For 20 years Diane Galvin put her dreams of opening a home decorating store on hold while she pursued another career and motherhood but having taken the plunge, she’s glad she never gave up on it.
Galvin opened River House Gifts in the Downtown Chatham Centre in July of 2013 said the last 15 months have been both hectic and rewarding.
Having opened a business in Point Edward, Galvin wasn’t planning to expand into Chatham until a visit with DCC manager Lynn O’Brien changed her mind.
“I knew Lynn from being involved with the Heart and Stroke Society, but when she approached me I didn’t think a Chatham location was possible,” she said. “Then (DCC owner) Dan Warrener stepped in and between he and Lynn, they made it happen,” she said. “I’m really grateful for their help because without it I wouldn’t have made the move.”
The move to the mall raised Galvin’s business to the next level.
“Since we have fixed hours and I had to be open those times, I had to hire a part-time person who’s since become almost full-time,” she said. “I now have two more people I call in as needed.”
Galvin said becoming the only supplier of Chalk Paint in Chatham-Kent has been a leap forward for the business. The paint was developed by Annie Sloan in England and has only been available in Canada for three years.
“Chalk Paint allows you to paint almost anything,” she said. “It has zero VOC (volatile organic compounds), no smell and it dries quickly. It’s been hugely popular in England and it’s growing here.”
As part of being allowed to sell the paint, Galvin had to attend seminars and offer to provide classes on its use.
“The classes have gone extremely well. It’s such a versatile product that people are extremely interested in it. We even offer to paint furniture if our customers don’t have the time to do it themselves.”
Galvin said her business features home and cottage decorating accents that are unique to her location.
“People looking for something different have made us a success,” she said. “I love what I do.”