New store boasts unique decor
Sylvia Miller is aiming to debut a new store in Sanford next month and, when she does, she said she believes she will fill a much-needed gap in the local retail market.
Miller loves antique furniture, especially furniture and decor from the 1950s, '60s and '70s, and she really got into it about 10 years ago, making her own lamp shades. She will be selling furniture that she and others have made out of Oh My Goodness, her new store at the house next to Mrs. Lacy's Magnolia House on Carthage Street.
"What that area is about — Sanford, Lillington, Dunn, Southern Pines — it needs a furniture store like mine," Miller said. "Everything is one of a kind and everything is handmade. ... Each piece has its own history and uniqueness. And that era, to me, had real furniture. It was solid; it had style."
Faye Schultz, who owns Mrs. Lacy's as well as the building next door that will house Miller's store, agreed about the need for such a store. Schultz said she met Miller at the Raleigh flea market while trying to buy some furniture. She would have loved to stay in Sanford to do her shopping, Schultz said, but went to look in Wake County because there was simply nothing local that sufficed.
"You have to drive somewhere else to buy things for your home. ... The women in Sanford are looking for whatever they can grab," Schultz said, adding that she thinks out-of-towners will also be shopping there.
"The people she's going to have in the shop are from Raleigh, Cary, all those areas," Schultz said. "All of my out-of-town customers, they want to eat and shop. They've been begging for it."
Miller said she has the exact same hope. Especially with the U.S. Open men's and women's golf tournaments being held this summer in Pinehurst, she said she would like to see quite a bit of out-of-town traffic. And she'll be doing her best to detour as many travelers into downtown as possible.
"What I'm hoping to do is use Sanford as a base and think globally," said Miller, who worked for the federal government in Washington, D.C., for years before retiring and moving to Greensboro, turning her furniture hobby into a business. "I always think globally. So we'll have our N.C. store but do aggressive marketing, especially with the U.S. Open coming up."
But Miller isn't planning to just focus on furniture. She's passionate about interior design and wants to offer classes on how to tie a room together around a specific piece of furniture, how to pick and match color schemes and even how to make jewelry. New homeowners need big items and lots of help, she said, while experienced homeowners need small items and specialty advice; but everyone needs something.
She's even setting the business up with each room styled differently, so people can get an idea of how items would look in reality instead of just sitting on a showroom floor. There will be a foyer, kitchen and even bedrooms specific to men, women and children.
Schultz said she's glad a new business is moving into Sanford and hopes that Oh My Goodness lasts. While there's no official partnership between her and Miller besides that of landlord and tenant, she said, the whole downtown business community works to help each other.
"I'm one of those people that wants Sanford to survive," Schultz said. "I want Sanford to grow and for people to plan it as a destination. ... Really, anything that would generate any business for Sanford would be fabulous. Because we need all the help we can get, we really do."
Miller said the store is ready to open, except she hasn't been able to paint the exterior because it has been so cold recently. But a warm spell in the next couple of weeks would allow her to paint and open up, ideally, before Valentine's Day. Parking will be available on Carthage Street, behind the house, or in the lot for Mrs. Lacy's across the street. She'll be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.