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Lawrence Interiors moves downtown

They offer the same services and employ the same people. It's just the location that has changed.

Tom and Deb Lawrence and their business, Lawrence Interiors and Building Center, are now downtown. They've moved to 120 E. Second St., in the building recently vacated by the bike shop.

They began their own business in 1998 after working in the Top/Arrow lumber store. Their business was originally in the front half of a building they owned in the industrial park. They built a new building on Spiral Boulevard, across the street in the industrial park, and were there for six years.

"That was when construction was at its peak," Tom Lawrence said. "Ninety percent of our business came from contractors. Times have changed and contractors make up about 5 percent, maybe a little more, of our business now.

"We need to be where our customers are. And we're happy here (downtown). We feel it's a good fit for us, and a lot of people have commented that we're a nice fit for downtown."

As for many people in town, part of the business move was about downsizing.

"Economic times are causing downsizing," Deb Lawrence said. "Everyone's culling overhead.

"We also needed more visibility."

The Lawrences and their staff are offering the same products - carpeting; tile, wood and laminate flooring; window treatments; draperies; Anderson windows, doors and millwork.

And the decorating services are still there.

"We have really competitive pricing for all budgets," Deb said. "You don't have to decorate the whole house or even a whole room at once. We can help people set up a game plan - maybe a color scheme - and then they can plan to do a portion at a time. People might not realize we do home visits too."

Deb joked about a TV commercial where a national carpet firm comes to the house to sell carpet.

"We can do what the carpet people on TV say they'll do - bring samples into the home. But, we're not about high pressure sales."

"We're not the pots and pans salesmen," Tom chuckled and then continued seriously, "These are our neighbors.

"And all of our installers are local; some have been with us for 20 to 25 years."

Tom looked around as he sat behind his desk.

"Some people say bigger is better," he said. "Maybe bigger isn't better. I walk in here and I feel the good fit. It feels more homey."

The Lawrences are hoping others will feel the same way. They've planned a grand opening Feb. 8 through 13. There'll be some special sales, some good discounts, they said, and drawings for gifts.

But more than anything, the Lawrences hope people will just stop by and say hello - and join them and their longtime employees, Missy Judge and Tracey Brattz, for a cup of coffee and cookies.

The Lawrences are looking positively to the future.

"There's promising news for local business," Tom said. "Builders will have some new homes going up this spring. John Langenfeld - JHL Construction - is ready to start on a new home for somebody.

"Maybe it's a new beginning all-around."

For more about the business, go to The Lawrences can be reached at 437-4334.