Store will leave Graceland after 40 years
Graceland's loss is Northland's gain.
Seasonal Concepts, a business that under different names and a variety of owners has been at the Clintonville shopping center for 40 years, will move to a former Buddy's Carpet store on Morse Road, just east of Interstate 71.
"We knew we didn't want to go far," Shawn M. Huntzinger, a member of the family that has owned Seasonal Concepts for the past three years, said last week.
"We've just moved a little ways down the road," added Becky Pennington, who has been with the store for 23 years and now serves as operations manager and buyer.
The store actually is in the process of moving and will remain open at 222 Graceland Blvd. for pre-move sales.
Seasonal Concepts offers what Pennington described as "high-end patio furniture" for about half the year and Christmas items for the rest. The first pre-season sale of holiday items usually begins in mid-October and lasts through after-Christmas sales, Pennington said.
"In February, we're already setting up patio furniture for spring," she said.
The relocation is the result of increased rent at Graceland Shopping Center, coupled with a troubled economy.
"They increased (rent) quite a bit," Pennington said. "It was just more than we could do. We definitely thought we might have to close if we couldn't find a location that was suitable."
The question was, "Where?"
"I live in Salem Village and we've lived in the Northland area," Huntzinger said. "My grandparents have lived there all their lives, behind Carfagna's. We're familiar with the area."
"The good news is we are not moving far and we are proud to be moving to 980 Morse Road, where we will play a part in revitalizing the Northland area," Pennington wrote in announcing the new location will open Sept. 1.
"They've done a lot of work between Northland Mall and the freeway," Huntzinger said.
Still, he expressed fears that some existing customers might not follow Seasonal Concepts to the new location.
"It's not far, but some people have in their mind certain perceptions of parts of Morse Road," Huntzinger said.
Pennington, who started with what was then Flower City as a part-time floral designer, said the new store is next door to the Tile Shop. She and the owners spoke with the managers there when considering the location.
"They had nothing but great things to say about this area," Pennington said. "We were encouraged when they said that.
"Ever since Menards came in, I think people are more comfortable with the area."
Leaving behind a place that's been home for four decades wasn't an easy decision, but one the owners had to make last February in order to provide the notice required by the lease, Pennington said.
"We have no hard feelings toward (Graceland developer) Casto whatsoever," Pennington said. "They came in and revitalized the center, and that costs money."
At 7,500 square feet, the new store will be considerably smaller than the current 12,000-square-foot store. However, Pennington said office space and storage at 980 Morse Road will be minimized in order to have as much space devoted to retail as possible.
"Even though the square footage is smaller, when the customer comes in, I think they're going to be very happy with what they see," Pennington said.
"We plan on keeping everything the same as it's been for 40 years."