You may already have noticed the string of home furnishing stores on Excelsior Boulevard. If you’re driving west, there’s Traditions, then Habitation Design, Navab Brother Oriental Rug Co., CIEL Loft and Home and finally Woody’s Furniture Store in the Miracle Mile Shopping Center. Soon, there will be an official nickname for the area and the stores that call it home: the Design District on Excelsior Boulevard.
The newly branded district is the brainchild of Andy Higgins, who owns CIEL Loft and Home. It’s a collaboration between his store and the others that share the street. Their vision is to make the area a destination for interior design. “Our hope is to be the boutique alternatives to the big-box stores, or even the higher-brow showrooms,” Higgins explains.
Leading up to the official launch in December, storeowners were busy throughout the fall with everything from graphic design to event planning, all to raise awareness of their brand. They emphasize the collaborative, not competitive, nature of the Design District and agree that their proximity to one another enhances their unique offerings.
“We all have a little bit different look, which is great. We play off each other instead of competing with one another,” says Mary McElroy of Traditions.
“Rather than going into a giant mega-store that has such similar products, people can come to this part of town and get a wonderful collection of styles that really run the gamut, and they can support small business in the process,” says Gregory Rich of Habitation Design. “And we get the chance for everybody not to be spinning in their own little silos but to interact and engage for everyone’s benefit.”