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7. Because We're Open for Business

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Haus Interior, opened in June 2009
250 Elizabeth Street
Previously Kipepeo, opened March 2006; closed December 2008

Nina Freudenberger, owner:
I’m an interior designer for high-end private clients. But my friends were always asking for design ideas, so I opened a store that caters to a lower budget. I got a lot of blank stares when I said I was opening right now, but the recession has enabled me—I was able to bargain down my rent and sign a short-term lease. This store wouldn’t have been an option two years ago.

I opened in the summer, and it’s been a challenge predicting what will sell during the holidays. I bought merchandise specifically for the recession, so I’m not sitting on inventory like a $600 cashmere travel blanket. Business has gone surprisingly well. August was a little tough, but winter is my season.

As told to Christine Whitney and Lauren Murrow.


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