Mike and Karen Neal own Artful Living, a store in the Mall of Georgia that offers an eclectic array of gifts, jewelry, home decor, books and music. At the end of the month they are bringing that same concept to Suwanee's Town Center, taking up shop between 'Rita's and Hairllucinations.
The Neals, an energetic couple married for 37 years, both come from large families.
"That's why we opened this store in the first place. We'd be at a fair or a festival and say, 'Oh my sister would love that,' or 'Wouldn't so-and-so like this.' We've collected fun pieces, both old and new, traditional and quirky," Karen said.
Added Mike, "So many people walk in here and say this place is good for the soul."
One of those customers is Alison Starnes, Suwanee's Downtown and Business Development Manager.
"She comes in here often, and she's been telling us that we should open a store in Suwanee, so we are," Karen said laughing. "It will be great to be a part of the community. We'll just have to open the door and there it will be, right in front of us."
The Neals are excited about the Suwanee location, aware that Town Center is a destination and that patrons shop there with intention.
"When people are looking for something different, they'll find it here. We shop unique vendors and try to support small shops, independents and items made in the USA," Karen said.
"I am so pleased that a company like Artful Living chose to open a second location in Suwanee Town Center," Starnes said."I've shopped at Artful Living's Mall of Georgia store for several years, and always thought that their store would be a unique addition to Suwanee's downtown.Mike and Karen loved the look and feel of Town Center, and they felt that the vibe suited their ideal customer base well.We are thrilled to have them join the downtown family."
According to Mike, feedback from their existing customers has been great.
"People are so excited to hear that we'll have a second store in such a terrific location," he said.
The opening date for the new Artful Living store in Suwanee is March 31 --which also happens to be the date of Beer fest, the city's popular festival featuring more than 40 brewers.
"It will be so much fun to be right in the middle of such a fun festival on our first day," Karen said.