Audrey Merkle wasn't really sure of herself or the business world when she found herself venturing into it. The life of a housewife was all that she knew, but something was driving her to strive for something more.
While enjoying lunch with her daughter April, in downtown Orrville, April noticed a building for rent just across the street. Merkle begin to imagine beautiful home décor displayed in the large windows and started imagining herself conversing with customers and helping them to find ways to decorate their own homes.
"I was naïve and didn't have any business experience," said Merkle, owner of Audrey's Attic. But she made the courageous decision to call the number on the for rent sign and never looked back. In July of 2000, Merkle officially opened the doors of Audrey's Attic.
Stepping through the front doors of Audrey's Attic, your senses are greeted first. Warm smells of vanilla, cinnamon and mulberry make this unlike any attic you have experienced before, because, truthfully, it is not really an attic at all.
You may find vintage inspired items that may remind you of an old shelf or mirror you came across in grandma's attic. In fact, Merkle encourages customers to bring in some of these unique pieces that may have just been wasting away, and helps customers to restore that old beauty within it.
"People like the style that I have. I like eclectic and unique pieces," said Merkle. Unique, country, rustic primitives fill the shelves. Everything from lamps, rugs and tableware, to canvas pictures, candles and faux floral can be found in Merkle's shop.
Merkle prides herself most on her careful selection of candle lines. "I have put a lot of time and research into my candle selection. They don't burn down the center and you will always smell them." Audrey's attic carries three candle lines; Keepers of The Light, Swan Creek and Crossroads.
Each month, Audrey's has a new and unique special for customers. For the month of February, Audrey's held it's flip flops in February sale; every customer who wore flip flops to the store received a discount. In July, customers are handed flags, that when unrolled, reveal a shopping discount.
For the month of March, Audrey's Attic will be holding their spring extravaganza sale. Shop during the week of March 18 through the 23 and crack open an egg to see what kind of discount lies inside (up to 50 percent off.) Daily door prizes will be awarded and refreshments will be available. For the entire month of March, customers can expect 30 percent off all paper products, 40 percent off bulbs and accent lights and 25 percent off curtains.
Customers who sign up for the mailing list will automatically be mailed a card with a listing of each months specials. Let Audrey know when your birthday is and receive a special card and discount which can be used anytime during the month.
"I enjoy getting to know everyone who comes in by name. If Audrey knows you by name, you're a VIP," Merkle joked. In fact, if it's been a few months since she has seen you, she may be giving you a call to make sure things are going all right and just catch up as if you were old friends.
As you explore the shelves you may notice a few, furry friends popping out to say hello. Merkle has adopted five cats which can be seen roaming the store any given day, looking for attention and a good belly rub. "Some people come in just to see the cats and the cats always think people come in just for them," said Merkle.
"I love to give people warm and good feelings of being at home in my shop," said Merkle. "Some people come in just for the experience and don't buy anything at all and that's OK."
At the end of the day, Merkle feels good just knowing that for one day, she was able to provide a warm and inviting atmosphere to every customer who stepped into her store. "I don't do it for the money. I make enough to make ends meet but mostly I do it because I like being talked nicely about at the dinner table," said Merkle.
"Sometimes I feel like my job is more like mission work." Merkle is on a mission to make all her customers feel better.
Audrey's Attic is located at 147 North Main Street in Orrville. Store hours are Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Thursday until 7 p.m. For more information call 330-683-3384 or visit www.shopaudreysattic.com.