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Decor Exchange invites area residents to 'Bring Your House to Ours'

Staff Report • Apr 1, 2013 at 2:50 AM

"Bring Your House to Ours" has been the motto of Decor Exchange Nearly New Consignment Home Furnishings store owner, Lesa Brooks, since she started the business using yard sale and thrift store finds in August of 2004. Since then, the business has expanded three times from its original 1,500 square foot location on Center Street in downtown Kingsport.

Last fall, when Tuesday Morning moved from its location next to the Eastman Road post office, it seemed the ideal spot for offering Brooks' customers a larger, more accessible space for displaying and purchasing merchandise.

The 11,500 square foot upgrade opened in January and currently sells items for nearly 3,000 consignors. More space means more "treasures" up for grabs. Other than the new address, not much has changed. The quality of merchandise, service and hospitality of the staff supplies a relaxed and "homey" atmosphere for anyone looking to find "all the quality merchandise in one location."

The products sold come from local individuals but, then again, so does Brooks. She grew up in Downtown Kingsport and recalled "My grandfather had an antique store on Center Street when I was a kid..."

"It's in my blood," she said.

Brooks attended Dobyns-Bennett High School and East Tennessee State University.

"I didn't know what I wanted to do when I grew up until I was 37, when I opened the shop."

Her background in sales and her thrift addiction made for a perfect match in her resolute decision to open her own business.

"I've been in sales my whole life and have sold almost everything," Brooks explained. "I was trying to think of something I would like to do on my own... [and] I always like yard sales, thrift stores and flea markets."

The goal was simple: to bring quality furniture and decor of every form and fashion for sale together under one roof, uniting both buyer and seller. The then-single mother of daughter, Lauren, had her work cut out for her. However, since the doors of Decor Exchange opened downtown nine years ago, it is safe to say Brooks has been met with success. She won the KOSBE Business Start Up contest, sponsored by the Kingsport Times-News, within months of opening.

Since early on, 99 percent of Decor Exchange's merchandise has consistently been consigned. From furniture to collectibles, "you come here to find one-of-a-kind items," Brooks proclaimed. Those who are selling don't have to place ads or meet with strangers, and those buying can "get a good price on good quality."

Between planning a wedding, a college-aged daughter, a new puppy and the newly-expanded business, Brooks says "I stay very busy." But she's never too busy for her customers, who she sees as extended family. When asked what drives her, she said smiling, "It's the compliments. It's the people I meet and the friendships I'm making that drive me the most."

Decor Exchange is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday. For more information, visit their Facebook page or call 423-246-4663.

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