people to watch |  Kelly Richardson, The Farm Store

people to watch | Kelly Richardson, The Farm Store

Kelly Richardson is a relative newcomer to home furnishings, but he has quickly made his presence known in the industry and in Westfield, NJ, where his retail store, The Farmhouse Store is located.

Richardson, managing partner at Bracewood Capital, bought the store in August 2021 initially as an investment opportunity, but soon found himself involved in the home furnishings business and local retail.

HAT People to Watch logo_WebThe previous owners ran the store for 14 years. They were well liked in the community and the shop was a beacon in the area, known for its excellent customer service, among other things. Kelly plans to build on these strengths while expanding and diversifying her client base and potentially opening a second location.

“When I took over, our client base was fairly homogeneous,” Richardson recently told its sister paper. Today’s Furniture. “But we are seeing a broader shift in the county and more ethnic diversity coming into the city. We are slowly adding to the styles available in the store in diverse colors and patterns with the goal of creating a fun place to shop for everyone.”

He also said he wants all people of color to feel that The Farmhouse Store is a welcoming place for them to shop, and his team is incorporating new styles into the collection, along with inclusive messaging and communication. The financing program also makes more of the store’s assortment accessible to more people.

Richardson recently partnered with the Barsky Art Gallery, a New Jersey contemporary fine art gallery featuring local and international artists, for curated, recurring art exhibitions in the new art space at The Farmhouse Store. Richardson wants to impress people with original artwork. Once you get their attention, it draws them further into the store and Richardson and his staff are able to talk to them about their homes and get them involved in the world of interior design.

Richardson, an all-new father, is also “moving mountains” to create a nearby pop-up store just in time for the holidays as part of his expansion strategy.

On his one-year anniversary as a store owner, Richardson said he was “out of place as a rookie” amid the supply chain crisis and subsequent surcharges, linked to the uncertain economy. “Sailing has been tough. The market has changed. However, I was really excited about partnering with Barsky. It will be an important part of diversifying our customer lineup and base.”

“I have to see this wonderful store during a tough time, and when we do, we will be stronger.”

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