The home goods section of downtown retailer DECO Raleigh has gotten so big it needs a new storefront to hold it all.
DECO Home will open in early October a few doors down from the main store that sells an eclectic selection of locally made gifts, clothing, toys and art on West Hargett Street.
The new store will also stock mostly local products found in living rooms and dining rooms, said DECO owner Pam Blondin. She hopes to sell glassware, towels, rugs and small furniture items that appeal to the increasing number of people moving into downtown apartments.
“This is the kind of store for people who have graduated from IKEA,” Blondin said.
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DECO Home will be in the space recently vacated by clothing maker High Cotton, which moved to Glenwood Avenue.
Blondin said she kept finding products she wanted to sell, but she ran out of space at the main DECO store, which opened in 2012.
“We’ve got no more room,” she said. “You can’t walk through (DECO) without bumping your elbow into something in there.”
She also has collected works from local artists.
“In fact, I don’t think there is any art that isn’t going to be locally made,” Blondin said.
With home goods moving down the street, the main store will be able to expand the baby-goods section, and also the inventory of customer favorites like witty greeting cards.
Several other downtown stores sell items for the home, and Blondin said she worked with those business owners to make sure her store will offer something different.
The cooperation is important, she said, because downtown Raleigh’s retail scene is just starting to get off the ground. Business owners can work together to cater to the needs of a growing downtown population.
About 7,000 people currently live downtown, and the number is expected to grow to about 10,000 by 2020, said Bill King, director of planning and development for the Downtown Raleigh Alliance.
Blondin is an example of how to run a successful business in a city’s growing core, and she advocates for more retail downtown.
She said the No. 1 piece of advice she gives people who are interested in starting their own business is to write down a detailed plan. It helps firm up details like how much space is needed, insurance logistics and marketing.
“Once you have answered your own questions in writing, you will know pretty clearly whether you have a viable concept,” she said.
To encourage more businesses to set up shop, Blondin has worked with several organizations and the city of Raleigh to create Grow Raleigh Retail, a seminar planned for Sept. 28 for people interested in starting a business.
“Hopefully this will help kind of get entrepreneurial types focused and start developing stronger business plans,” she said.
Chris Cioffi: 919-829-4802, @ReporterCioffi
Find out more
The Grow Raleigh Retail seminar will be Wednesday, Sept. 28, at the North Carolina Retail Merchants Association, 209 Fayetteville St., Raleigh. The cost is $25. Anyone interested in attending should call Ashley Melville, director of business development at the Downtown Raleigh Alliance, at 919-821-6972.