SBW: Urban Country Celebrates Its Local Roots

One of Urban Country's in-store vignettes designed with products from Lee Industries, photo via Urban Country

This is Small Business Weekly, a recurring feature in which we’ll spotlight a small, independently owned business in Bethesda or Chevy Chase. Got a business you think we should check out? Drop us a line at desk[at]bethesdanow[dot]com.

There are probably about 10 different businesses that operate under the roof of Rachelle Roth’s Urban Country showroom.

Her Bethesda Row store (7117 Arlington Rd.) sells thousands of pieces of furniture, home accessories and other furnishings across different categories. But the store also functions as the home for an interior design business for private homeowners and clients in the design industry.

With a core group of 14 employees and a 6,500-square-foot showroom, Roth’s small business has grown significantly since she and her husband started it in 1991 across the street from the Tastee Diner.

“We just try to stay creative, different and one step ahead. It’s very visually stimulating,” Roth said. “I love creating and that’s my forte.”

From Feb. 9 to Feb. 16, Urban Country will take part in the national “LEE Loves Local” sale from furniture supplier Lee Industries. All orders on Lee products at the store that week will get a 10 percent discount and Urban Country will host an all-day open house reception on Tuesday, Feb. 11 showcasing some of its favorite stuff.

Roth now runs the store with the help of her two daughters, Jillian and Sascha. Less foot traffic in Woodmont Triangle (the store used to be at 7801 Woodmont Ave.) and recruitment from Federal Realty brought the store to the corner of Bethesda Avenue and Arlington Road in 2008.

A few months later, the recession hit.

“It was kind of scary, but the good news here is we’re a creative bunch and if Plan A doesn’t work, you go to Plan B,” Roth said. “We’re good at that and we’re good at what we do.”

Every vignette is carefully choreographed with the help of a visual director. Roth and staff take home hundreds of photos from market shows to figure out which pieces should go where and with which other pieces.

And Roth, a Bethesda resident, said she’s grateful for the client base that keeps coming back through the years.

“We have a great area here,” Roth said. “People say, ‘Well what do you buy?’ To me, people buy what they like and I think people love what we do here.”

Photo via Urban Country

Previously featured in Small Business Weekly: Sports Extra | Gallery St. Elmo | Cera Wax Studio


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