While Sharon Vail was helping to pour coffee at her niece’s Forest Park restaurant, Harrison Street Cafe, she always imagined she would rather be in business for herself. One September day, while chatting with one of her regulars, that opportunity presented itself.
With a flurry of activity, Vail and Marie Beckmann opened A Little Bit of Everything on Madison, and their store’s inventory fits the billing. Refinished furniture, knick knacks, fashion accessories and several categories in between have filled the space since Nov. 1.
“I have the business sense, Marie has the talent,” Vail said of the tandem.
For the last 15 years, Beckmann and her husband have run a decorating business out of their Forest Park home. Meanwhile, Vail has worked for and managed retail stores most of her career. The two women have known one another for several years, but only recently started talking about the possibility of opening a business.
Vail is the owner of A Little Bit of Everything while Beckmann is the store’s lone employee.
“We’re trying to go green,” Vail said of the business model. “Our theory here is to keep it out of the landfills.”
Many of the store’s items were culled from friends and family, but Vail is already scouring estate auctions and other outlets for new pieces. Beckmann pointed to an old cabinet that once housed a record player, a small stool and a lamp as items she has refinished.
The lamp was marked at $20; a nearby kitchen table was selling for $75.
Both women said it’s easy-and commonplace-to decorate a home in a variety of styles. And with fiscal belts being tightened around the country, decorating for less will be preferred, they said. They’re also willing to sell items on layaway.
“The days of the American public over-extending every credit card, I think, are gone,” Beckmann said.
A Little Bit of Everything is located at 7314 Madison, formerly occupied by the Brown Cow Ice Cream Parlor.