Nicole Breyer believes in destiny and is convinced she was meant to own and operate Home & Cottage Interiors in Sarnia. “I used to come to the store to buy my paint and I got to know the previous owner, Diane Galvin,” Nicole says. On a visit to the shop last fall, Diane shared that she was going to retire. “Right away I saw an opportunity so I started asking her all kinds of questions about being the owner and running the business. I indicated I was interested in buying the store and asked her not to tell anybody else about her plans so I could arrange the finances to buy it. She retired at the end of January and I took over on Feb. 1 of this year.”
Prior to taking over Home & Cottage Interiors, Nicole had been working out of a warehouse refinishing furniture and selling her work online. However, she had virtually no experience operating a storefront business. “I went right away to the Sarnia Business Centre and I got lots of information from them,” Nicole says. “I also talked to my dad who owned a business in Sarnia for years and got some ideas from him. Last January I decided to work with Diane for the month and follow her around to get to know how she ran the business. She was very helpful in guiding me along.”
Diane continues to be a huge help as Nicole continues to learn how to run her new business. “Diane was excited that I wanted to buy the store. She loved the idea of somebody new taking over and she liked the fact that I kind of worked in the industry refinishing furniture. I can messenger her any time and she’ll help me with whatever I need.” Besides selling paint and paint supplies, Home & Cottage Interiors carries a whole new line of home décor. “The idea was to pick up from where Diane left off because she was quite busy and then expand to do some more things on my own – home design and home décor – and also keep busy doing kitchen cabinet painting."
As a mother of three, Nicole loves the independence of being her own boss. “The biggest challenge I face is getting my name out there and letting people know all the things we offer at Home &Cottage Interiors." One of Nicole's favourite parts of the job, and one of their biggest sellers is refinsihing kitchen cabinets. "I want to get the message out there and let people know I am here and that this is a service we offer. It's a great way to give your kitchen a make-over at a fraction of the cost of new cabinets." To make it even easier for customers, Nicole comes to your home to paint your cabinet bases and then brings the doors back to shop where they have a large spray area to finishing them. "It's really a transformation to see the cabinets redone. I love what a good coat of paint can do!"
In addition to kitchen cabinet make overs, Home & Cottage Interiors offers custom furniture refinishing, and refinishing workshops, as well as being a certified retailer for Jolie and Fusion paints. “I love doing this. I tell everyone it’s the first time in my life I am excited to get up and go to work.”