In recent years, the lifespan of several businesses on King Street have been unfortunately short.
The tragic condition's symptoms can be seen as: A new hot spot opens, enjoys six months to a year of the 'buzz' of steady business, then slowly begins to fade into that dark, dismal place in everyone's minds. You know, where you sporadically think 'Hey, I really like that place! I should swing by there again,' and you never do. It's cold, lonely, and forgotten. Next thing you know, someone's seeing a bright light at the end of a tunnel and there is a 'Closed' sign eternally hanging on the door, until the next bright eyed and ambitious starling comes in and takes over the place.
However this piece isn't a downer. There are many survivors that learn the secret that allows them survival through the turbulent and ever changing tides of King Street.
Leigh McAlpin, owner of Dwelling at 474 King Street, thinks that magical quality is exceptional customer service. And seeing how she and husband Tim McAlpin have been able to "Ride the tide" since Winter 2002, its pretty hard to disagree with her.
Located at 474 King Street, Dwelling is a bright furniture retail showroom and interior design company. Their specialty is custom furniture and decorative accessories, and also provide an array of interior design services. Bright comfy couches welcome you, and flawlessly finished wood pieces beg for you to touch them. Their products — and their services — provide a well-balanced harmony between understated glamour and sustainability.
"Quality, style, sense of fashion and comfort. Things don't need to look good if you're never going to sit on them," explains Leigh. And I couldn't of put it more perfectly.
The variety of styles and quality of the pieces available in Dwelling is very well rounded. It stands out as a refreshing reminder that there are still folks striving to make individual statements and designs in a world full of cookie cutter furniture. One minute I was comfortably immersed in a gorgeous, and eco-friendly white couch, the next Leigh was entertaining my fancy of serving delightful drinks to friends behind the glossy perfection of a serpentine shaped chest of drawers of the darkest mahogany.
Leigh thinks that the key to their success has been "Our service. Our relationships. We have a really strong client loyalty where people come in and work with us on their home, then three years later when they are in a new location, or buying a second home, they come back to us."
And one undeniable characteristic of a business 'doing it right' is the word-of-mouth factor, and there is no doubt that Dwelling has got it. "We are also very lucky where we have worked with one client, then their neighbor, family or friend will come to us. The word-of-mouth has been great," says Leigh. And with minimal amounts spent on marketing and advertising over the years, I'd say that it's working well for them.
When I asked Leigh about future plans for Dwelling, surprisingly, world domination was not her goal. "We are conservatively optimistic. In the past we've had some lofty goals, and we've attained some lofty goals as well, but we never want to be so big that we can't have the customer contact. That is why we do this. I want to be able to get out there and design and meet people. It's a very hands on business, and we remember you."