All under the same roof

Published 12:07 am Saturday, August 8, 2009

If business is a man’s world, then someone never told A. Dodson’s.

The eclectic store is owned and managed by Alison Anderson, and it boasts a wide variety of inventory including furniture, jewelry, antiques and one-of-a-kind gifts.

But, now, that list has grown even longer.

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Amy Wiegand, owner of The Prints and The Paper, has come on board the North Suffolk store to serve as the store’s director of custom retail. Additionally, Susan Bands has moved her home décor business, The Casual Curtain, into A. Dodson’s to operate from its Bridge Road location.

The three women entrepreneurs, each with decades of experience in their fields, are now under one roof.

“We try to be each others’ biggest supporters,” Anderson said. “We try to keep looking forward and making things fresh for our customers.”

Anderson said each addition to the store was a natural progression for her business. In Bands, she found a colleague who shares not only her vision, but also opinion of what makes good business.

“The way she looks at her upholsteries and fabrics is the same way we look at our products,” Anderson said. “She cares about how long a fabric is going to last her customer, and how it’s going to be used. She wants what is going to be best for them.”

Bands, who once had her store in the Bennett’s Creek Crossing shopping center, said she is used to partnering with Anderson because she would routinely send customers to A. Dodson’s in order to find the last additions to rooms she had worked on.

“We complement each other’s businesses,” Bands said. “If I had customers looking for a unique piece or decoration, I’d say, ‘Go to Dodson’s.’ I would just send clients right down the road and felt good that they would find what they were looking for.”

Bands has said the move to A. Dodson’s has introduced her to a new line of potential clients.

“Alison has such a great following from her clientele,” Bands said. “Certainly, it was a benefiting factor for me to make a move.”

While Bands brings a new addition to the store’s layout, it is Wiegand’s addition to the store’s staff that expands Anderson’s inventory for the store.

“(Custom retail) is one of the elements that I’ve wanted to add for some time,” Anderson said. “The problem is it takes a lot of time.”

But custom retail is exactly what Wiegand has the time for. She started her stationery company, The Prints and The Paper, three years ago and has worked with clients across the world customizing their paper needs.

Now, Wiegand will bring that experience to A. Dodson’s new product line of stationery, invitations and gift items (including cups, towels or drink holders) that all can be personalized.

“It takes a dedicated person to do custom orders,” Anderson said. “Amy takes the time to sit down with you and make you feel special about what you are buying.”

Wiegand said the one-on-one interaction with the customers is what makes custom retail important.

“You need to be available to (your customers),” Wiegand said. “There is a lot of detail work that you want to get right, to make the purchase that much better.”

With the expanded inventory line and a new business in the store, Anderson said she is grateful that customers have embraced A.Dodson’s like they have. In fact, in a time of an economic downturn, Anderson said the store has actually had better sales within the past year.

“I feel really fortunate that our local community has been supporting us,” she said. “This is an exciting time for us.”

A.Dodson’s is located at 2948 Bridge Road and can be reached at 483-1344.