Within almost seven years of opening her first store, The Nines, Lauren Zima just opened business No. 3 on Friday, Dec. 6: Lit Decor & Gift.

"It was amazing. We had a long line at the door," Zima said about the grand opening. "Some people cried. It was emotional."

Opening the store has been in the works for close to a year as Zima, who also owns The Nines and The Nines Kids downtown, had to order many products months in advance. She had hoped to open the new store earlier, but set the date back so nine parking spaces could be added in the back of Lit Decor & Gift.

Zima has been waiting to open a home decor store for many, many years.

"After we opened The Nines, I just wanted to expand into some of the other things I saw at market," Zima said. "I've always loved home decor and interior design."

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Lit Decor & Gift is connected to The Nines Kids. Instead of carrying apparel, shoes and accessories, it has just about everything else; including lighting and lit decorations, as the name implies.

Although the name is a little bit of a play on words, Zima said that it was about more than that.

"This was a dream of mine for years," she said, explaining that even though the thought of growing was scary, she received a few too many signs that she couldn't ignore. "It was just so much that I was like, 'OK, the world's telling me that I need to keep going and let my light shine.'"

Zima and her husband worked together to find the items the new store would carry. Her husband did all of the carpentry for the store, bringing her vision together.

"We have our wedding wall ... we've got pet gifts ... Lots of fun kitchen stuff ... Greeting cards," she said. "My vision for this store is much like The Nines. I wanted to have a little bit of everything."

"I love, and I've heard so many people say the same thing, they love going through a good greeting card section," said Lauren Zima, owner of Lit Decor & Gift. "It's just cool to see people come in and just bust out laughing. Everybody needs that." (Desiree Bauer / Tribune)
"I love, and I've heard so many people say the same thing, they love going through a good greeting card section," said Lauren Zima, owner of Lit Decor & Gift. "It's just cool to see people come in and just bust out laughing. Everybody needs that." (Desiree Bauer / Tribune)

She explained that her items range in style and price point, saying that "you can find some really cute gifts here for like $8, some even less ... or you can find a really beautiful piece of artwork for like $600." But, most of it is in the more affordable range, Zima said.

There are a variety of well-known items she carries, like Thymes Frasier Fir, a Thymes brand scent that Zima was told most people had ordered only online previously, and Mudpie, a brand that has "everything from cute kitchen items to throw pillows," Zima said.

To help customers find their perfect items that match their style, or just to find out what their style is, Zima said she has a few employees that have some home decor experience. She plans to train all employees, experienced or not, as they go, eventually having a design team on hand. Along with well-known brands and items, Zima also sells work from local and non-local artists.

"I've always been passionate about helping give artists a platform," she said, explaining why she carries their items. "I hope to be constantly bringing in new items from artists."

One of the locally-made products that Lauren Zima has featured in Lit Decor & Gift is Howard Soap Company. Kathrine Howard, owner of the company, is located in Greenbush and makes soaps, lotions, candles, and more. (Desiree Bauer / Tribune)
One of the locally-made products that Lauren Zima has featured in Lit Decor & Gift is Howard Soap Company. Kathrine Howard, owner of the company, is located in Greenbush and makes soaps, lotions, candles, and more. (Desiree Bauer / Tribune)

Future artists could create some work in her store, too. Zima's still working on that room, but she has a space that she plans to host "anything creative" in.

"I feel like when we're little we're taught to be creative and it's therapeutic (but) we don't do it enough as adults," she said.

Zima has more plans and ideas for Lit Decor & Gift too, saying that they will "always be evolving." This includes different classes, monthly late-night events, and more. She aims to get details and more information out about these additions in early spring of 2020.

More information

Location: 908 Washington Ave.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LitDecorandGift/

Phone: 218-844-8103

Hours:

  • Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
  • Closed on Christmas eve and Christmas Day
  • Closed early on New Year's eve, open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. New Year's Day