Celebrating the Holidays with local businesses

Creating the perfect home all year long

Article by Jana Kemp

Photography by Jana Kemp + Provided

Originally published in Boise Lifestyle

The Cottage on Second

Jennifer Zebio worked as a private banker for 23 years and retired. With two young girls and caretaking for a grandparent, she had a busy life. Once life settled down a bit, Jennifer explored new business opportunities. While on an Honor Flight (for Veterans) to Washington, D.C. with her grandfather, she visited a gift shop there and found her desire to open a gift shop in Idaho.

Jennifer bought The Cottage on Second in June 2023 from the previous owner who founded and owned the store for 20 years. Jennifer continues to carry new furniture, accent pieces, accessories, and gifts, along with seasonal décor.  Her focus is on home and homemaking, as well as thoughtful gift giving. A focus on things that are personal and demonstrate a personal touch is the hallmark of her entry into the Eagle business community.  She’s begun carrying items in the categories needed for making a home, for home-oriented gift giving, and entertaining.

“Making a home beautiful is an art.” Jennifer works with people to make houses warm, homey, and beautiful through traditional choices that appoint a person’s home. Jennifer says “I’m a very traditional person. So much has gone online and technology has taken over our lives. I’m more of an in-person, personal touch, attention to detail person who wants to bring community together through the store.”  

Jennifer has always loved home arts, things like cake decorating and stitching.  Having tried quilting, which is a large undertaking, she learned that embroidery was more of a fit for her and her life. Along the way, she discovered calm, peace, and enjoyment while embroidering. Having experienced for herself a newfound state of wellbeing, Jennifer wants to share stitchery kits and classes with others that can also bring others new ways of self-care and life enrichment. Adding stitchery to the store mix grew out of realizing the calm that comes from hands-on creative home arts.

After a remodel of the store, Jennifer created class space to help fulfill her goals of building community through the store, classes, and customer interactions. Deepening community relationships will be invited in January when carefully chosen stitchery class offerings become available.

Jennifer has traveled the country shopping and buying. Each part of the country provides different experiences, with the East and the South of the United States appealing to her sense of style. Jennifer attended the July 2023 Gift Show in Atlanta, Georgia which is the biggest gift purchasing show in the country. The vendors and products there allowed her to explore and discover merchandise that Idahoan’s have perhaps not seen before.  The July Gift Show provided ideas for Spring of 2024. To prepare for December 2023 holidays, Jennifer hand-picks items that might appeal to people with varying tastes and styles for their homes and gift giving. She makes sure to provide items at different price points so that there is something for everyone in her store. Jennifer tries to keep most of her buying in the United States and from family businesses.

Jennifer works and lives in Eagle. She is married with two girls. Together, they have three dogs keeping the family company. Jennifer concluded:

“Downtown Eagle is so beautiful, quaint, and walkable. There are often family events and Eagle is a great space for families to hang out. Eagle is easy to explore and shop, or to run a quick errand. Eagle businesses provide unique shopping opportunities, and I am happy to be a part of this community.”

America the Dreamer & Renditions

Randy Shelton built furniture in high school wood shop: nightstands, TV stands, and coffee tables. Randy and Cherie met in high school (see photo from a friend’s wedding). During college, Randy began selling furniture at a store in Vancouver, Washington. He found that he loved sales, talking to people, hearing their stories, and learning how they wanted to furnish their homes.

Cherie Shelton says that owning a furniture store grew out of Randy’s love of talking with people.  They started in 1989, with two separate store locations and concepts. Now, America the Dreamer & Renditions is one store location in Boise, East of the Towne Square Mall. “Randy’s niche is selling furniture. Mine is arranging the store, drawing on clothing merchandising experiences at Nordstrom.”

Randy and Cherie Shelton are passionate about helping people. Together, Randy and Cherie share specific values in the way they go about business. “Our employees are like family.” They’ve had people working with them for seven to 14 years, and even one person who has worked part-time, off-and-on over the last 30 years. Family!

American made products are valued and sourced. A company in Payette, Idaho makes bedroom furniture from black walnut, hickory, and alder woods that is sold in the store.  A commitment to reclaimed metals and sustainable wood products is important. Offering items not carried elsewhere is a part of the merchandising mix. “Every December, we bring more accessories and tabletop ideas into the store so that people can change things up without having to buy new furniture,” says Cherie.

Additional doing-business values include: being welcoming to people and their dogs (which are allowed into the store); providing quality at a reasonable price; offering styles that are not trendy but durable and lasting; selecting sustainably made products that are made from ethically sourced materials; and choosing free-trade silks along with carefully sourced international products that were not made with child labor.

Being in business is also about the community and its wellbeing. The Sheltons contribute to community in a variety of quiet ways, supporting and participating in events that benefit the Women’s and Children’s Alliance, the homeless shelter, the Shop with a Cop and Shop with a Sheriff programs, and Toys for Tots.

“We found that during Covid, mattresses and desks were big sellers.” People’s lifestyles changed and they wanted the right furniture to support their lives. Bedding matters. If you’ve never gotten a good night’s sleep, and you’ve shopped for bedding, you know the challenges. Randy and Cherie invite shoppers to test out the furniture and mattresses. Bring in a book to sit and read to make sure you like the chair or sofa. Rest on a mattress to see whether it really meets your body’s needs – however, no overnight stays. Hearing someone say “I’ve never slept better” brings a smile to Randy’s face.

Retail is hard work. Moving furniture is also hard work. However, the Sheltons find joy in helping people. They stay in the furniture business in Idaho because they’ve always loved Boise and Idaho. Randy says “the weather” is the number one reason for staying. They also still enjoy the business, making the store different, re-arranging it, talking to people, and hearing their stories. Randy and Cherie both enjoy their customers and repeat customers. “Everyone is nice and we enjoy working with the different people who come through the doors.” Cherie adds “I like helping people change the look and feel of their homes and to help them make spaces feel like their unique home.”

“Helping people get their house to become a home is my goal.” – Randy Shelton

“We select furniture and accessories so people who shop with us don’t end up also seeing their furniture in their neighbor’s houses.” – Cherie Shelton

“Making a home beautiful is an art.” – Jennifer Zebio

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