Kat Liebschwager opened her brick-and-mortar interior design firm five doors down from her furniture store in Carytown.Photo by Isaac Harrell.
Kat Stretches Out
As other businesses downsize and disappear, Carytown furniture store Ruth & Ollie (3445 W. Cary St., 288-3360) is stretching out. In May, the store expanded to the upstairs of its building, the former location of Kat Liebschwager Interiors. Co-owner Mike Liebschwager, who launched Ruth & Ollie with his wife, Kat, in 2003, says customers can find more modern and traditional furniture on the upper floor.
Five doors down from Ruth & Ollie is the new home of Kat Liebschwager Interiors (3465 W. Cary St., 288-3350), an interior design firm. That company is also doing well, despite dire reports on our nation's economy, and the business added a full-time employee to its new location.
"We have a style that people are looking for," Kat Liebschwager says. "I think that has a lot to do with our success. Our customer service and our style have really pushed us forward." —Craig Belcher
After opening a sister location across the street a year ago, Clementine (3118 W. Cary St., 358-2357), a consignment shop for contemporary women's clothing, has once again borne fruit. In November, the Carytown store will reopen in its original location with a 650-square-foot addition, nearly doubling its previous size.
"It's allowing us to grow sensibly while maintaining our high standards," says partner Lyn Savedge Page.
The expansion will give the retailer three new dressing rooms, more selling and work space, and additional room for administrative and online operations to support the store and its sister consignment shop for kids, Clover. —Rich Griset
Home Décor Depot
Good design is also efficient design, and with that mantra in mind, elegant functionality well describes the concept behind DéCOR, a new store coming to Carytown in early 2012.
Really a sort of artists' collective for interior designers and craftspeople, DéCOR is the shared inspiration of Andrew Chasen and Mark Cates of Chasen Galleries. DéCOR, which stands for Design Center of Richmond, aims to add ease and beauty to Richmond homes in a one-stop interior-design store that minimizes fuss and frees the imagination.
"Our customer that we're envisioning is a designer who wants to bring their client in to find unique things for their home, or anyone who's been searching for something new to do in their home," says Andrew Chasen, who will umbrella 30 to 40 vendors at DéCOR to streamline the design and build process. He adds that there will be contractors for remodeling, painting, closet organization, kitchen design, concrete countertops and more.
Calling the store "a unique idea," Chasen says it will be filled with familiar faces: Mark Cates will be director, with Arlyn Gleason consulting. "We think Richmond's ready for it," Chasen says. For more information, call Andrew Chasen at 204-1048. —Chris Dovi
Phoenix's New Nest
In ancient myth, the immortal phoenix is a beautifully plumed bird blessed with an enchanting song. In Carytown, the seemingly immortal Phoenix is a beautifully plumed women's apparel shop that's looking to enchant customers from a new location (3101 W. Cary St., 354-0711) on the opposite side of South Belmont Avenue from its current location.
Timeless fashions have long defined the Phoenix, first opened by K McCarthy 34 years ago. But Phoenix will move into a new space with a bit of an edge.
"We completely gutted the building," says McCarthy, who is excited about the store's look, even as she maintains elements of the old Phoenix that made her shop a staple for Richmond-area women seeking distinctive styles that mix elements of old and new.
"The new store is much more modern — it's like industrial elegance," she says, but adds, "It's still the same kind of style, based on fabrics and textiles and alternative dressing." —CD
A Sign of Improvement
First impressions make lasting impressions, and for years Carytown's first impression to visitors has been a worn-out wooden sign on a poorly landscaped corner of Thompson and Cary streets.
That's about to change, with a city of Richmond plan to replace the old with a new sign that mixes sleek design and a nod to history.
"It's so Carytown," says Jeannie Welliver, a project development manager with Richmond's department of economic and community development. The new sign is art deco in design and complements the look of Cary Court.
Budgeted to cost $320,000, it will incorporate the same granite and stainless steel design elements as Cary Court, including the distinctive triple-bands of steel detailing that continue through the building's facade. The sign design also includes a hard-backed, interchangeable insert to replace the current banners used by Carytown merchants to announce special events like the Watermelon Festival.
"We've had oodles of compliments on the sign," says Welliver, who expects the sign — along with a planned directory-map sign and tourism station on opposite sides of the intersection with McCloy — to go up by early 2012. —CD