Special to the Emmaus Patch By Chrissy Cilento, Emmaus High School Senior
Business: House Splendid, 345 Chestnut St., Emmaus, 610-965-3030
Owner: Lia P. Fraccaro
Hours: Mon closed; Tues.- Fri. 11 a.m.- 5 p.m.; Sat. 11 a.m. -4 p.m.; Sun. by appointment
Service you do/ What you sell? Well, it’s a little bit of everything! It’s part design studio, part retail. I specialize in custom cabinetry, including custom kitchens and baths. I also have a very large selection of decorative hardware, including cabinet hardware, hinges, switch plate covers, door knockers, bath accessories, etc. Then the rest is home accessories and gifts.
Why did you choose to locate your business in Emmaus? Well, 1) I live in Emmaus and 2) I saw it as a really charming, growing location that I felt I wanted myself and my business to be a part of! How long have you been in business? I opened December of 2003 so this December will be 9 years.
What makes your business different from the competition? Well, I’m not only a custom cabinetry designer but I also am an interior designer. It’s that combination that sets me apart from other designers because I have an understanding of both sides of the industry. As far as my store goes, it’s more eclectic than others because it’s part design studio but it’s also geared towards retail, so we have a little bit of everything in here! People can come in and let me do their custom cabinetry, but they can also get hardware if they’re doing their own project or even get a gift for someone.
What inspired you to start your business? When I moved here I bought a stone farm house and did my own kitchen renovation. I had to travel over an hour away to find a store that offered a nice selection of decorative hardware so I figured if I was traveling over an hour so was everyone else! And my love is design, so I always thought that if I opened my own business I’d like to combine the two -- a business for design -- and offer something I felt the Lehigh Valley was missing.
What is the most rewarding part of your business? I get to meet a lot of really wonderful and interesting people! And what I do really impacts my clientele on a daily basis. Being invited into someone’s home and being asked to design one of the most important and highly used spaces in their home, such as their kitchen or bathroom, and knowing that every single day I impact how they function and feel in their home is really wonderful. It’s incredibly rewarding.
What’s the hardest part of your business? The hardest part for me is probably being a store owner as opposed to working for somebody. I have to wear a lot of hats and sometimes those hats are not my favorite ones to have on! So, I guess the hardest part of my business is that, even though the store is my life and passion, I have to oversee everything, which of course takes a lot of work.
Where do you hope to see your business in the future? Just always improving and growing as far as clientele and referrals. I constantly try to change the merchandise in the store so that my regular customers always have something very new and exciting to see, so I’d like to continue in that direction.
What’s the best business advice you’ve ever received? Well my dad, who created his own business as well, would always tell me to do the best I can and make my clients and customers number one -- just let them know how important they are to me.
What’s the worst business advice you’ve ever received? I would say the worst advice was someone talking me into advertising in the phonebook. Nowadays with technology and how computer savvy everybody is, people are finding all their resources and information online. I mean, everyone’s walking around with an iPhone or an iPad! Just save your money and develop a Facebook presence and a good website and, as far as marketing yourself, always look for the developing trends that your clientele will actually use to find you -- because I spent a lot of money advertising in the phone book!
What advice would you give to someone thinking about entering this business and why? I’d say be true to yourself. You’re going to meet a lot of people who are going to tell you what to do or what not to do, but if you have an idea -- as different or as unusual as it may be -- go with your heart, go with your gut. Because it’s those differences that will set you apart and probably end up making you successful. For instance, I think what I created here is unusual -- and it’s obviously working!
Do you have a role model or mentor for what you do? My father was very inspirational in that he came to this country from Greece and didn’t speak English. Watching him create a business and really make something of himself without even knowing how to speak the language was really incredible. His story just always impressed me and inspired me. Plus I figured if he can do that, then anyone can pretty much do anything!
What do you do when you aren't working? Think about work! I love my store and crave it so much that I’m always looking for inspiration. Even if I’m traveling, I’m always just kind of wandering around thinking of something new I could bring or something I could change or something unusual I could introduce to my customers.
Chrissy Cilento, a senior at Emmaus High School, plans to study journalism in college. She is a periodic contributor to Patch.
About this column: An occasional column highlighting the businesses of Emmaus Patch.