Lori Wetzel became the new owner of Porch, 3065 N. Perryville Road, on Jan. 10. She was working hard when her business shut down during the COVID-19 crisis.
“The business was in my name for only eight weeks before I had to shut down,” she says. “At first, I thought I could use the time off to regroup and get ready, if it was for only two weeks.”
When she realized sheltering in place was a bigger commitment than two weeks, she decided to re-invent her shop by ordering flowers and garden décor to become a garden center. Garden centers were considered “essential” and allowed to remain open. The city decided her business was still a gift shop, however.
She next introduced curbside pickup service and will continue that service for those who want it.
While the building was closed, she repainted the whole store, took down all items and shelving, cleaned the store, freshened up displays and rearranged everything to give it a new look.
The store specializes in unique gifts, clothing, shoes, accessories, jewelry, yard and garden art, home décor, kitchen items, baby gifts, wedding gifts, soaps and candles, with many items locally produced. Gift wrapping is offered free.
“Customers typically come into the store looking for a gift for someone, but they almost always end up buying something for themselves, too,” she says.
Mother’s Day was particularly busy with a full staff putting together flower arrangements and planters as fast as they could produce them, she says. The next-busiest sales season will be Christmas and she’s already purchased traditional, fun, and glitzy items to display and sell at that time.
“I’m really excited about it.”
Porch is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday. ❚