New Licata-owned store opens on Monroe St.Written by Lauren Farnsworth | | email@example.com
Despite the dismal economy, two Toledo business owners are starting a third business.
Nicola and Tony Licata are the owners of two Sunoco stations located at 4828 Monroe St. and 4001 Holland Sylvania Road. After 38 years in the gas business, the Licatas have decided to try something new.
On April 19, they opened Nicola’s Art & Accents, a 1,200-square-foot home and garden décor store.
“We thought we’d try to do something completely different from the gas business,” Nicola said.
The new store is located at 4820 Monroe St., next to the Sunoco stations. As gas sales declined, the Licatas started thinking about how they could use the empty space at their Monroe location to expand. This thought process combined with the task of decorating a new home is how the store came about.
“Having moved to a new home about a year and a half ago we were looking for different art work, different décor pieces and we were having a hard time finding it. It all kind of came from there,; it was recognizing there was a niche that we could fill and following it through,” Nicola said.
Inventory will include indoor and outdoor pieces including artwork, rugs, throws, pillows and root candles, which burn cleaner and longer than regular candles, according to Tony.
A patio will showcase tables, benches, planters, garden stakes and weather-safe wall decorations.
“That was very key to us, in finding vendors that don’t generally sell to business around here and working with people from across the country and getting goods in here that will be completely unique to the area,” Nicola said.
“We wanted people that appreciated nice art, to have a great selection at a reasonable price,” Tony said.
In addition to carrying unique pieces, the store will have items that coordinate with one another. Nicola said they will have matching rugs, pillows and throws to help ease the coordination processes.
Another way Nicola hopes to aid customers is through the use of a database. She plans on keeping records of each customer and their purchases. When a customer returns, “we then have a sense of their style and we can help them choose other complementary items,” she said.
If a customer can’t find what they’re looking for in the store, Nicola said she will personally work with the customer to locate items specific to the customer’s needs.
“With us being independently owned, we can go above and beyond.… We have the opportunity to work with the customers, more than just an average retail store,” Nicola said.
She said she believes the community will support the new store based on positive feedback she’s received.
“They’re genuinely excited and feel the same way that we do — this is lacking in the marketplace and it’s not mass-produced items. You’re not going to find it in three of your neighbor’s houses.”
Nicola and Tony are optimistic about the future. The Licatas don’t think the state of the economy will affect the store’s success.
“With businesses closing in this economy it’s because they lived through the times when people were ready to spend money,” Nicola said. “Now they’ve become so large that they’re having to scale back and they weren’t ready for it. We’re starting off right where we need to be and we’re ready for when the economy turns around to grow with it.”
“I think that starting in this economy is going to make us work leaner and smarter,” she said. “We’re obviously going to have various price points that are accommodating to everybody. We want nobody to feel like if they come in here they can’t shop.”