Potato Barn offers eclectic mix of furniture SanTan Sun News

Potato Barn offers eclectic mix of furniture

March 2nd, 2018 | by SanTan Sun News
Potato Barn offers eclectic mix of furniture
Business
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By COLLEEN SPARKS Staff

Shoppers no longer have to leave Chandler to find a diverse mix of colorful and comfy couches easy to sink into and unusual, wood dining room tables large enough for big gatherings.

That’s because Potato Barn opened a location on North 54th Street just south of Ray Road in The Shoppes at Casa Paloma.

The spacious shop that opened in November is one of several Potato Barn stores in the Valley. Shoppers can find the other Potato Barn businesses in Gilbert, Scottsdale and Mesa.

Husband-and-wife team Tim and Lisa Hawkins opened the Chandler store with co-owners Greg Bongiorno and his son, Mike.

The couple have been friends with Greg since 2002, the year he opened his first Potato Barn on Williams Field Road between Recker and Higley roads in Gilbert.

“We met Greg first,” Lisa said. “We came in shopping and fell in love with the furniture. It’s all so unique and solid wood, and the price is so amazing. We call it shabby chic. We’ve got a few pieces that are mid-century modern.”

Tim said the original Potato Barn was located in a former barn a potato farmer used. That store has since closed, but many customers still say they remember it.

The uniqueness and diversity of the furniture appeal to customers, Tim said. Besides wood, other materials are easy to spot in the many living, dining and bedroom items in the 15,000-square-foot Chandler showroom.

“We’ve got lots of cotton velvets,” Tim said. “They’re just amazing. We do a lot of sofas and sectionals, dining room (furniture). We don’t stick with one manufacturer and we go directly to the sources. It’s constantly changing.”

The furniture comes from around the world, including Mexico, China, India, Peru and Romania, as well as the United States, and much of it is made out of reclaimed wood, he said.

Eileen Stagg of Ahwatukee, who owns interior design company Visual Eyes, is a big fan of the Chandler Potato Barn.

“It’s just very eclectic,” Stagg said. “You can fit into any décor if you have the right piece. There’s always something different. They’re always very helpful. It’s just fun to go in. I love the store. When you come in here you always feel welcome.”

JoAnne Vander Hart Nibbelink, also a fan of Potato Barn, bought a large buffet/console to put under her TV.

She said she loves “the style of their furniture, and when we compared the price to other stores, it wasn’t more for better quality.”

“We are actually going to stop by again because we are shopping for some similar pieces for our new worship center in Chandler,” Vander Hart Nibbelink said.

Lisa said she and Tim have “always had fun dabbling” in furniture and design. Tim, who is originally from Ontario, Canada, said growing up he helped his father’s friend refurnish antiques. Lisa enjoyed decorating a rental property she and Tim had owned in the Valley.

Some of the eye-catching pieces include a blue velvet sofa for $2,295, a dining room sideboard with a shiny, crusty finish in distressed wood nearly 7 feet long for $1,295 and a distressed wood ottoman that has either a linen or leather top for $795.

The ottoman can serve as a coffee table, and people can store magazines underneath its top.

Lisa said a favorite of many customers is a dark gray, shiny velvet sofa with a tall back for $1,495. Leather sofas are also popular at Potato Barn, including a modern, gray leather one with four cushions, including two in front that are smaller than the back ones, for $2,995.

Tim and Lisa, who are longtime physical therapists, are also proud of a bright yellow 100 percent cotton velvet, mid-century modern sofa with a low back. A matching yellow wingback occasional chair would pair well with the sofa or work in a bedroom, they said.

“The workmanship from these manufacturers is top quality,” Tim said.

A mango wood dining room table from India with a black heavy steel base for $1,195 also stands out.

In addition to mango wood, some of the furniture at the local store is made of mahogany.

When it comes to color, “gray’s a hot color right now,” Tim said, pointing out the store’s gray walls. He said the store’s simple design aims to draw attention to the furniture.

Tim and Lisa follow Greg’s old-fashioned style of tagging every piece of furniture with hand-written prices to add a personal touch.

Potato Barn rarely has sales because its prices are already reasonable, the couple said.

“I have a lot of designers and decorators say our prices are at their trade price,” Lisa said. “It already is like a discounted price.”

She and Tim love having their store in Chandler and say many people have discovered their business after eating at Pei Wei and visiting the Starbucks nearby in the shopping center.

“Everyone’s so excited we’re here,” Lisa said. “It’s been a really good reception.”

Information: potato-barn.com.

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