In the middle of the cavernous entrance room of the new Home Gallery furniture store, Dee Cassel stood with her fingertips on a massive dining room table crafted from reclaimed wood.
“It would take six people to lift,” she said. “Once it’s put down it’s set.”
The table was built from heavy brown barn wood, complete with polished, old nail holes. It will last its next owner for generations and any wear and tear will blend right in, she said.
Her husband, Lee Cassel, owner of Home Gallery, which also does flooring, previously ran the 46-year-old Decor Industries Inc., which he closed down three years ago. He sat at his desk Wednesday near the east-facing wall, immediately accessible to anyone wandering through the store.
Walking the perimeter of the 20,000-square-foot business, Dee Cassel paused beside couches, tables and bureaus ranging from modern to Amish styles, to discuss their origins.
Each furnishing is handpicked by the Cassels and motivated by customer opinions, Dee Cassel said. No matter what piece people walk out of the store with, it will be one-of-a-kind on the Kenai Peninsula, she said.
The Cassels opened their new store in downtown Kenai this May.
They knew they were filling a need for the community, Dee Cassel said. Home Gallery is the only dedicated home furnishing store in Kenai.
After taking a brief hiatus from the furniture business, it only made sense for the couple to go right back into selling pieces for the home, Dee Cassel said.
“Lee has quite a reputation here,” she said.
Service is their priority. As soon as a customer walks in, someone assists them, Dee Cassel said.
Lee Cassel said the home furnishing business offers the opportunity to develop relationships with his customers.
Since opening, locals have come Home Gallery recalling previous items Lee Cassel sold them, Dee Cassel said. In turn, Lee can often recall the day he sold it to them.
“He has an impeccable memory,” Dee Cassel said. “Oh, sorry, I am making him blush,” she said laughing.
The Cassels will hold a grand opening celebration beginning 3 p.m. at on Friday.
Kelly Sullivan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.