Those who read my blog with any regularity might have noticed that until just recently, I’ve never really had any advertising on my site. Not for lack of interest—it’s just that I don’t feel comfortable with sponsors that aren’t firmly ensconced in DC’s design community.
That’s where Urban Country comes in. A fixture in home furnishings for the DC area in general and Bethesda Row in particular, I was beyond thrilled to be the media partner for its Lee Loves Local sales event. Having written about Urban Country in the past, and visited the Lee Industries showroom in Hight Point, NC, many times, this was a perfect fit. And the bonus for this current event, which runs through Sunday, Feb. 16, is that it celebrates independent retailers.
“It’s part of a larger push for the economy, and how important it is for people to shop local,” owner Rachelle Roth told me during the store’s open house today. This is the first year Lee Industries, a powerhouse in eco-friendly, comfortable upholstered furnishings (I have one of their chairs in our bedroom), has created an event like this for its local retailers. “We’re fighting all the time with Internet shopping,” Rachelle says. “Hopefully, the Internet won’t put us out of business.”
With six interior designers on staff who can guide your choices, that seems unlikely. Plus, Urban Country always discounts the manufacturer’s suggested retail price by 20 percent, and this week, with Lee Loves Local, they’re taking an extra 10 percent off, resulting in a 30 percent discount from MSRP.
Valentine’s Day is the anchor for Lee Loves Local, and visitors to today’s open house got goodie bags and heart cookies—not to mention heart-shaped plates for other nibbles.
Lee is such a strong brand at Urban Country, that among the 400 manufacturers they represent, it accounts for a solid 40 percent of its sales volume. That really says something.
“They’re the best out there. They’re the best value for what they do,” Rachelle says. The family-owned company started with a father, two sons, a daughter, and a mom who handled the fabrics. “It’s a local, home-grown business, and they really get it.”
“We don’t even have to put it on sale. It sells itself,” Rachelle adds. “They’re on target. They know what they’re doing, and the customers respond to it.” She noted that there’s usually eight sofas on the floor at any given time, which are switched out regularly, but two frames by Lee Industries have remained the same for years—workhorses that sell again and again.
Rachelle reported the Lee Loves local event to a Bethesda business consortium on Monday, and hopes to create a “Bethesda Row Loves Local” event in the future. “I’m going to spearhead this push to raise awareness,” she says. “It’s important for people to shop local, and recognize that these businesses feed the economy—they’re different from the big-box stores.”
Stop in to Urban Country this week and see just how different it is.