By BETH ALTENA
An iconic Rockford business has closed doors after being a staple in downtown Rockford for what would have been a 41 year anniversary on May 1. Instead, a new tenant will be occupying the newly remodeled space at 52 Courtland Street NE. The last day for the shop, selling clothing, accessories, jewelry, floral, homewares, candles, baby items, and more was Saturday, April 22.
“I’m going back to design consulting and home staging. I did that for over 30 years,” said proprietor Meg Frantz of her future plans. She also will continue to offer her annual fashion show that benefits Kelly’s Place, which would offer a home for physically dependent young adults.
Meg and her parents, Pete and Sally Charnley, have a long history of offering goods and services in downtown Rockford. At one time Sally had a regular rug hooking class. She also owned a machine that cut material, which was called a stripper, and a punch machine, which was called a pusher. Her family enjoyed saying she was a hooker, a stripper and a pusher. “You have to have a sense of humor,” Meg noted.
Sally first opened a store in 1976 and was in business for decades. Burlap and Rags and The Candle Shop were bedrock Rockford stores in the old days of the town. As a second generation merchant, Meg has enjoyed relationships with her customers fellow shopkeepers. While closing her doors since making the decision in March, Meg has parceled off her popular jewelry and apparel lines to others.
“When I told Kim (of Kimberly’s Boutique), the first thing she said was can I have your Slimsations.” She said the MultiplesSlimsations clothing line is a favorite and almost all she wears. Antoher popular item are Silver Forrest Earrings. “I always sold a ton of them.” She said she asked her supplier where she could buy the Slimsations after her store closed and the closest location was Baldwin. She is relieved they will now be offered by Kimberly’s.
Meg made the decision to close her doors after some hard thinking. Sales aren’t what they used to be, and she’s had a series of difficulties that made running the shop harder. “I always said when it isn’t fun anymore, I’d close the doors.”
Meg is confident her other talents will see her through. Her previous career was staging and designing homes, and her experience in that field is extensive. Staging homes for realtors is an important business.
“People can mentally move furniture, but they can’t imagine it. It’s a mental thing,” she said of staging, or decorating, houses before marketing them for sale. A stager brings in furniture, curtains, décor items, florals, everything needed to make a home look inviting and at its best. After sale, the items are removed for the next house. It can make a difference of tens of thousands of dollars in a sale.
“An investment of $7,000 gives a return of $20,000 or more,” she said. She also has decades of experience decorating homes for a homeowner, too. She told the Squire in a previous interview that the advantages of using her services are great.
“People know what they like, they just don’t know how to put it together.” She said other designers often want homeowners to purchase new items, but she is of the philosophy that using the existing items to best effect is a better, and much cheaper, option.
Between staging and design, Meg will continue to be a presence in Rockford. She is renting the historic building out, one she believes was once the town jail, and will even be holding a regular Bow Dacious Night at The Corner Bar the second Wednesday of every month at 7 p.m. to keep in touch with friends. “If we get a big enough crowd, we’ll get to use the upstairs,” she said.
She also plans to be active in a non profit with Kayla Rae Cellars, A Way Out, dealing with child sexual abuse and the lasting damage that is done. “That’’s my education. I graduate pre law in social services. I educate on child sexual abuse.”
“I’m always wanting to give back to the community, but I wanted something I could make a difference with. I found it.”
So Meg will continue her good works in the Rockford area, with volunteer work and her work of design consultant, home stager and redesign and bridal consultant. She can be reached at (616) 813 1393. “I’m like a bad penny, I just keep turning up.”