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Alliance SBDC News

Refurbished Treasures Grows to Three Locations

In 2018, Lori Fornero began her journey into a new career as small a business owner. Working closely with the the Illinois SBDC at the Starved Rock Country Alliance, Fornero has taken her business to an entirely different level since we last interviewed her in October 2020. She has grown her business from one location to three over the past six months.


From her Streator location she has built a reputation for working one-on-one


with clients to transform family heirlooms and other pieces of furniture into dream pieces. For her clients, distance as no obstacle. She has had customers drive upwards of two hundred miles to buy retail products from her storefront. She works closely with clients to match their style, needs, and inner passion through their own creativity. She has moved from just being a vendor inside the Urban Soak Shoppe to now leasing her own retail space and workshop.


In November of 2020, she joined a group of vendors in leasing storefront space at Creative Gemz Craft Boutique in Gardner, Illinois right of Route 66. Expanding her business into Grundy County has brought a new market of clientele into the boutique and her own personal portfolio. One short month later, Lori opened her third retail space inside the Vintage Made Modern (Home Grown Collective Arts Market) warehouse near the I&M Canal in Ottawa, Illinois.


Lori has a knack for taking things that may be old and tired and turning them into something fresh and beautiful. She began her business by refurbishing pieces of furniture and selling them inside her shared storefront on Main Street in Streator, Illinois. Using products such as Dixie Belle chalk mineral paint she is able to turn each piece into a true work of art.


Lori also developed as a retail supplier. Recently promoted as an Elite retailer for the Dixie Belle Paint Company, Lori guarantees quick shipping from her online shop and product availability to her clients that visit her 3 retail locations. Her very popular Facebook Live streaming has helped to expand demand for her retail products. She has now extended her offerings with brands like Re-Design with Prima, Hokus Pokus, Retique-It Liquid Wood, and Zibra brushes. She welcomes clients to stop by and visit her newly opened “paint and create station” to try out various products before purchasing.


Lori credits the assistance she has received from Amy Lambert, Executive Director of the Illinois SBDC at the Starved Rock Country Alliance, for guiding her and teaching her how to effectively grow her business and continue to flourish in her passion for her art. “It is great to know that every time I have an opportunity for growth, Amy is just a phone call away."

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