On any given day, customers entering Dana Krueger’s Art of the Yard shop will be greeted outside by an eclectic array of items — a large wrought-iron flamingo planter, a mosaic tile birdhouse, a three-dimensional fleece snowman and vintage gasoline can.
The boutique, located in the Old Town area of Lenexa, opened less than a year after Krueger came out of retirement.
“There was so much housecleaning you could do and I was getting bored,” said Krueger, on what motivated her to open her shop in May 2014.
Q: How would you describe Art of the Yard?
“It is a little shop that has both yard art and antiques and anything that is unique and different,” Krueger said.
Krueger said the shop has more than artistic pieces for outside of the home.
“I have statuary, an old water pump, I have lightning rods…whatever adds that pop of color whether it’s your home or yard — things like an old lantern or gazing balls.”
The shop operates on a seasonal schedule: During the winter months, Art of the Yard is open Thursday through Saturday. “When March comes around, I will be open Wednesdays through Saturdays,” Krueger said.
Q: How did you come up with the concept?
Krueger, who grew up in Lee’s Summit, developed a passion for antique shopping in her youth.
“When my dad was appointed a circuit court judge up north we would come home on college breaks and there was nothing to do, so my mom would put us in the car and we would drive up to Lamoni, Iowa, and we would go antiquing,” Krueger said.
“I also loved gardening. My mom would pay me a quarter to weed the garden and I loved doing that kind of stuff…and that’s how I came up with the idea of Art of the Yard. … I like to put in unusual things.”
Fast forward to 2013 when Krueger decided to retire from the medical equipment industry.
“I loved working with the patients and seeing the end results of getting this equipment that helped them or their loved ones…but it got to be too much,” she said.
After a short time at home, Krueger was done started looking for something to do. Her husband encouraged her to follow her passion.
“I love to garden and I love antiques, and he said, ‘There you go. Do that.’ I love working with people, so that is how the shop all came about,” Krueger said.
Q: How did you put the business together?
Krueger financed her business on her own and with help from her mother. The next step was finding a location, which came easily.
“My husband had an office in Old Town (Lenexa) for many years,” Krueger said. “The little shop next to him opened up —they are connected with a kitchen and bathroom that is shared —and he said ‘Why don’t you do something with that?’”
Krueger took the approximate 400ly-square-foot space in March 2014 and opened for business two months later.
Q: How do you get your inventory?
Krueger shops for the store’s inventory.
“I am a picker — I find stuff all over,” she said. “It has to catch my eye. If it’s something unique that might make a pop in your garden or home, I am buying it. …I hit a lot of flea markets and my mom helped me in buying a few items.”
Krueger also has some consignment vendors.
Krueger runs the shop on her own, occasionally getting an assist from her husband, Craig Krueger, and some furry friends.
“I have two little Dachshunds that help me greet all of my customers, Digger and Rocco,” she said.
Q: Who are your customers and how do you market to them?
Krueger said most of her customers are from the neighborhood and surrounding area.
Krueger tries to take advantage of marketing efforts by the Old Town Lenexa merchants group and its special events. In addition, Art of the Yard is one of the participating vendors for the upcoming Kansas City Symphony’s Designer Showhouse.
“It’s my second year doing it,” Krueger said. “They do all the work (and) they take 50 percent of what you sell and that goes toward the Symphony. … We did great last year. I sold over $2,000 worth of stuff last year and I got business out of it, too.”
Krueger uses Facebook to help promote her boutique, but still finds word of mouth to be her best marketing option.
Q: What’s ahead for Art of the Yard?
Krueger is content with things right now.
“I always wanted to do something like this…still being with people,” she said. “It is so cool when people say your store is so cool. … It makes my heart happy.”
In a nutshell
COMPANY: Art of the Yard
ADDRESS: 9232 Pflumm Road, Lenexa
WEB SITE: www.artoftheyardlenexa.com