Whether searching for the perfect accent piece to brighten up a dull room or a gift handcrafted by an area artist, those who search Slocum’s Gifts Décor and More at 111 Main St. in Buchanan, will find something to help them make a statement.
This has been business owner Penny Slocum-Correa’s mission since her passion for interior decorating began at an early age.
Growing up in Buchanan, Correa sometimes woke in the middle of the night and crept to the living to re-arrange her parents’ furniture. Her goal was always to create a room that would reflect a more artful design.
“I had a love for furniture at the very core,” Correa says. “Not only for me but for other people.”
As an interior decorator and business owner, Slocum-Correa now gets paid for that kind of savvy and she no longer has to move furniture under the guise of night.
Such passion and a true eye for what makes a room feel like home can be seen on the shelves of her business.
Customers can find any interior design pieces that change with the seasons. For the fall, there are autumn inspired candles, pillows and bright wreath arrangements. During the Christmas season, customers will find a variety of ornaments and decorations.
The store also offers clothing, purses, jams, sauces, wine and craft beer.
In an effort to offer customers unique items that could not be found anywhere else, Correa partnered with area artists to offer a number of their original pieces, including handcrafted jewelry and ceramics, to name a few.
For men, Correa said a popular item is often the quirky signs.
“There’s a little bit of everything that people might want,” Correa said.
Correa first opened Slocum’s in Buchanan in 2010, offering a number of home décor items that she hand selected.
“I was turning 50 and this was something I had always wanted to do,” Correa said.
For six years, the store survived the challenges brought on by the recession — a time when many other businesses were forced to close their doors. In downtown Buchanan, more than 30 percent of businesses were vacant, according to the Buchanan Chamber of Commerce. But Correa kept the store successfully operating, until a personal hardship forced her to close.
In August, Correa earned the opportunity to do something that less than 1 percent of Berrien County business owners will ever get to do: re-open.
On a Saturday afternoon, surrounded by friends, family and loyal customers, Correa triumphantly snipped through a red ribbon during a grand re-opening ceremony.
While some may have the perception that interior decorating is costly, the price tags on Correa’s merchandise are proof this is not always true.
The store ranges in price from $5 to $100.
For the less design savvy, Correa advised using design magazines to help, or she advised to turn to the pros, such as herself, for some tips.
Fitting together a room or finding the perfect statement piece to create a focal point in a room is something Correa has long had knack for.
“To me, it’s not work,” Correa said. “It’s fun.”
Since re-opening her doors, Correa said it feels good to once again be operating her business and customers seem to have reciprocated the feeling.
While Correa could have taken her business endeavors anywhere, she said she could not leave the place that felt like home.
“I want Buchanan to grow,” Correa says. “We have a promising community here. There’s no reason for us not to grow.”
Photography by Timothy Ritter