By Kristina Houck
Grace-Ful Living Home Furnishings opened just three months ago in Encinitas, but owner Mark Matheson has been in the furniture business for more than 20 years.
After working at a Los Angeles-based furniture store for several years, he opened his own store, Metropolis, in San Diego in 1993.
“We had a really good reputation and we were around for years,” Matheson said. “A lot of people know us from that store.”
The furniture business was one of the industries hit hardest by the recession. Metropolis, which first opened in Hillcrest and later opened in Encinitas, closed its second store by the beginning of 2010.
When the economy began bouncing back, so did Matheson.
In 2012, he opened Grace-Ful Living Home Furnishings in North Park. Named after his 10-year-old daughter, Grace, the store relocated to Encinitas in the fall.
“There seemed to be a niche that wasn’t being filled: a price-driven store that was style driven as well,” he said. “Most moderate- to low-end stores look moderate- to low-end. I wanted to give the feel of a high-end store with moderate pricing.”
The new showroom is larger than 5,000 square feet. Specializing in bedroom, living room and dining room furniture, the store’s ceilings have been stripped down to the rafters to highlight the collection featuring distressed metal, exotic wood and other hard surfaces combined with fabrics.
With the catchphrase “Style You Can Afford,” Matheson enjoys looking for trends and arranging the pieces on the floor.
“You have a feel for it,” he said. “It’s being able to put the whole picture together that works for me.”
Matheson didn’t always work in the furniture business. He worked as an analyst at a Certified Public Accounting firm for five years before he transitioned to the industry.
“I didn’t really like being an analyst at a CPA firm. I wanted to be an entrepreneur,” Matheson said. “I met this guy just out of happenstance. He had a very successful store, but he needed help organizing it.
“He was very talented design-wise; he just needed help-business wise. He taught me the furniture industry and I taught him how to run his business better.”
After six years at Los Angeles-based Civilization, Matheson returned to his hometown of San Diego to open his own furniture store.
“I’m glad I learned about numbers because it helps me run this business and it kept me open longer than most of the stores in the 2008-2009 period,” said Matheson, who lives in Mission Hills. “But I’m passionate about this business.”
Grace-Ful Living Home Furnishings is located at 1044 North El Camino Real, Suite B in Encinitas.
For more information about Grace-Ful Living Home Furnishings, call 619-399-3460 or visit northcountysandiegofurniturestore.com.
Note: Business spotlights are developed through this newspaper’s advertising department in support of our advertisers.