A personal businessPublished 5:58pm Sunday, April 24, 2011
For Diana Hatch, her business, Isabelle’s Timeless Gifts is personal, right down to the very name.
Isabelle was the name of her husband’s grandmother, she said and the idea of timeless gifts came from her sister, who she added was a big supporter of her venture into a business of her own.
For Hatch, the business isn’t just a business. It’s personal.
Around the time Isabelle’s was getting started a few years ago, Hatch said her mother and her sister were diagnosed with cancer. She lost both to the disease in just 24 months.
“We’ve been through a lot with the store,” she said.
Now, she’s beginning a new chapter. Hatch is moving Isabelle’s into a new space, in her hometown.
For retailers, location is one of the most important business decisions to be made and Hatch got Isabelle’s started in what was to be an up and coming outdoor shopping space, at Toscana Park in Granger.
“We looked everywhere,” Hatch said, for the right location and they settled on Toscana Park, which had just emerged. But as business started, the economy plummeted and the location wasn’t as promising as Hatch hoped it would be.
“After being there for the first year, at Toscana Park, it was really obvious to me that what they were trying to create was a downtown atmosphere,” Hatch said.
Having negotiated an out clause in their lease, Hatch said she and her husband were lucky. With foot traffic low, she was free to look for a better space.
Enter old classmate, friend and Niles business owner Scott Roberts. He’d been calling her for at least a year, she said, encouraging her to take another look at downtown Niles.
A Niles native, Hatch got her start in retail working in the gift shop inside Rivrerfront Cafe, when it was there under previous ownership.
A stay-at-home-mom for 20 years, she said she loved working in that shop and it spurred her desire to start her own business.
By February, she was inside her new space, at 222 Main Street. She’s been hard at work ever since prepping the interior and hoping to reopen Isabelle’s Timeless Gifts in Niles by mid May.
And in keeping with the personal, she’s bringing in a few close friends as partners, including Tina Newman and Julie Udell.
“I really feel like this store is going to bring something to downtown that downtown has never had,” Hatch said. “I’m just really excited to be involved.”
Inside the soon-to-be store, is a glimpse into Hatch’s style. The former home of a children’s clothing consignment shop, Hatch pulled down plaster to reveal exposed brick walls and she’s accenting them with sage green and delicate light fixtures.
Her store, she said, is also a mix of the old and the new. She’s a big fan of the Niles Antique Mall and said she’s purchased various items to be used as part of her displays of home accents, women’s accessories and unique gifts.
“I love the old concept of the antiques,” she said. “And then I mix the new.”
To find product, Hatch said she and her daughter make trips out to various merchandise shows in New York, Atlanta and Chicago.
Having opened her doors to the hopes of a successful business in an area that she says tried to achieve the feel of downtown, Hatch is excited to open new doors to a successful business in a genuine downtown community.
One that embraces the old and the new.
Newer developments may lack a certain sense of history but the promise of history awaits within the new walls of Isabelle’s.
“You don’t have the warmth of what the history is in these old buildings,” Hatch said.
With that, she gets back to work.