We recently wandered in to Abby Lane Home Décor and Gifts and looked at the many different items for sale. After checking everything out, we sat down with owner Shannon Morgan, and had a wonderful time talking and learning about her store and what brought her to Van Alstyne.
We noticed that the vibe of Shannon’s shop was very eclectic, so we asked her how she got started and what made her decide to open up her store in Van Alstyne.
Shannon explained, “I started working retail when I was 15. My first job was at Neiman Marcus. I’ve always loved retail, the aspect of meeting so many new people, and so I worked a lot of retail jobs. My father had to take a medical retirement. He knew a woman in our neighborhood that had a little neighborhood gift shop and he asked what it would take to do something like that. We were going to do a shop together, and then he passed away, and that didn’t happen, so, I went to work in corporate America, a little more stable than retail. I stayed in corporate America about 7 ½ years, long enough to glean a lot of business sense. Towards the end of that career I got a part time retail job and realized that I really missed retail. During that time I had gotten married, had kids. So, when I started back in retail I rented half a space at an antique mall. It wasn’t long before I went to a full space, and then on to two spaces, then I was like ‘you know what, I should just open a space of my own.’ So, I opened my first store in downtown McKinney in 2000. At that time I had a friend of mine as a business partner. I was the creative one and she was the financial person; that was her background. It was a really good working relationship. Once she had her third baby, she ended up leaving the store. That happened at a time where my mom was needing more and more care, so when Tracy left I closed the McKinney store and opened a small shop in Sherman, near where my mother was in an assisted living center, so it was very convenient to be near her. When my mom moved to a nursing home, I closed my store altogether and then she passed in Jan 2006. By November of that year I was going stir crazy. This building was available, so I leased it. I bought the building the following June. When I opened, I wasn’t really ready to open that soon, I didn’t have very much inventory. John Houck, who owned the hardware store, told me about a parade that was about to happen in town and asked if there was any way I could be open in time for the parade on December 2nd. Because I didn’t have much inventory at the time, I ended up doing a very soft opening on parade day. Lots of people came in. Here I am 12 years later, with perseverance and God’s will it’s what it’s supposed to be.”
There are so many cool things to look at in the store – vintage items, pretty jewelry, neat paintings and cute blouses - what made you choose to open a store with a variety of interesting items?
Shannon: “I was really interested in showcasing local artisans. I make all my jewelry; a local artist has some paintings in the store. I have a guy that makes beautiful cutting boards. Over the years I’ve had several local people featured in my shop. That was real important to me to have local artisans to showcase their work. I sell vintage, I have antiques, and I redo all my furniture if it needs to be redone. As far as the clothing part of my business, I had never carried clothing before, but my husband and I went into a shop while in Branson, and it was very eclectic like I am, and she carried cute t-shirts and tops, and I thought, you know, when I go shopping on vacation, I’ll buy a top somewhere, maybe not jeans or a skirt or a dress. I figured I could do that in Van Alstyne, so I started off with t-shirts and since have expanded into a few more clothing items.”