Donald St. Pierre & Robert Turner

Donald St. Pierre & Robert TurnerDonald St. Pierre, an accountant, fulfilled his longtime wish to open up a small business when he bought the Silk Road Collection more than two years ago. St. Pierre still works as an accountant, but his “other job”—owning and operating the store—satisfies the artistic and adventurous side of his personality.

At least twice a year, St. Pierre travels to China where he hand-selects items to sell in New Orleans. Featuring furniture and home accessories from China, the store has nine rooms—each one filled with unique treasures—to explore.

Customers will find cabinets, tables, shelves, armoires and everyday household items, mostly from the Qing Dynasty, which ruled 1644 to 1911. And there’s furniture from Tibet, Indonesia and Japan.

In the spirit of rebuilding the city, St. Pierre says that his business had to somewhat reinvent itself. The clientele used to consist of an even split of locals and tourists, but now the shop has played a role in helping New Orleanians redecorate their homes.

“Some people come in to select an accent piece, which is a good way to build excitement around a room,” he says, while others select functional items that add an exotic flair to a home.

Silk Road Collection especially appeals to those who travel and wish to travel. “We get a lot of people who want to talk about their trips,” St. Pierre says. The store has recently set up a Web site—www.silkroad—where people can access photographs and descriptions of the pieces in the store.

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