Leigh Ann Lentz, Lentz & Company

Tucked in the shopping district on Ludlow Avenue is Lentz & Company, a relatively new and positively charming vintage furniture boutique for devotees to the old ways of interior design.

Please explain what Lentz & Company offers.
Lentz & Company offers vintage home goods, furniture and local art—with a strong nod towards the ’60s and carefully curated kitsch.

Why did you decide to start this business? 
I've had a passion for vintage my whole life, especially anything that looks like it belongs on the set of "Mad Men." I've also worked in retail for over 25 years and enjoy people. So opening my own shop seemed like a natural fit. I'm happiest when it's filled with guests discovering new-to-them treasures. It's also been a great opportunity to showcase local arts and crafts. It's nice to be able to offer handmade pieces, and in doing so, support local artists.

What local resources proved vital to opening the shop?
Two things: the support and shared knowledge from the established local merchants on Ludlow Avenue and Artworks SpringBoard (now called CO.STARTERS). Their nine-week course provided a business foundation, as well as incredible creative support that helped make this shop a reality. I wouldn't be where I am today without the people in my class, and I highly recommend anyone who's interested in entrepreneurship to sign up ASAP.

Where do you find your inventory? 
This is by far the most asked question that I hear. And shopping for inventory is one of my favorite things to do. I search estate sales, auctions, yard sales, you name it. Plus, I've had wonderful experiences with local people who bring in items for me to check out. It's amazing what forgotten treasures are in our attics and basements!

What's the best feature of your business?
Aside from the cool stuff, which changes frequently, I hope it's the customer service. A sincere smile and a thank-you go a long way. I want every person who walks through the shop's doors to know that I appreciate them and their choice to shop local.

Interview by Sean M. Peters