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"It's more of a living store than a vintage and antique store. It's a lifestyle"

 


Who is your team and how did it form? 

[Jennie] It's Jenny Latham, Stephanie Freitas, and Denise Eckert. I bought the shop from a friend of all of ours in 2014, but it’s been open since 2008. We’ve been here together since 2019. I'd say that this iteration of the store hands down is the best version. We did just lose Robin Prior, as she and her husband are retiring. Robin was so key, but now we're down to three, which is fine. Small space, many hands, light work, right? 


[Stephanie] Denise and I have an interior design business on Mill Street, The Sweetwood Collective. This is our passion, and we love it. We've been selling vintage and antiques in many different venues for about 18 years, and we love being at Pear Tree. This is our home. Our interior design business is separate, but we all work together, and so we offer interior design businesses through Pear Tree as well. Vienna residents are so supportive of Vienna businesses. And it doesn't surprise me a bit that everybody starts with Vienna first. Even in this big area where we've got lots of fantastic communities, not everybody has the sense of community that Vienna does. 


How long have you been in Vienna?

[Stephanie] I live right up the street. I was in Oakton for 20 years, and I've been in Vienna since 2019. Denise has been in Oakton for her whole life and went to Oakton High School.  

[Jennie] Although I have the Pear Tree, and my husband also works in Vienna, we live in Fairfax. So, we're neighbors. I feel like even with the surrounding areas, Vienna is kind of like the hub. Because Oakton doesn't have a town, people from Oakton come and they feel that Vienna is their town. Even people from McLean, which has its own fun spots to go to, come into Viva Vienna and the Halloween Parade and all the different events that Vienna puts on that are what make it the hub, right?


You said that you think this iteration of Pear Tree is the best it's ever been. What do you think is the little sparkle that you feel is taking it through this era?

[Jennie] Stephanie has been doing this much longer, but I think the secret is, we all love vintage, and Stephanie and Denise really love design and they're fantastic at it. So, between the three of us, we can run the shop, they can do their interior design business, and then we just find one-of-a-kind things that are vintage. Stephanie and Denise show you how to use them in in a more modern way.

[Stephanie] I think this store is a little more modern. We like to organize our store in such a way that you know how it's to be used. And it's more of a living store than a vintage and antique store. It's a lifestyle and we try to keep up with trends but not be trendy and follow what's going on in the marketplace but using nearly only vintage. 


Do you have a favorite decade, era, or style?

[Stephanie] I used to be very much a Francophile. 

[Jennie] Yeah and I'm very into chinoiserie. 

[Stephanie] Yes, and I love chinoiserie too, but I think now I just kind of buy what I love. We try to stay what's current, but chinoiserie is never gonna go out of style, French is never gonna go out of style. [Jennie] Exactly, they're classics. But what's fun about having a shop is regardless of what we prefer to decorate with in our homes we get to explore all the fun things out there that we enjoy. I tend to be a bit bolder in the shop than I am at home.

[Jennie] I'd say art is probably our style. Stephanie and I are both art majors, so this is how we use our majors. 

[Stephanie] Art is huge. I truly believe that you should always have vintage original art in your house. You can buy all new furniture and that’s great, but if you put a chippy painting on your wall or just a cool piece of pottery it really brings a heart into a home that's different than buying everything brand new.


Is there anything that you’re excited about moving forward, in Vienna or in trends you’re seeing?

    [Jennie] gosh well as far as Vienna goes, my favorite event of the year that I do look forward to so much is the Halloween parade. We kind of make it an open house for people that night that maybe haven't seen the shop before. I always look forward to that, and the crisp fall air. The parade is the night that the community just shines its brightest which is saying a lot! but it's just fun to keep up with things

    [Stephanie] Sustainability, thrifting. For us, it's always been our way, it's just a new word, sustainability. Why would you buy new furniture when this furniture is so much better? It's so unique. And we have too much trash in our world, and I do believe you can really find something if you just look a little bit harder for half the price. And look, I do buy a lot of new furniture for my clients as well, but we really try to push at least several things in a room that's older.