A new furniture resale shop has taken up residence in Merion Village.
In business since April 14, Keens Furniture Loft occupies the first floor of an 8,500-square-foot former brewery at 1795 S. High St. In addition to gently used furniture, the shop carries antiques and home décor items.
“I have been an artist my whole life, and have always wanted to figure out a way to do art and make a living at it,” said Donna Keen, the shop’s owner.
Keen has had a part-time faux painting business for about nine years, working in the evening while holding down a full-time job at Battelle and raising her children.
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“The last couple years I have been looking for an avenue to sell the furniture I paint, but most stores wanted to give me very little for the amount of work I put into each piece or they wanted to take them on consignment and, again, with very little commission,” Keen said. “I thought there had to be a better way.”
The solution was Keens Furniture Loft, as it gives her the opportunity to paint furniture, which she’s done for about 15 years, and maintain her faux painting business.
The shop also keeps good furniture out of landfills− something very important to Keen.
“I don’t believe furniture should be disposed of if it can be reused for another purpose or refinished or painted to bring it back to life,” she said. “America has become a disposable country and I believe we need to get back to making furniture, or any other items, that can be used for centuries, as it was when our country was founded.”
Additionally, Keen has made a conscious effort to carry locally produced wares, including greeting cards by Jackie Barr Creations, artwork by Mixe Design by Marie Godwin, and BearPaw Candles, at the shop.
“When [customers] walk in, they notice right away the décor,” she said. “I made it to feel like you’re walking into someone’s home and not the coldness of a furniture store. The next thing they notice is the smells of the soaps and candles.”
Customers tend to be professional men and women between the ages of 30 and 50, as well as “a lot of antique dealers,” Keen said, adding that she tries to keep prices down, which appeals to them.
To Keen’s delight, Merion Village residents have welcomed her shop with open arms.
“Everyone from the neighborhood that comes in thanks me for picking Merion Village to put the store in,” she said. “I feel so humbled by that. The store is more than just a furniture store; it is a place that is giving the community something to feel good about.”
Keen owns the entire building at 1795 S. High, and plans to use the second floor as a gallery for local artists and crafters, as well as space for an after-school art program.
“Since the community center closed down in this area, I believe the kids need something constructive to do with their time,” she said. “I know there are probably a few good artists out here in these streets. I haven’t thought it through completely, but it is a dream.”
Photos by Adam Slane Photography.
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