By LEIGH C. MERRIFIELD
News & Journal Editor
Lots of good things have happened at Home Style in Shinnston since it initially opened!
Owner Melissa Aldridge says it is hard to believe that Home Style is currently in its 8th year, and among those ‘good things’ that have transpired, success tops the list. Success comes to those with innovative ideas and the enthusiasm to implement those ideas. And Melissa has both the creative spark as well as the devotion to her business.
Not long after Home Style opened, it grew and had to expand – in fact, doubling its space. A website (www.homestylewv.com) was set up so that customers could take a look from home at what the shop offers. Melissa also developed a mailing list to keep customers informed of upcoming special events and sales. Craft classes evolved as well as furniture painting classes. ‘Gold Card Memberships’ also came into being, a perk that offers ‘store cash’ after a number of purchases. And a second store (Urban Farmhouse), located right next to Home Style, also opened under Melissa’s ownership.
Growth continues! Hours have expanded from four days a week at startup to six days a week currently. And Melissa is in the process of developing an e-commerce store which will be added to her existing website. This will give customers the opportunity to order select items from home.
Although Urban Farmhouse has closed, items sold there are still available. “We simply consolidated the best of both stores under one roof,” Melissa explained. “I still lease the Urban Farmhouse location next door. When the e-commerce shopping experience is set up, that space will be utilized for storage and staging for our website. It is, at this point, still a ‘work in progress’, but it is in the works. In the meantime, it still allows us to use that large space for our furniture painting and craft classes.”
In January of this year, Melissa named Amanda Sayers her store manager, hoping that it would give her the needed time to keep developing this new aspect of her business.
“We had just reached a point in our growth that I needed help so that I can continue to extend the other avenues of this business. Amanda is very capable and it is working very well,” Melissa added.
Amanda worked for ten years as a hair stylist, but ‘followed her heart’, so to speak, and started working at Home Style a year ago.
“I love my job here,” Amanda noted. “I have always had a keen interest in home décor – plus, with two children at home, this allows me to set a schedule that gives me a little more time with my family.”
Sales, displays, and after-hours craft classes are among Amanda’s responsibilities at Home Style. When new plans came about that closed the Urban Farmhouse shop, Amanda noted that many customers were sad to see it go. Aiming to please and keep all customers happy, Amanda then set up the ‘Urban’ area within Home Style.
Although some may have believed that Home Style featured exclusively primitive décor, that is not so. Yes, there are many primitive items from which to choose; however, there is MUCH more inside their doors!
“I would say that our style has kind of evolved,” Amanda stated. “People are more and more loving the ‘homey’ look … whether it is the early country/primitive look or the simple farmhouse look, both of them say ‘welcome’ and make you feel comfortable, and who doesn’t want that in their home?”
There is steady traffic on a daily basis at Home Style. Special events, open houses, craft classes, furniture painting classes, and seasonal items continue to draw new visitors to the shop.
Melissa also started a trend called ‘Girls Night Out’ that is a monthly feature during the spring and summer. Very popular, it will return again this year – during the evening hours – and is scheduled to begin in May.
If you haven’t visited Home Style, you need to put it on your to-do list. You’ll be amazed at what you find and the ideas you can recreate in your own home. You’ll find Amish-made furniture items, artwork, lanterns, rugs, linens, window treatments, battery-operated candles, kitchenware, pillows, greenery and florals year-round, seasonal décor, a food section, and something for every room in your home – even the bathroom and laundry room! They have also added a new line of ‘made in Ohio’ signs constructed out of wood pallets that are already in high demand.
Tessa Sendling of Lumberport has shopped at both Home Style and Urban Farmhouse for years and says she goes through withdrawal when other obligations keep her away for a period of time.
“I don’t know what I’d do if I couldn’t shop here,” she exclaimed. “It was the displays in the windows that first drew me in, and inside, I can find everything I need. The staff is so helpful and they go out of their way to share suggestions with their customers. It’s a wonderful place to shop for great ideas and those added touches.”
“We also carry purses and jewelry, and we try to keep a small gift area with items that are reasonably priced and great choices for gift-giving,” Amanda added. “And for those who aren’t sure about someone’s taste, we also offer gift certificates so the recipient can kind of ‘shop for free’!”
Don’t think that this shop is just for women! Men shop here too – many to buy for their spouses or significant other, and some find items they love themselves!
Glen Satterfield, for example, is a steady Home Style buyer – especially during the Christmas season. “My wife works long hours and works very hard, and sometimes she doesn’t have the free time to shop for our home, so I do it! I have purchased many of their seasonal trees, and I also buy things for my daughter here. It’s very helpful that they will gift wrap for me too!” he added.
Just since January, Home Style has added another perk! Amanda continued, “Some customers see what they like but admit that they don’t know quite how to arrange it. We give as much in-store help as we can, but, in some instances, we will even bring items to a customer’s home and arrange it for them. Any items they may decide they don’t need, we simply bring back to the store with us. Several customers have found this to be a big help to them.”
It is hard to imagine visiting Home Style and not finding what you are looking for. However, if that happens, they have an abundance of catalogs from various vendors that they will search through to help you find exactly the “treasure” you want!
Home Style is located at 411 Pike Street in Shinnston. Their hours are M-Sat. from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., but they do stay open until 6 p.m. on Wednesdays.
Be sure to mark your calendars for Home Style’s ‘Spring Open House’ this Friday and Saturday, March 17th & 18th from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. There will be discounts, refreshments, and a drawing for a door prize. They are well stocked with Spring and Easter items!