Kelly Richardson is a relative newcomer to home furnishings, but he is quickly making his presence known in the industry and in Westfield, N.J., where his retail business, The Farmhouse Store, is located.

Richardson, a managing partner at Bracewood Capital, purchased the store in August 2021 initially as an investment opportunity but quickly found himself enmeshed in the business of home furnishings and local retailing.

HAT People to Watch logo_WebThe previous owners had operated the store for 14 years. They were beloved in the community and the store was a beacon in the area, where it was known for its superior customer service, among other things. Kelly plans to build on those strengths while also expanding and diversifying its customer base while possibly opening a second location.

“When I took on the business, our customer base was fairly homogenous,” Richardson recently told sister publication Furniture Today. “But we see a broader county shift and more ethnic diversity coming into the city. We’re adding to the styles available in the store slowly with assorted colors and patterns with a goal of creating a fun place to shop for everyone.”

He also said he wants all people of color to feel that The Farmhouse Store is a welcoming place for them to shop, and his team is incorporating new styles into the assortment, along with inclusive messaging and outreach. A financing program also makes more of the store’s assortment more accessible to more people.

Richardson recently partnered with Barsky Art Gallery, a contemporary fine art gallery in New Jersey that features both international and local artists, for curated, rolling art exhibitions in The Farmhouse Store’s new art space. Richardson wants to wow people with original artwork. Once it catches their eye, it entices them further into the store and enables Richardson and his staff to talk to them about their homes and engage them in the world of interior design.

Richardson, a brand-new father, is also “moving mountains” to establish a nearby pop-up store in time for the holidays as part of his expansion strategy.

On his one-year anniversary as store owner, Richardson said he “got knocked around as a newbie” amongst the supply chain crisis and the subsequent surcharges, layered on to the uncertain economy. “Navigating that has been tough. The market has changed,” he said. “That said, I was really excited about the partnership with Barsky. That will be an important part of diversifying our assortment and client base.

“I have to see this amazing store through a tough time, and when we do, we will be even stronger.”

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