come in here, they get all giggly,” she says.

Roberts has shopped markets in Dallas, High Point and Las Vegas. She keeps returning to Dallas because of the discounted hotel rates offered by the Dallas Market Center. The more consecutive markets she attends, the deeper the discount. It’s an incentive to return there.
“You have to go to market to see new product and get excited. Markets energize you,” she said.
Roberts buys containers of furniture and holds the goods in five storage spaces behind her store.
Like other retailers, Roberts is dealing with a bad economy, but she calls her position “financially strong.” She says it is a struggle to get product lines and exclusives. Furnishings are priced competitively but not discounted. Slow-moving merchandise is marked down, but Roberts does not run a sale. June to October is the prime selling season. The store is open six days a week, and Roberts has two part-time sales people. Roberts has two young children (a third moved away from home after graduating college) who work in the store after school.
Roberts has had success with a 24-hour “on approval” policy. If customers like the merchandise, she’ll run their credit card the next day. Those who don’t like it, return the merchandise the next day.
In some cases, Roberts has had only the first name and a phone number of a customer taking merchandise home. But in a small community, where no one is a stranger, she has not been burned, she said. Because the population of Frisco and Summit County is small, Roberts can remember what her customers have purchased. That customer service endears her to customers.

Besides retailing, Roberts offers design consultations with homeowners and advises custom-home builders on lighting. This summer she won an award for interior decorating and furnishing in the Summit County parade of homes competition. (The photos are from a past parade.) Besides the parade of homes, marketing efforts include yellow page advertising, a website and membership in The 3/50 Project. A Facebook page is in the works.


Customers tell her she needs more space because the store is crammed with merchandise. And she would like to have 8,000 square feet, but she won’t move again. Besides, she knows a larger store would not be less cramped. She would fill the space with more goods.

13 November 2009

Custom-painted accent furniture

At the October 2009 High Point Furniture Market, Accents Beyond introduced 10 new items to its custom-painted accent furniture program, called the "Sunset Cove Collection." New items include a bar chest that can double as an end table, a display cocktail table and a bow-front chest. Sunset Cove is available in 10 paint finishes. Delivery runs eight to 10 weeks.
Accents Beyond introduced 10 new items to its custom-painted accent furniture program, called the






Retailers: Contact the manufacturer for prices and minimums.

Shoppers: Ask your favorite independent retailer to order this item for you.

12 November 2009

Sideboard

Schnadig Smoke and Mirrors sideboard in the Caracole portfolio. High Point Furniture market

The "Smoke and Mirrors" sideboard is part of the Classic Contemporary style category in the new Caracole portfolio from Schnadig International. Search the blog for upholstered furniture from Schnadig, published earlier this week.



Retailers: Contact the manufacturer for prices and minimums.

Shoppers: Ask your favorite independent retailer to order this item for you.

11 November 2009

Tall armoire

Universal Furniture The Summer Hill line by Universal Furniture is scaled for smaller living spaces. This slender Tall Cabinet is ideal for storing blankets and sweaters or for concealing a small television with shelves, drawers and wire management behind two framed-panel doors. It measures 37 inches wide and 78 inches tall.



Retailers: Contact the manufacturer for prices and minimums.

Shoppers: Ask your favorite independent retailer to order this item for you.

10 November 2009

Upholstered furniture

Here is a sample of Schnadig International's upholstered pieces in its new Caracole portfolio, introduced at the 2009 fall High Point Furniture Market.
Schnadig Caracole line of upholstered furnitureCarleton Chaise

Philip Sofa




Retailers and designers: Contact the manufacturer for prices and minimums.

Shoppers: Ask your favorite independent retailer to order this item for you.

09 November 2009

Silver-finished armchair

The 7803 chair from Samuelson Furniture has an Art Nouveau design. The company sells to interior designers. Side chair with arms, silver finish, leather seat, hardwood frameSamuelson Furniture's 7803 chair is inspired by the Art-Nouveau period. It features a sparkling hand-applied tarnished silver finish.The frame is made of hardwood solids, the seat is alabaster leather.
The fourth generation company offers furniture to the professional interior design community.




Retailers and designers: Contact the manufacturer for prices and minimums.

Shoppers: Ask your favorite independent retailer or designer to order this item for you.
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