RETAIL PROFILE: Gardenviews, Northville, Mich.

LORI JERMONT AND LOU MASCOLO OWN Gardenviews home, garden and gift shop in Northville, Mich., a small

Gardenviews, Northville, Mich.Gardenviews’ renovation of its current location, a 108-yr.-old space on Northville’s Main Street, was the second such retail renovation for owners Lori Jermont and Lou Mascolo.
city located about 20 miles northeast of Ann Arbor. In recent years, Northville has revived its downtown area with a new town square, streetscape enhancements, a new pedestrian walkway and outdoor seating/sidewalk cafes.

Last spring, Jermont and Mascolo moved their 15-year-old business into a new location (in an old building) on Main Street. The move required a bit of renovation work, something they'd done years earlier with their first location - an old Gulf gas station on the "fringe of downtown," where they first opened in 1995. "When Lou first found it (the gas station), it was a community eyesore - boarded-up windows, leaky roof, overgrown flower beds," Jermont recalled. "He looked beyond that and saw high ceilings, big windows and an outdoor area with garden potential. When I joined him in 1997, we had both just finished reading Under the Tuscan Sun and decided to transform thLori Jermont and 
Lou Mascoloe rear portion of the building into a Tuscan courtyard - with the help of a house painter who had a creative spirit and helped bring our vision to life."

In January of 2010, when they decided to relocate, Jermont and Mascolo enlisted the help of the same painter, and his three sons. "The building was very stark with gray indoor/outdoor carpet, stark white walls, and a 9-foot drop ceiling," Jermont said. "My first thought was ‘How will I do my tall Christmas trees?' When we learned the drop ceiling was covering a 12-foot, 108-year-old painted tin ceiling, we knew we had no choice but to bring that back to life, and did so with the application of liquid copper over the tin. The walls were arched, faux-painted, and the result is a vintage downtown destination that is the hit of the town!"

The store has approximately 3,000 square feet of selling space, and 1,500 square feet allocated to inventory and office space. Home accents account for about 70% of sales. In May, Gardenviews was named to Home Accents Today's Retail Stars list.

Describe your store: Our business is mainly retail, although we do offer custom floral design. We carry a full line of high-quality silk florals that complement our home and garden accents. Our merchandise is presented by color and theme. Velvet pumpkins at Gardenviews

How's business? Retail continues to struggle in many markets, but we have found that continuing to offer our customers new and ever-changing products keeps us going in uncertain times. In a down economy, consumers are looking for something to make them smile. Even if it's just a stroll through our store, a sale no matter what the size, is usually the end result.

Have you done anything different in the past year? In years past, we always held a lot of product in back stock so we'd always have ready replacements. We found that companies are now shipping so quickly and many have lowered their minimums so there is no need to tie up stock space and inventory dollars when orders can be placed and received within a week or so. We are also redoing our presentation more often to stay fresh for our customers.

Describe your average customer: Female, 35 to 60 years of age, middle income, a keen eye for elegance and whimsy.

How do you reach your customer? Email blasts approximately every six weeks, advertising in our local newspaper, and we sponsor Chamber events. We're about ready to launch our new website. Fortunately for us, our customers are our best advertisers - many of our new faces are referrals from others.Gardenviews

What is the most enjoyable part of your job? We love attending the shows and selecting new merchandise that excites our customers and our staff. The presentation continues to be our greatest satisfaction - standing back to appreciate what we've created and seeing our customers' response.

Tradeshows/markets you shop: Atlanta, twice a year, as it has everything we need in one place.

Who are some of your favorite home accent vendors? Creative Co-Op, Imax, Uttermost, Orlandi, Katherine's Collection, Peacock Park, Illume, Trapp, Voluspa, Allstate, Melrose, Raz

What is your outlook for the next 12 months? We are hopeful that the next year will show improvement in sales and consumer confidence. We noticed much more enthusiasm at the Atlanta markets this year from vendors and buyers alike. There was a lot more new product to choose from, and some showrooms even doubled their space. We're hopeful this is the beginning of the long way back.

Website: gardenviewsinc.com

Address: 117 E. Main St., Northville, Mich. 48167

Susan DickensonSusan Dickenson | Editor in Chief
sdickenson@homeaccentstoday.com

Susan Dickenson is the editor in chief of Home Accents Today, where she has spent more than a decade covering trending topics, best practices and news items pertaining to the manufacturing, retail and interior design segments of the home furnishings industry. A graduate of UNC, Dickenson spent 15 years in the Washington, D.C., area, writing and researching in both the public and private sector. After relocating to her native North Carolina in 2003, she freelanced as a writer of general interest, business, garden and home items for local and national publications before joining Home Accents Today in 2006 as retail editor.

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