The Finishing Touches is closing up physical shop in July, will still offer interior decorating services
A familiar face on Cloverdale Boulevard is closing down shop. The Finishing Touches, owned by Jeannie Griffits, is part design center, part store and, by the end of July, will be moving online.
The Finishing Touches has been in Cloverdale for around 17 years, and on Cloverdale Boulevard for around 10.
The transfer from brick and mortar to online will allow Griffits more freedom with her schedule. While she’ll still offer interior design services, The Finishing Touches will no longer have a store component.
Griffits husband recently got a job that has him living in Concord for over half the week, and balancing two marriages — one to her job and one to her partner — has been tough.
“I have two marriages. When they were both in the same town it was fine. Now they’re hours apart and the reality is that one is more important,” she said.
“I walked in the house one night and went, ‘I’m tired of this,’ and I have choices and he doesn’t. He has supported me all these years, and it’s my turn to reciprocate. So I decided to close the retail part of the store and take all of my Hunter Douglas, my sewing, my custom furniture — I can do all of that out of my house without having a retail location.”
She’ll still work out of their Cloverdale house and be in town part of the time, but as someone who has operated the physical location primarily by herself, she’ll now have more freedom when it comes to when she wants to work.
“When I bought the design center and expanded it, a lot of my retail was home decor,” she said. “Then everything crashed and that’s when I started getting into other things. People would come in and buy a gift for somebody but they wouldn’t buy anything for themselves, and there was a time where we only had myself and Antiques & Uniques in this town — there was no other retail. So I started carrying a lot of different things to make people happy.”
As Cloverdale has continued to grow and spaces in downtown have started to have new businesses popping into them, Griffits said that she no longer feels the retail portion of The Finishing Touches is necessary to town. And, while closing the physical location will rid her of retail, it won’t stop her from continuing on with her primary passion — interior decorating.
“My favorite thing to do is — when somebody has just moved here, and they’ve been in a house for 30 years and they bring all of their merchandise, their clothes, their memories with them, but they’re used to a table being in an entryway for 30 years and they can’t picture it being somewhere else — rearranging all of their stuff in a new location, rehanging their pictures and arranging their knick-knacks and having them go, ‘Oh my gosh, I didn’t realize my stuff could look so nice.’ That is my favorite thing to do,” she said. “Because they’ve given up what they feel is a house with all of these memories and they’re starting new memories, but we still want to bring their memories with us.”
“A lot of designers come in and say, ‘You need to get rid of this’ or ‘You need to get rid of that.’ I don’t believe that. I think your stuff is your stuff and if you like it, we may need to make adjustments, but if it brings you happiness then we need to find a home for it,” she said.
For Griffits, the joy of interior decorating doesn’t come with filling a space with entirely new things, it comes with helping her clients find a fresh perspective on the items that carry memories.
Though changing up a business, especially in this way, poses some risks, Griffits is hoping her customers will see her through the move.
“I’m hoping that I’ve been here long enough and in keeping my same phone number and same email, that people will know just to call me,” she said. “Is there a concern that it’s out of sight, out of mind? Yes. But there’s also the hope that my business is established enough, and I know enough people, that it will continue to grow.”
Regularly seeing her customers, established and loyal, is what Griffits will miss the most. It’s easier to regularly see people when you have a storefront on the boulevard.
“That’s the hardest part — my customers have become friends,” she said. “And I won’t be here for them to just pop in and say hi.”
Griffits’ friends and customers will miss her, as well. While she was talking about how much she enjoys seeing everyone, a customer seeing the red “Store Closing Sale” signs hung up on the outside of the building came into the store in tears. She was driving by, she said, and told her husband to stop the car so she could see why the store was closing.
She calmed down, however, after Griffits assured her that she wasn’t leaving town and she wasn’t giving up decorating — she’s still available for appointments and reachable via her phone (707-894-8665) or by an online appointment (thefinishingtouchesids.com).
For now, she’s working on selling off all of the retail that has her store filled to the brim, and the pieces in her storage unit. As items in the store sell, she’s going into the unit and restocking the shelves.
Griffits anticipates that the store’s official closing day will be July 27.