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Menlo Park aims to become a regional attraction for interior

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A new collaboration of Menlo Park businesses aims to transform the city’s downtown into a regional destination for interior design projects, bringing together 20 local design stores for the first time.

The idea for the Design District began in the spring of 2021 with Alex Beltramo at Teresa’s Antiques, a business his mother started more than 40 years ago. According to Bertramo, Menlo Park was a hub for design long before the official collaboration began. and advertised as part of a larger collection of design shops for customers to enjoy.

Registered as a non-profit organization with political affiliation, the creation of the Menlo Park Design District further strengthened and organized the existing community among shop owners.

“We feel like we’re part of a community, and that’s making it more meaningful,” Bertramo said. This is because it is suitable for drawing a wider range.”

The Menlo Park Design District aims to be a San Francisco alternative so residents don’t have to travel far to complete an interior design project. Members also enjoy free design events delivered by experts at various stores in the Design District on the first Thursday of each month. The first class he held at the Art Ventures Gallery on August 4th. Next time, we will have a counter lesson at Rocco & Taupe on September 1st.

Brian Flegel of Flegel’s said he believes Menlo Park’s design history has always been about community and collaboration. His Flegel’s, which opened in 1954, was Menlo Park’s first furniture store and carries a wide variety of his Menlo Park store merchandise.

“We’ve always had really good relationships with … everybody, because there’s always been an ecosystem, right?” “And if you were thinking of doing something for home, it always took everyone for granted that Menlo Park, or at least downtown, would be your destination.”

Flegel also believes the collaboration will be beneficial to the business in the long run, bringing together knowledge and resources from different shops with different specialties so that everyone can find what they need. We are creating a place where we can

“This is just the beginning,” said Fregel. “But I think it strikes a pretty good balance in that no one is directly trying to do exactly the same thing as someone else. Everyone has their own elements.”

Anna Williamson Architect Anna Williamson said she shares the view that the Design District is about coming together as a community, not just for the economy.

“We hope[this will]revitalize downtown and bring in people and people who are interested in art and design and lifestyle and who are interested in inspiring environments,” Williamson said. I hope that I can create a sense of community among the merchants.I can see the storefronts, but I don’t know the owners..”

One of the surprising factors that got credit for the creation of nonprofits is the pandemic. Peabody Gallery’s Elisa Spurlin says she believes COVID-19 has brought merchants together, even though she’s been working on the same street for more than 20 years and some have never met her face-to-face. increase.

“Many things have changed during the pandemic, but one thing that has happened is that there have been many unique collaborations across all kinds of industries,” says Spurlin. It was closed for a while, so it was an opportunity not only to try to survive, but also to sit down and think, “What makes us different?” ”

As time went on, more and more merchants came to the idea of ​​working together to form a non-profit design district. Bertramo said the vision of a close-knit business community was supported by another shop owner, the late Bob Schram. Harvest Furniture’s Carolyn Ivers emphasized that at the conference that led to the creation of the district, she felt everyone’s voice was heard.

For more information on the Menlo Park Design District and its events, please visit our website.