New Vision's Re-Loved Home FurnishingsFeb 23, 2017 12:00PM ● By Jordan Venema
When Vintage Meets Modern
By Jordan Venema
Photo: Tamara Orth
New Vision’s Re-Loved Home Furnishings is more than a Fresno attraction; it’s also one of the city’s hidden gems. That seems fitting, since the store deals in mid-century furniture and home décor, those diamonds in the rough rescued by owners Veronica Mechem and Amber Gorman, and then transformed into practical and interactive portraits of art.
“We’ve been here almost three years,” says Mechem, “and it’s been a whirlwind. We’re best friends, and our daughters are best friends, and we both were stay-at-home moms, and we were bored and wanted to do something.”
While the decision to start a business sounds both whimsical and inevitable, nothing about the product appears accidental. Every mid-century piece is professionally staged, put in its proper place, creating a store that looks straight out of the set from the popular television show “Mad Men.”
“Which is funny,” Mechem says with a laugh, “because I’ve never seen an episode.” If anything, the similarity was unintentional. They don’t claim to be designers or tastemakers, or fashion-forward trendsetters. They’re just friends who happen to work well together.
“We don’t pretend to be anything that we’re not. We’re just two moms who have an eye for beautiful furniture. We go shopping and pick up whatever is good quality and looks beautiful to the eye and is functional,” Mechem adds.
Beautiful to the eye, but also comfortable on the derriere: the furniture in New Vision’s is staged like a comfortable and livable living room, just from another era.
“Our shop has evolved in a different direction since we first opened,” Gorman says. “We used to do a lot more upcycling, but now we are kind of known for our midcentury ‘50s and ‘60s pieces. So we’re really focusing more on that direction. It is like stepping back in time, I guess.”
Before the store found its niche, the friends began a home staging business that targeted the average homebuyer. As Mechem explains, “while everybody loves their stuff, not everybody has it put together.”
“We got busier and decided that we needed more furniture,” explains Mechem, who began using her own furniture, Gorman’s furniture, family’s furniture. “We were using secondhand furniture and upcycling, and we were going to every secondhand store here that we could possibly find, and that’s when we realized we needed our own store.”
“So we just kinda rolled the dice,” says Mechem. “We opened the doors and our kids set up our Instagram account,” laughs Gorman.
“Yeah, we had a lot of 12-year-olds following us at first,” adds Mechem.
The shift from staging to selling took an adjustment. Gorman and Mechem aren’t appraisers, and learning to price a period piece didn’t come without some regrettable mistakes.
“Yes, we definitely learned a lot,” admits Gorman. “We look back at some of what we sold and can’t believe we let it go for $60.”
“We’re not experts by any means,” agrees Mechem, “but half the fun is the thrill of the hunt, so we try to be fair and make our money back. If we buy it inexpensively, we try to flip it inexpensively.”
So while the friends agree they aren’t experts in the field, they maintain a very simple standard for what they will and will not sell.
“If I wouldn’t want it in my house, then I wouldn’t bring it in the store,” says Mechem, who adds that sometimes a piece of furniture just needs new context to “make it take on a whole new life. We kind of think like we’re still home staging, and though it might not necessarily be my or Amber’s style, we buy whatever we find beautiful, then make it all work together.”
Indeed, their pieces work together in ways that emulate paintings, framed and composed, every line and color complementing and completing the finished product: a kind of art, but a home. Sometimes, that means one piece omitted can change composition – but that won’t stop them from making a sale.
“Yep, we had a customer from the Bay Area come in, and they wanted some speakers that weren’t for sale, but she showed up and was very persistent. She showed us the Instagram picture and said, ‘I want everything in the picture,’” recalls Gorman.
“Including the speakers,” adds Mechem, laughing.
In the end, they do it for the customers.
“We have people coming from everywhere,” says Gorman. “Palm Springs, San Francisco, Los Angeles – every week we have visitors from out of town.”
“Our customer base is crazy,” adds Mechem. “They’re so dedicated, it’s overwhelming, really.” But in all the right ways, Mechem assures. “Our customers, they really are like our friends.” •
New Vision’s Re-Loved Home Furnishings
2569 W. Shaw Ave., Fresno
Open Tuesday-Saturday, 11 am-6 pm
Follow them on Instagram @newvisionreloved
Find them on Facebook