Old Lafayette Village store is a happy place with a French touch

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:50

    LAFAYETTE-La Maison Jolie is a happy place. That's what owner Jeanie Perugino strives for in her home furnishings business located in Olde Lafayette Village. "Customers come to the store on a dreary day, and they are uplifted. They feel happy when they leave," she said. Perugino has been a merchant at the village for several years, but only recently transferred to a space more than doubling her previous display area. The bright, well placed displays please the eye as well as the pocketbook. La Maison Jolie is a gift store with items ranging in price from as little as $5. It is also a home furnishing store with items ranging up to several thousands of dollars. There is a limited offering of gourmet jellies, jams and condiments, with the most popular being the Stonewall Kitchen brand, and Bella Cucina products featuring pestos, sauces and crackers. Unique, detailed items include decorator lamps, wall art, rugs, chandeliers, children's furniture and bedding. Also on sale is estate jewelry and new costume jewelry, an array of hutches and curio cabinets and eye-catching floral arrangements, both large and small. A favorite of the owner is the "wall art" decorating the open spaces of the store. The works have the detail and quality of expensive oil paintings, but at minimal cost. Perugino said that customer service, not usually available at a mall where "you are just one of a million people," is the most valuable offering of the store. She added, "We really go out of our way to try to help people. We carry items here you will not find in other stores." To keep the choice of merchandise up-to-the-minute, Perugino attends trade shows in places such as New York and Atlanta. At these international shows, displaying thousands of pieces from all over the world, she chooses the items that she feels will most please her customer base. She said, "There is something here for everyone." The interior decorating and consulting services offered by Perugino are personal and professional. She will consult regarding furniture placement, color selection and window treatment. She is also available to design entire rooms and provide the pieces needed to complete the picture. Perugino had been in corporate sales for ten years, and her decision to open a business was facilitated by her sales background. Going from corporate sales to retail was a challenge she faced with enthusiasm, and, with the help of her husband, Allan, accomplished her goal. A natural flair for decorating was enhanced by the interior design and floral arrangement courses she attended. She decided to leave a successful business in Mendham to begin anew at Olde Lafayette Village because she remembered coming there when her daughter, Ashley, was three and had great fun feeding the ducks in the tranquil atmosphere of the village. "I love the charm of the village, and there are more and more stores opening up," she said. Perugino is already anticipating Christmas, when she plans to have 25 lavishly decorated trees throughout the store. Customers visiting the store had much praise for La Maison Jolie. An individual from North Carolina said she makes it a point to stop whenever she's in New Jersey. The Perugino family has lived in Sparta for 18 years. La Maison Jolie is located in Building H. It is open every day from 10 a.m.-6 p.m., late Friday to 7:30 p.m. Call 973-579-5211.