Allyson & Giuseppe ColosimoWhile living in Italy in the mid-1980s, Giuseppe and Allyson Colosimo decided that Italian trims and tassels would be a good item to sell in the United States, and began offering the designs wholesale through their company, Tuscany Imports. The business evolved, and the duo opened Tuscany Décor Center, a retail store, three years ago in Belle Chasse.

The store stocks curtain and upholstery fabric, mirrors, architectural elements, antique furniture, lamps, armoires, tables, chairs and accessories for the home. Custom work includes upholstery, window treatments and mirrors. Custom items can be painted or designed to coordinate with a house’s interior, and specially fitted for the specific customer’s needs. Giuseppe Colosimo uses his skills in construction and painting to recommend what people should do in their homes.

Allyson Colosimo says the business faced some setbacks from Hurricane Katrina, including water damage from the store’s roof and vents, as well as losing some designers who relocated after the storm. What helped, she says, is selling to other areas of the state and country—though the company remains in Belle Chasse.

Allyson Colosimo says they are a family business—and customers are treated like a member of an extended family. “We talk to them about their houses, what they want and don’t want, and we develop a relationship with them,” she says.

Business has grown with time, and Colosimo believes it is partly due to word of mouth, their specialty items and a large stock, which “makes the customers happy.”

“And, you don’t have to wait three weeks to get in what you want,” she says. •