Making the Dollar

Making the Dollar: fairweather house & gallery
Published: March 26, 2009

During Denise Fairweather’s 25 years of interior design experience she presented design seminars and workshops as creative director for Drexel Heritage Paul Schartz Furniture, worked in high fashion in partnership with Ralph Lauren as a regional specialist and is accredited as an allied member with the American Society of Interior Designers.

Add to these and many more accomplishments her sought-after destination shop in the heart of Seaside’s Gilbert District. The store is open from10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m Friday and Saturday. Visit the Web site at:
( www.fairweatherhouseandgarden.com )

What do you offer here?

“This is a premier source for stylish, chic, one-of-a-kind livable furnishings. I offer hand-crafted furniture, sculpture, textiles, glass and art from local artists and West Coast vendors. I have few imports. I acquire earth-friendly, high quality accessories, extraordinary lighting and fashionable home furnishings lines. I am constantly editing the contents but there is not a set recipe here. I don’t replace what is sold so I keep the store new and different. I am very one-on-one with customers. While I am constantly working on the store, I come down from the ladder to be with the customer.”

How did you get into this?

“I moved down here to create a design boutique. I had the opportunity to move to the community of my choice, and that was Gearhart. My store in Gearhart, where I live, was destroyed in the gale of December 2007. I went in I found eight inches of water and started moving merchandise when the roof came down on me. I went to the hospital and had 21 staples put in my head, and 17 stitches in my arm, and was back in the store four hours later. There I found the entire town of Gearhart had turned out to help pack up and save what they could. Six days later the insurance company totaled everything, so I held a “foul weather” sale, and donated all the proceeds back. Those same people helped me restart here in Seaside and I re-opened just 90 days later.”

What is your volume of business?

“I think every day is good. I have goose-egg days, but I just don’t keep track. This store is six times larger than the one in Gearhart. When I started I was told to put something aside to fall back on, so I set aside six months expenses, and I haven’t had to dip into that.”

What is your strategy for coping with the recession?

“I know how to be pretty resilient. When the recession came I went to Marketing Through the Hard Times, a marketing 101 seminar by Rick Gardner, director of the Clatsop Economic Development Resources. I learned that the ones succeeding are giving escape, like theaters, and that it is important to give personal attention, to engage people. (correction: The seminar was presented by R. Sherk, sponsored by Clatsop Economic Development Resources (CDER)) I also started the Gilbert District. (Correction: Denise is a part of the Gilbert District.) Twenty-one of us get together every two weeks to discuss what is working and what we are going to do to generate off-season commerce. We have 100 percent participation to produce a brochure and we are looking for grant money. We want to make the Gilbert District a year-round destination.”