MONTROSE – Opening their own custom furniture store is a dream come true for Adam and Yesenia Duncan, who planned and worked for years before opening A+Y Design Gallery at 513 East Main Street last month. The store will have its grand opening on Saturday.
Adam, a Montrose native, makes all the furniture and Yesenia runs the business side, but the dream started years ago where they met in Greeley, and when they had only been dating for a few months.
“We saw a log furniture store and I said I would love to have a shop like that,” Adam said. “Yesenia said, ‘Well, why don’t you?’ She’s good at holding you accountable like that.”
That was more than eight years ago, but the couple never gave up their dream, which really began as sort of a hobby than a job, said Adam said, who learned his craft from many different sources, including an apprenticeship at a cabinet making shop.
They started out by selling their custom furniture at other area outlets, but finally decided they had enough inventory to open their own business.
Adam doesn’t make traditional log beds, but rather takes it to a higher level. A sample of his work is a king sized bed in the middle of the showroom made of tiger maple with reclaimed white oak in the center of the headboard. Another large piece is a nine-foot, six-inch dining table made of black walnut. When you look closely at both, you see the craftsmanship in wooden pegs called tenon pins as well as intricate inlays.
“I like to work one-on-one on the basics with a customer, to talk about what they feel the piece should be, and then create it,” he said. “There are no limitations to what we can design.”
The shop also features the work of other area artists, with photography by Kane Scheiddeger, pottery by Melody Searle, and metalwork by Sven Krebs.
“All the artists are local, from Colorado, and primarily from the Western Slope,” he said.
The couple said they have had positive feedback from the community and purposely had a “soft opening” on Sept. 1 while saving the grand opening for later, Adam said.
“This is our first week to advertise and we just got the signage up yesterday,” he said on Tuesday. “We’ve done well, with a few sales, but this is not an impulse buy.”
For custom made furniture, the prices are reasonable, he said, with the tiger maple bed selling for $2,000 and the walnut dining table priced at $3,500.
Many people have taken business cards, which is encouraging, Yesenia said.
“We are taking orders and have seen a lot of interest,” she said.
The Duncans hope that interest peaks during the grand opening, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, when they will have a drawing for one of Adam’s pieces that will help benefit Hilltop Community Resources’ Youth Services Division, where Yesenia works part-time as youth services coordinator.
The store is also helping with another Hilltop fundraiser, the Compassion Project, where mugs featuring a painting by artist Hendrika Cegielski are sold at the Duncan’s new store. In the window of the store is the original painting used on the mugs depicting horseback riders heading toward distant mountains, which will be given to the highest bidder in a silent auction at the end of the month. Anyone can come in between now and then to enter the bidding, Yesenia said. The mugs are priced at $15 empty and at $35 when filled with goodies like lip balm, candy, notepads and other sundries.
Before opening their store, the Duncans sold Adam’s furniture designs at the Apple Shed in Cedaredge and at Palladin Design in Ridgway, where they are still represented, but they felt the time was right to have their own business.
Every piece of furniture has A+Y Design Gallery carved into it, and is signed and dated, making them collectible pieces, Yesenia said.
Although Adam creates all the furniture, the couple’s young daughters, Mia, 6, and Ellie, 5, get to help with the sanding. They’re so into the new family business that Mia has already announced that she wants to be a jewelry maker and has plans to sell her wares in mom and dad’s new store.
“We’ve been working toward this for eight years,” Adam said, “waiting for the planets to align and everything to come together.”