What better way to celebrate our Anniversary, than to reminisce on how it all began…
When newlyweds, Patrick and Merry Dougherty, began searching for interesting and eclectic furniture, reminiscent of their days living in Santa Fe, NM, they kept coming up empty-handed. So much so that they eventually determined the Louisville furniture market lacked what they were searching for and in 1997 Merridian Home Furnishings was born.
After creating an innovative plan to provide semi -antique furniture, upholstery, art and accessories, the couple went to work and opened the now iconic home furnishings mecca (store?) featuring interesting finds from all over the world. Initially, it required a significant amount of travel to exotic destinations in Eastern Europe, India, Asia and Mexico. Patrick notes, "To really control the quality, we had to touch and feel the product." But as he quickly points out, "It was grueling work in some pretty dirty places. It wasn't glamorous at all."
Striving to offer unique pieces that represented a variety of styles and vowing to keep overhead low was no easy task. Establishing strong relationships with vendors in each locale was critical in getting the business started. Patrick equipped each vendor with a digital camera, new technology at the time, to capture and send images of their current inventory, usually pieces ranging from 30 to over 100 years old. This method of buying provided Merry the opportunity to hand select individual pieces from warehouses in central China and India while sitting at her desk in St. Matthews. Two decades later, seeing images and having the dimensions of each piece still allows Merridian to keep fresh inventory flowing on a regular basis. Merridian still has great working relationships with two of the original vendors they met over 20 years ago. Currently they receive new photos from vendors about every three days. "Sometimes we'll take 75% of what we see, sometimes we don't take anything," Merry explains. "We only select pieces that have great lines and an overall appeal or those that can serve a useful purpose in someone's home or business. Sometimes, however, we choose a piece based entirely on it's extraordinary craftsmanship, beauty, or rarity. Certain items have become much more difficult to find even in the short time we've been doing this. Old things are definitely a limited resource!" With shipments arriving about every two weeks, the ever-changing inventory and one of a kind pieces set Merridian apart from other furniture stores, not to mention that most items are available for immediate delivery...an important feature to remember if you have unexpected family members arriving for the holidays!
Cheers to 21 years, and many more to come!