Allyson & Giuseppe Colosimo
by HILLARY GOLDEN
Tuscany Decor Center
ALLYSON & GIUSEPPE COLOSIMO
While living in Italy, Allyson and Giuseppe Colosimo made a bold move across the Atlantic Ocean to start a new life and business. “The textiles we found in Italy needed an outlet in the United States. There were all these beautiful fabrics and trims that would be great to have in Louisiana,” says Allyson.
When the couple first opened Tuscany Decor Center, it was strictly to the trade and they were hesitant to expand into retail, due to a lack of product lines. Fifteen years later, in a new location in Belle Chasse, they now have the products and a store.
Giuseppe has experience in construction and painting, as well as an extensive knowledge of art and history, and he continues to work with plaster to create medallions, wall décor and mirrors. Tuscany Imports also offers antiques, reproductions, pillows, trim, fabric and various ornament-ation. In the wholesale area of the business, the company sells furniture. Clients can bring in photographs of a room and Tuscany will recreate the look, even seeking out the proper furniture and accessories. Beside consulting with clients, Allyson says they feel the company has an eclectic mix of things, particularly items people can’t find anywhere else.
The decision to open the store in Belle Chasse turned out to be beneficial not only for them, but also for their customers. By not opening in any of the high-rent areas in the city, they are able to have competitive prices. However, one of the difficult things Allyson and Giuseppe have dealt with in the new location is getting the word out. Most people aren’t familiar with the West Bank, says Allyson, and don’t really know of the variety of businesses there. Allyson jokes that they are the best-kept secret in New Orleans. But if Tuscany Decor Center keeps up the quality of work and items in stock, it will soon become a must-go destination for anyone decorating or designing a home interior. •
La Perrin / London Hill
ALLISON OGLESBEE & LYNN BLOSSMAN
After retiring from her career as a school teacher in 1980, Lynn Blossman focused her time on her children and grandchildren. But a few years later Blossman found herself getting that “empty nest” feeling again. “It was time for me to do something else,” says Blossman.
Six years later, Blossman’s store, La Perrin, is thriving in her hometown of Covington.
“I wanted to stay here because I wanted
to be close to my home and family,” says Blossman.
During a three-month store renovation that started in 2005, Blossman added another aspect to her retail store: a clothing line.
“I’ve always wanted to sell clothing, but my husband wouldn’t let me do it before because he said I would be wearing everything and wouldn’t have anything to sell,” says Blossman. However, after returning home from a cruise to Alaska, she decided it was time to open the clothing store, which she named London Hill.
“It couldn’t have happened at a better time because the very next week we had to fly to New York and visit the showrooms,” says Blossman. Allison Oglesbee accompanied Lynn on that first buying trip for London Hill and continues to help Lynn with the store.
With the new clothing store, which is located in the same space as La Perrin, the renovation had to be adjusted. Today, Blossman’s dream of having a store where people could shop for both clothing and furniture are finally realized.
In addition to her retail business, Blossman consults with clients on furniture placement and accessories for their home, then orders what is necessary. But she doesn’t just limit herself to local homes. “We have a large van to load up furniture and will drive to Florida or such,” says Blossman.
Although Blossman hopes one day one of her children or grandchildren will take over, she is happy with what she has accomplished with the two stores. ˆ