Bring on the drama — set the scene; tell a story; cue the lights — even after hours. Think of the storefront as a stage that will capture attention and draw people closer to explore what is inside. Retailers often must work with out-dated and less than desirable facades but there is no limit to the creativity of a resourceful small business owner.
Meet seven ingenious shopkeepers who have transformed their spaces to make their entrances pop. Not only is it good for their businesses, it does wonders for their community’s shopping reputation.
All Good Things Gifts
Wesley Chapel, Florida | Nickole Davis, owner
“My modern gift shop is inside a 40-foot shipping container. In January 2020 it was cut open for doors and floor to ceiling windows. It is now in its final stages with beautiful Instagramable artwork on the outside done by a local artist. My gift shop, All Good Things Gifts, is set to open in November of 2021.”
All She Wrote Notes
Gibsonville, North Carolina | Maghon Taylor, owner
“I bought this 50-plus year old doctor’s office in August of 2020 and am working alongside my dad to make it the future home of my business, All She Wrote Notes. We are set to finish in October 2021.”
Carmen’s on Carolina
Orangeburg, South Carolina | Carmen Brunson, owner
“We purchased this house in downtown Orangeburg, South Carolina in March 2021. We gave this little house some much needed tender loving care. We were able to open the doors May 5, 2021. My husband and I are DIYers, so most of the work was done by us. We did hire a contractor to put in the walkway. We are currently finishing up the kitchen renovation to make it a shoppable area. We are very excited to offer unique gifts to our local area.”
Lake Geneva, Wisconsin | Tom Konopacki, owner
“When we took over the space, the store had a big striped awning and painted red columns. We discovered that 1/3 of the store windows were covered by plywood under the awning. When we removed the plywood, we discovered the original facade with a limestone header. We removed all the wood, sandblasted the columns and brought the storefront back to the way it was in 1903. We added a metal louvered awning above the header which gives us shade in the summer, but allows the sun to come through in the winter.”
Dot’s Gift Boutique
Jamestown, New York | Julie Wootten, owner
“Our storefront was previously a convenience store and the building sat empty for many years prior to us purchasing it. We did a complete demo inside and outside. Our goal was to bring back some of the charm that had been present in downtown buildings/businesses when Jamestown was known for its downtown shopping. Our makeover was completed in October 2019 and we celebrated our grand opening on November 9, 2019.”
Harmony Brookside Gift Shop & Gallery
Brookside, New Jersey | Sally Harris, owner
“We just updated our storefront in August 2021 after being at our location for 3 years. It’s a charming, historic area and we’re right next door to an old-fashioned post office, however, our storefront was a bit lacking. We needed to keep any upgrade within a fairly limited budget and in line with what our landlord was comfortable with, so we designed a facade which is supported via a bolt anchored into concrete in the planters, and used clear cedar for the uprights and horizontal slats. We also painted the inside backdrop a dark grey which made the new “Gifts and Gallery’ window lettering really pop. It’s definitely made the store more noticeable and fits our in-store vibe much better. Our customers love it and so do we!”
Now & Then Boutique
Milbank, South Dakota | Carolyn Giessinger, owner
“Our store was an old bakery and the original windows and doors were from the early 1900’s. There were windows also on the inside of the building to form a case-like window to showcase bakery goods. It felt like it took square footage out of the store because I was limited on what I could put in there. Needless to say that the heating bill reflected the single pane windows of that era! Our goal was to design a window display that would be efficient, eye appealing, handicap accessible and stand out on Main Street. We took the windows out of the store inside also and kept it wide open – this way I can use it to display items on both sides of the window – creating more square footage! Everyone loves the new look! Love the electric bill also – we cut our heating/cooling bill by two thirds!