Not all ideas bubbling from a couple of mimosas during a Sunday brunch manifest themselves into successful, eclectic brick and mortal businesses, but for these two ladies, they did. Co-Owners Ariane Krenichyn from Herkimer, NY and Amanda DeFisher, a native of the Sodus area, met through mutual friends when they lived in the same apartment building downtown setting forth a serendipitous chain of events that lead to the opening of Abode, the two-year-old home decor destination in the South Wedge.
“Amanda and I used to spend our weekends going to thrift stores, flea markets and all sorts of good places, and people were always coming to our apartments and asking, ‘Where did you get this?’ We were having a bunch of mimosas and we were like, we should totally have a store!” says Ariane recalling the moment of conception.
After that, things started falling into place. “We thought it sounded like fun and you know we kept doing pieces of it. We would start by seeing if we could actually find some stuff or if we could find a space or could we actually put together a business plan. And we kept saying you know we can stop anytime we want, we can keep doing this until we run into a big problem and you know nothing lost, we can walk away. Nine months later we were opening!”
Indeed after putting together a business plan, finding their perfect location at 289 Gregory Street after Ariane happened upon the empty space post lunch one day, and letting friends decide on their name, Abode’s humble beginnings were as unique as what you’ll find inside. The heart of which, still carries through in their mid-century Danish modern style pieces, as well as the local art you’ll find throughout the 1,000 square foot store.
“That was in the original business plan and something we’ve stuck to, just really love that we’ve gotten to know some really cool people and really cool art. We have traditional artists that do paintings and then we have one woman who does plants and terrariums, another that does macramé wall weaving another that does embroidery. We try to do all sorts of art mediums but at the same time we try not to overlap so much, there are fifteen to twenty artists in the store right now, says Krenichyn.
Affordability was also high on their priority list when creating Abode and their philosophy lends itself to what they call the “Target budget.” Ariane explains, “Sometimes if you find a piece that is a little beat up or has some age to it you would get a real nice solid piece of furniture for the same price you’d get the [cheaper] board stuff for at Target.” She does admit while she doesn’t want to knock Target too hard as she has some of their stuff at home, too, but emphasizes that Abode’s pieces are a little more environmentally friendly, are more affordable, and built to last.
Recently, co-founder Amanda DeFisher took her leave of Abode to pursue other interests and Ariane’s Mom, Susan stepped in. They also have one other employee Maggie Stockman, who just happened to show up asking if they were hiring and turned out to be exactly who they needed to help keep Abode running smooth, especially while Ariane works full time as a Focus Group Moderator conducting qualitative marketing research.
Aside from mid-century furniture, according to their website, you can find “home decor, gifts and other goodness” that they’ve picked up through estate sales and additional avenues. “We also do a ton of small housewares that have gotten quirkier and quirkier over time. So we do 70’s pieces in terms of decor, brass animals, and any type of wall weaving does really well especially the vintage ones. We do a little bit with plants now and things like that. So it gets weirder and weirder but I sort of love that. Since we opened we’ve also found an unexpected niche. Printed glassware. Vintage glassware is my favorite thing. So we started carrying a lot of glassware and to that we started adding a lot of vintage barware and now we are to the point where we have new barware in stock because we sell so much drinks and cocktailware!” She laughs at the unexpected twists that the universe has thrown their way.
Ariane absolutely loves being in the South Wedge and is super appreciative of the support they’ve received since they’ve moved in. “I think that the size of Rochester and the passion of the people is really beneficial. “I’m not competitive or an aggressive person and I did it in the right place.”
Next time you’re in the Wedge, make sure to stop in and say hello to Ariane, Susan, Maggie, and the store dogs, Lucy and Truman. Feel free to move furniture around, find a piece that speaks to you, and attend an event. With cocktails. Because who doesn’t love shopping with cocktails?