Joco Diversions

Hot colors make a bright, little shopping experience

If the exterior of a little shop in tiny strip center in Roeland Park seems unassuming, take a glance in the window, and you’ll stop in your tracks. Inside, vibrant is the word that springs to mind.

Sisters Jannell Lukens and Melissa Hadley have discovered that bright sells. On days the shop is closed, it’s not unusual to see them painting refurbished chairs, bureaus and other furniture in the back of the store.

“We’re now experts at looking through garage sales, flea markets and thrift stores,” Lukens says.

“When we started out, we didn’t know exactly what would sell, or what would be easy to paint, but now we’re picky. My garage is stuffed with furniture and other things, ready for us to start refurbishing.”

The shop is full of furniture, signs, pillows and gifts that would look perfect in a child’s room, a sun porch, or any room that might need a jolt of color.

“We hear, ‘You guys are so good at painting,’ a lot,” says Hadley, the mother of three children. “This is a very happy place. When people wander in, they want to hang around for a while.”

The store has been open since August, when the sisters decided to fulfill their dream of going into business together. In addition to refurbishing furniture, they make candles and pillows, and they offer custom-painting jobs and create signs.

“It was when my youngest went off to college that I decided to try something new,” Lukens says. “I’ve always been a wanna-be home designer, so this makes me happy.”

It’s also something of a project for the families of both women. Hadley’s youngest son loves to help paint, and Hadley’s daughter became a perfumer when the team decided to create custom-made candles. The unique treasures, made with soy and natural oils, have been poured into a wide variety of containers, and are popular with people looking for unique gifts.

As she points out some of the treasures in the store, a young couple comes in to browse. “We have a broad range of customers, but most are in the 20 to 45 age range, and we have a lot of young families,” Lukens says. “But we also see a lot of grandparents, looking for something for their children or grandchildren.”

The store became particularly popular on Saturdays after the Taco Republic opened up across the street, Lukens says.

“We have people who have to park a ways from it, and when they walk by, many of them stop and say, ‘Wow, look at this place,’” Lukens says. “That’s worked out pretty well for us.”

Ultimately, their goal is to also carry new lines of gift products, augmenting the hand-crafted and refurbished items stocked on brightly painted shelves.

“We want it to be a shop where people can come in and find exactly what they need,” Lukens says. “We want to be that place where they can zip in and pick up something for the home, or find the perfect gift for a friend.”