Everything for decorating, all in one place
By J. Chambless
Teri Rigby and her daughter, Christine Lodgaard, opened Rigby's Home Decor in November.
By John Chambless
Since opening the store one month ago,
the owners of Rigby's Home Decor have found out that people love
their merchandise, as well as the history of the building they're in.
“People have been so enthusiastic,” said Teri Rigby. “They come in and tell us about the history of the place, like we haven't heard it before,” she added, smiling. “But everyone has been so supportive and friendly.”
But both Rigby and her daughter, Christine Lodgaard, are overwhelmed with how eager people have been to walk around the store, a sprawling retail space at 30 Prospect Avenue in West Grove, and a landmark building that has been a pharmacy, a hardware store and lots of other things for the past 100 years or so. But until recently, the building was known for being vacant.
“It had been more or less vacant for six years,” Rigby said. Officials from West Grove Borough were eager to bring some life back to the huge retail site in the center of town, and worked with the landlord to make sure Rigby's would become a reality. “We worked very hard to get this building,” Lodgaard said.
Rigby has plenty of experience in finding treasures and reselling them. “I've been doing this in the area for about 20 years,” she said. “It started back when a local museum had a catalog department. They sold their overstock and discontinued merchandise at auctions, and I bought it for less than a dime on a dollar. I could make a good profit and make a lot of people happy.”
She had retail locations at the Market Street Trading Company in Oxford, the Shoppes at the Nottingham Inn, and a massive warehouse-size space in northern Cecil County before “semi retiring” and finding that she was bored.
Her daughter, Christine, who also works as a full-time psychiatric nurse at the Rockford Center in Newark, moved back to the area and asked if her mother wanted to get back into the business.
“I just keep falling into these really great deals,” Rigby said, smiling. The new store opened on Nov. 18.
When you first enter the store, it looks like a retail furniture business. But the living room and dining room furniture isn't brand new – it's just in extremely good condition and so well curated that it looks like it comes from a carefully selected range of manufacturers.
The look reflects the taste of Rigby, who said she could happily live with everything in the store. There are no scratch-and-dent castoffs here. What shoppers will find is a constantly evolving selection of fine furniture, home décor and even jewelry that comes from regional estate sales and auctions. “When we get something inexpensively, we pass that on to the buyer,” Rigby said. “Our prices reflect what we paid.”
The furniture is solidly made, originally quite expensive, and priced to tempt any browser. “We have a look that's a little bit of Pier One, a little bit Restoration Hardware, Thomasville, the higher end,” Lodgaard said. “And we're extremely picky.”
With Christmas in full swing, there's a holiday theme, of course, but the merchandise will continue to be themed with the seasons. “What we'd like to do is set up some kind of special event once a month to display the work of local artists, or do some wine tastings with local wineries,” Lodgaard said.
The large space was repainted and touched up after so many years of lying dormant, and the room-like groupings of furniture and decorations are impeccable. The store also has a huge line of draperies and curtain accessories that were purchased from a now-closed Calico Corners store, and the still-bagged merchandise is priced way below retail.
In one of the huge front windows is an elaborate bird cage table that makes a great statement, even without a bird inside. There is a selection of Boyd's Bears collectible figurines, a nice selection of jewelry, dozens of lamps, statement pieces such as a metal table from Restoration Hardware that looks like a gigantic meteorite cross-section, and in the center of the space, a monumental chandelier.
“We got that at Habitat for Humanity Re-store in New Garden,” Rigby said. “My daughter and I walked in and we just stopped. It was sitting there in a big crate. It's all glass and crystal. We got it for an unbelievable price. As soon as we saw it, we knew that it was our focal point. It's not for sale.”
For now, the co-owners (Rigby is the “creative department” and Lodgaard is the chief financial officer) are happy to be finding their niche in a welcoming retail environment. “We tell people about the other businesses downtown,” Lodgaard said, pulling out business cards and flyers for other places that shoppers will want to visit. There's a pot of coffee always ready, since customers like to come in and browse a while, or pull up a seat to talk.
“I love this location,” Rigby said. “I live on State Road in West Grove, so I've gone by here a lot. I always envied the windows. What I didn't realize is that the windows are tinted, so it's hard to see into them,” she added, laughing. ““At night, though, you can see in, so we have a lot of lights. But now that we're here, the town has responded, and they have been buying. We've restocked our Christmas merchandise three times.”
The one thing that the store lacks right now is a sign. The huge sign on the side of the building is for a former business there, and the owners are looking for a solution that won't break their budget. But word of mouth is the best advertising, and people are readily finding their front door, even without a sign.
“It came down to waiting to open, or opening without a sign,” Lodgaard said. “And people just don't care about the sign. They see the 'Sale' signs out front and they just come right in.”
Rigby's Home Decor is at 30 Prospect Ave., West Grove. Hours are Wednesday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Call 610-869-8005 for more information.
To contact Staff Writer John
Chambless, email firstname.lastname@example.org.