From handmade clothing racks to a secret door hidden among bookshelves to huge paper flowers cascading down a wall, some Downtown Waco shop owners go to great lengths to create unique spaces. And they say the return on investment is totally worth it.
Theresa and Bret Emry, owners of Linen and Cake, a home décor boutique opening soon at 710 Austin Avenue, have been capturing in their Instagram stories all the extra work that goes into creating a special space. Their attention to detail shows in the handmade flowers climbing the entry way, the waterfall of hanging baskets and even the handmade awning that tops an inside door.
“I just want people to feel creative when they buy things from us,” Theresa Emry said. “I want them to feel inspired when they come in here and feel like they want to come back.”
Bret Emry’s background as a design engineer has allowed the couple to do much of the space renovation themselves.
“We could’ve left the dropped ceiling, the cement floor, the fluorescent lights – but that’s not us,” Brett Emry said.
Kate Duncan, owner of Wildland Supply Co. at 721 Washington Ave., can relate to that sentiment. She could have used store-bought display fixtures in her gallery-like clothing and lifestyle shop, but that wouldn’t have represented her brand. So she handmade her copper pipe racks and even the magnetic letters that bring her sidewalk sandwich board to life.
“Consistency is key,” Duncan said. “I’m building a brand and everything here has to be true to that brand.”
Duncan said even though going to extra lengths often means more expense, more labor and more time, it’s “1000% worth the effort.”
“I’d rather take the time to make something I’m proud of than half-ass it and be underwhelmed,” she said.
Next door to Wildland Supply Co. is Gather, another shop that works hard at evoking a certain feeling and experience for customers.
“I want everything to feel very home-y and what better way to feel home-y than having bookshelves,” said Gather owner Sarah Martin. Unfortunately, the door to the back half of the store was smack in the middle of where the bookshelves would go. So Martin had a secret door built in to the bookshelves. It’s an element that not every customer will even know is there but when you do see it, it goes a long way in contributing to the warm library/study feel of that part of the shop.
Martin said even the little things, like the vinyl detailing on her front windows, contribute to making a space special.
“Whether you notice it or not, you feel it,” Martin said.
The Emrys have been working around the clock to nail down the shop’s look for its soft opening and then Grand Opening on Aug. 10. But, Bret Emry said, his favorite element in the shop is that it’s always going to be changing.
Next time you’re on Austin Avenue, pop your head into Linen and Cake and welcome them to the neighborhood!
Tips for creating a memorable space
from Sarah Martin
- “I think lighting is huge because you make the eye go where you want it to,” Martin said.
- Pick one scent and stick with it, whether you achieve that scent through fresh flowers or a candle. There’s a nostalgia that forms around smell, Martin said, and makes you want to return to a pleasant smell.
- Rugs, throws, throw pillows and upholstery are easy ways to add mood to a room and easy to change to keep the atmosphere fresh.
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