Step into Cobblestone Rose at 101 S. Ann Arbor Street and you will find it decked out in Christmas trees, garlands, bows, silk flowers, ornaments and figurines. Each October the home decor and gift store closes for a week to decorate the store for the holiday season. Another such transformation occurs after the holidays to highlight spring and summer merchandise.
The store will be celebrating its 20th anniversary in February 2013. Originally marketing only dried floral arrangements, the store now offers gifts, clothing, and home decorating items.
Owner Karen Hodgson chose to locate her store in Saline because a former business partner lived here and it was close to the Detroit area customer base.
The first store was just 600 square feet, occupying a portion of the current location. Hodgson moved the store to the other end of the Wallace Block, the site now occupied by Maurine’s Design’s, in 1996, then reopened to the present site in 2004. For a few years it was in both places, hence the store’s other name “Four Doors Down.”
This business is as much about buying as selling. Hodgson attends shows in Chicago and Atlanta to find new products for her store. She needs to guess what her customers will like and try to stay a little ahead of the curve.
“Every year it’s always something different and it’s encouraging to see the young people finding a venue for their talents again,” Hodgson said regarding the shows.
She is also on the lookout for local artists and artisans whose work is consistent with her aesthetic vision. She buys jewelry from five local artists, wall art from Whitmore Lake photographer Terry Lawrence, and whimsical hand-painted pillows and furniture from an artist in Plymouth. She also sells her own floral arrangements.
Product lines in the store include Henredon and Sherrill furniture, and rugs from Company C, Home Décor and Dash and Albert. Other popular brands are Bella Notte bedding and Casafina dishware.
The store carries items from all parts of the world, but Hodgson prefers purchasing from domestic sources.
“I’m trying at this point to stay as made-in-the-USA as I can,” Hodgson said.
The store’s personal care products and about half of the clothing is made in the U.S. All of the bedding and most purses are also made in America.
A significant part of the store’s business is not readily apparent to the casual shopper. Besides off-the-shelf items, Cobblestone Rose does special orders, especially for home redecorating.
Moreover, Hodgson will often make home consulting visits to customers wanting to redecorate. Hodgson and other store workers also adorn customer’s homes with holiday trimmings.
“I hope people consider us a very personal customer-service oriented business. That’s what we aim for,” Hodgson said.
The store certainly has an eclectic array of products, but floral designs are the centerpiece.
“Whatever you chose to do, you need to have something that’s yours, that isn’t found just everywhere, and so for me that’s been floral design,” Hodgson said.