In 2006, Susan Patterson had a vision of creating a trendy home décor store in downtown Rogersville that carried unique gift items. At that time, the only retail store in the downtown area was a candle shop. So she gathered a few friends, all of whom intended to work part-time at the new store, and headed off to Atlanta to market. They went in search of boutique items, such as signage to decorate a lakeside home. Susan took her friends as well as her daughter-in-law Michelle on the expedition. Shortly after, Village Interiors & Specialty Gifts was born. Since then, Susan and Michelle have worked together, now for 14 years, and thoroughly enjoy running the store. “When you enjoy what you do, work becomes play,” Michelle said. That being said, they have decided to expand and open an additional location at 5750 Mooresville Road just off of I-565. It is between the historic towns of Belle Mina and Mooresville. As Susan and I chatted, she asked me a thought-provoking question: “What keeps small town independently owned brick-and-mortar stories relevant in today’s market?” Her answer: “A fun, happy place to shop; a place that features innovative displays, decorating trends, ‘Wow!-factor’ windows, and an interesting selection of products. All of them combine to create a satisfying shopping experience.”
At Village Interiors, there are seven saleswomen who are lovingly referred to as “the Village girls.” They are always ready and willing to help any customer that has a specific shopping need for nearly any occasion. The Village girls seem to instinctively know how to tell if the person who just walked in is someone who needs and wants help if they are just browsing. They do teach their staff how to refine and improve their skills, but “the gift” has to already be part of their DNA. The Village girls will take their time to help you find exactly what you are looking for. They will make sure that you also leave with a great looking gift bag in tow.
Michelle made me smile as she talked about the smell of their store. “It’s not something in a bottle; it’s the blending of the smell of several candle lines that make it so welcoming. We call it, ‘the Village smell.’ The other day we walked into the new store and realized that it now had ‘the smell,’” she said. Michelle added that even though there is a lot of online shopping going on these days, and she does a lot of it herself, still there is nothing like being able to “walk in, to touch it, hold it, see it, imagine it in a room or as a gift, and have someone there in a store to help you.”
Susan let me in on her process when it comes to finding the best items for her clientele. “I travel a lot and make a point of visiting stores that are like ours. If I can, I get to know the owner and say, ‘Look, I am from out of town, and I am not here to take your business. Would you tell me what is working for you?’” Susan has also networked with several other shop owners, and keeps up with the trade periodicals. The results speak for themselves.
Some of the featured lines at Village Interiors include: Ronaldo Designer Jewelry, Hobo and Col. Littleton, Tyler, Voluspa and Swan Creek Candles, Sugarboo, Uttermost, Breezesta, Peepers, and Pura Vida. There is also lake and river art, as well as home décor, costume jewelry, boutique clothing, and fun accessories. These serve to make shopping at Village a pleasurable and affordable experience. Whether you need a small hostess gift, the perfect wedding gift, or just a goody for your wife in the hopes of earning some much needed “husband points,” Village Interiors has “got you covered.”
Before Michelle left to get to her next appointment, she told me the goal of Village Interiors and Specialty Gifts: “We want to make shopping an experience, and not a hassle.” Come let her show you exactly what she means and stop by either the Rogersville store or the new Storage Port store in Belle Mina today.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner