How two sisters turned a dream into reality, a store front into two shops with two choices, fresh home decor and beautifully styled fashions.

Merci Boutique and Fleur de Lis Interiors are two beautiful jewels in the crown of Chenoweth Square, a pair of stores connected not only architecturally but through the bonds of friendship and family alike. Sisters Connie Schleuning and Shorty Martin run the two shops while working along with five other ladies, all of them lifelong friends. "It is a lot of work, but we all have a great time," Shorty says.

Connie started Fleur de Lis Interiors in 2000, a place where she could offer her expertise in decorating and help her clientele decorate their homes in ways both stylish and timeless, supplying the full gamut, all the way down to the knobs on their cabinets. When the space next door came available in 2012, she considered expanding into the clothing boutique business but wasn't sure what her husband might say. "A friend of mine pointed out that I didn't really have to tell him, so we went for it," Connie says. "Initially we had to go outside and then go in the other place to get around, but it eventually just made more sense to create a doorway in the middle," adds Shorty.

Merci was conceived by these ladies as a place where everyone will find something to suit a broad spectrum of style, someplace that both mothers and daughters can come to find something beautiful to enhance their look. "Everyone can find something here," Connie says, "We always have our eyes peeled for all sorts of styles." For their dresses, gowns, hats, and accessories, the sisters go to market in New York City and Atlanta to keep their stock fresh and engaging. They take great pride in offering new items daily. Some favorite featured brands are Joie, Parker, Amanda Uprichard, Generation Love, Tyler Boe, Shoshanna, Dl1961, Paige Jeans, Frame, Alice and Trixie, Linda Richards, Splendid, Ella Moss, Rails, Love Sam, Vince Shoes, Joie Shoes, Cindy Borders Jewelry, Alexis Bittar, and Chan Luu. They also currently prominently feature a selection of extremely sharp and elegant Dior sunglasses.

When asked what they love most about their business, the sisters answer almost in unison that it's
the people that they meet. They form such a strong rapport with their visitors that they become fast friends and faithful repeat customers, based on the fantas- tic selections they find and the wonderful company that they encounter.

"We love to have a good time here,"
Connie says,
"and hopefully, it shows."

Posted on 2019-05-06 by Rocko Jerome | Photos by Dick Arnspiger