The businesses just keep popping up on the 100 block of Gay Street and it’s a welcome development. In recent weeks I’ve written about the opening of Bootleg Betty, my belated discovery of The Village Marketing Group and the upcoming opening of Bula Boutique. It was in the process of the story on Bula Boutique that I learned that a home decor store would soon open at 108 S. Gay.
Eventually I connected with Barrie Fisher (thanks to Justin McGuire), who welcomed me into the still incomplete store and showed me around as she told me the plans. She co-owns the store with David Brown, a downtown resident for whom she decorated his home. They decided to go into business together and James Freeman Interiors and Gifts is the result. The name of the new business comes from family names in each of their families.
It’s been a whirlwind for Barrie who got into the space in mid-August and opens for business today. The six week or so turnaround was no minor accomplishment and details were still being finished as late as yesterday afternoon. The vision is coming together very nicely and Barrie pointed out several elements in which she takes pride, such as the fact that the interior doors and counter top come from harvested materials from the interior of the UT president’s home. Jason Drolet finished out the very attractive counter.
Barrie, a downtown resident for the last 3 1/2 years, has twenty-four years interior design experience. A UT graduate, she’s also worked the last six years downtown, but really wanted to develop her own vision. She imagines hosting fundraisers and other events and plans to have First Friday events, though it may be just enough to be open for tonight’s celebration.
The store will feature everything for the home interior with the exception of a complete line of furniture, though you will find some select pieces of that, as well. A large selection of lamps, rugs and fabric, bedding, dishes and other glassware are compacted into a deceptively small space. A mezzanine level allows for a consultation room for selecting fabrics for furniture covering and for other design choices.
If there is a stylistic theme, it might be called classic contemporary. Items range from small candles and other accents to the cabinets that hold them. I particularly liked some of the wine glasses, which Barrie told me come at several price points in order to offer something for every budget. She pointed out the Italian pottery and the quotation book stacks, which were very eye-catching. The art is from market, but she hopes to incorporate more local art as the store evolves.
It seems a great addition to our downtown retail. The recent businesses opening on the 100 block seem to share a design theme and so may create a synergy the block has not thus far enjoyed. I’m also pleased to have downtown access to items either unavailable or in very limited supply, such as sheets and glassware. I have a feeling the Urban family household budget may take a hit.
Courtney Herda will provide social media support. You can find them on Facebook, with an expanded web presence soon to follow. The website is under development. The store will be open at 10:00 AM each day, Monday through Saturday and will close at 5:30 weekdays and at 5:00 PM on Saturdays. They will be closed Sundays.