Island couple opens shop downtown
That’s the slogan that has been adopted by a young couple who are the entrepreneurs behind Jamestown’s newest business. The Crabby Lion on 25 Narragansett Ave. had a soft opening on March 9, and the business is moving toward a grand opening in late May or early June.
The primary concept behind the Crabby Lion is to offer furniture that has been rescued from landfill oblivion and then “repurposed.” The idea is to save furniture for additional use rather than adding it to already-overcrowded dumps.
The concept of Crabby Lion is the brainchild of Jeremy Paradis and Victoria Hogan of Jamestown. Paradis came up with the idea while spending a year working at Auntie Annie’s Attic, a Jamestown consignment shop owned by his mother.
“While we were at Auntie Annie’s, Victoria and I had done a few furniture pieces and we had really good luck with them,” Paradis said. “We really enjoyed it and decided we wanted to focus on that with a new store and a slightly different business model.”
Paradis has a background in retail business. He also managed a music store that sold instruments and held a corporate position at the Bose Corporation for eight years. Hogan has worked in customer service for much of her adult life, first with the airlines and then in a dental office. While Hogan was living in New Hampshire, the couple maintained a long-distance relationship. She finally moved to Rhode Island last year.
“We both decided that we didn’t want to work for other people anymore,” Hogan said. “So from the platform of Auntie Annie’s, we decided that we could make something new out of it. That’s how we came to where we are now.”
The couple has a keen interest in keeping their business “ecocentric.” All the pieces they’re using are rescued, whether it’s from the side of the road or a website like Craigslist. They look for vintage pieces, sometimes even antiques, and give them a new life.
“We’re using a lot of fun colors and trying to make some vibrant pieces that will make a statement in people’s homes,” said Hogan. “At the same time we’re trying to keep it very low impact.”
Hogan and Paradis employ environmentally friendly chalk-based paints in their work. In some cases they find new uses for the furniture, such as turning headboards into benches.
“We’re trying to reinvent all the pieces that we’ve found to make something new and exciting,” Hogan said.
The furniture work is being done in the store’s back room after hours, or with one person watching the store as the other works on the furniture. The store’s present inventory, including items that are being worked on, is about 40 pieces. The pieces range in price from stools that can be had for under $30, to a dining-room set that is being offered for a little less than $700. In general, the price of furniture at Crabby Lion ranges from $50 to $500.
“We try to keep it low cost so that people can afford it,” Hogan said, “while we also make a decent profit as well.”
In addition to the furniture, the Crabby Lion offers jewelry, much of which comes from estate sales and artwork. There are also other repurposed items such as lamps made out of old teapots, and end tables made from old suitcases. A line of clothing made from sustainable materials like bamboo or organic cotton will be offered in the future.
“I have a couple of friends who are silversmiths so we’re going to be introducing their lines,” Paradis said. “As the stuff we have begins to sell off, we’ll replace it with our friends’ work.”
“We definitely want to support local artisans,” Hogan added.
The Crabby Lion is open every day of the week except Monday, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The store hours will be extended to seven days a week beginning in the summer. The shop has already seen some good activity in the short time it’s been open.
“Everyone who has stopped in has really liked the stuff we’re working on and has been really excited,” Hogan said. “We’ve got interest in a lot of our pieces and we’ve sold some pieces already. The turnout has been really positive.”
Hogan said that visitors to the store will find pieces that they won’t find anywhere else. Paradis added that the colors they’re using will catch people’s eyes because it’s not the typical thing that people come across in furniture stores.
“We’re focusing on bright, vibrant, kind of whimsical furniture,” Paradis said.
The store’s website – TheCrab byLion.com – is already offering bamboo clothing. Within the next week or so, the store’s furniture inventory will be available through the website as well.