Retail and repose: Annie Selke launches retail shop and inn in Lenox

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This story has been modified to correct the mattress company's name to Hastens.

LENOX — A global, Berkshire-based textiles company is branching out by launching a retail store and a luxury bed-and-breakfast inn, both in the heart of downtown.

Annie Selke Cos., which employs 194 people, including 149 in Pittsfield, aims to test the retail waters for company founder and CEO Annie Selke's branded Pine Cone Hill and Dash & Albert Rug Co. products listed in her bimonthly, nationally circulated retail catalog launched last fall.

"We have the option to extend the six-month lease," Selke said. "Brick-and-mortar retail is not our main business, since we have 4,000 wholesale customers and designers who sell our product. With the focus on the inn, it seemed like the perfect time to try it; it's a jewel box of a space."

The compact 720-square-foot shop will display furniture, bedding, rugs, jewelry, tabletop, storage, decorative items, art and other products. Through a digitally oriented design concept, shoppers can access TV monitors and iPads to order items from the full Annie Selke collection for delivery to the store or drop-shipped to their home.

Workers were putting the finishing touches on the shop Thursday ahead of Friday's opening.

"Having a great local businesswoman like Annie Selke come to town is a major win for Lenox," said Kameron Spaulding, director of the Lenox Chamber of Commerce. "Her brand is exactly what Lenox is, and all of our other lodging and retail locations will benefit from being attached to her great name with these two new Lenox businesses. We could not be more excited to welcome them to town."

"It's a small store but we're packing it full of products," Selke said. "We're making the most of it. The store's back room mimics our product lab. There's one of everything we manufacture represented here."

Her companies' brands include more than 4,000 individual products. Customers will be able to inspect and select their choices, "bringing the catalog alive," as Selke put it.

"It's a showcase so people can touch and feel the product and get an understanding of what vibe and lifestyle we're presenting," she said.

It's not her first retail venture — an outlet store at Lenox Commons that closed in 2009 after a six-year run was relocated to the companies' 125 Pecks Road headquarters in Pittsfield, where it fills 3,000 square feet.

Selke and Chief Operating Officer Robert White agreed it would be a natural fit to open the store after they settled on purchasing the building across the street to house their new inn designed as a shoppable experience.

33 Main will open on Aug. 1 as a year-round, eight-room luxury B&B, including two pet-friendly rooms.

Selke's first venture into the hospitality field is slated to promote her brands through a "one-of-a-kind shoppable stay." The inn will be outfitted with company products such as beds, rugs, lamps and furniture available for purchase through menu cards located in each guest room or by crossing the street to the store.

Other luxury brands also will be showcased for potential purchase — mattresses from Hastens and tile from The Tile Shop, among others.

"It's a brand immersion experience," Selke said. "I'm not looking at it like I'm jumping into hospitality." Besides, she loves renovating houses, including her residences in Lenox and in Palm Desert, Calif.

33 Main had challenges because of its size, she acknowledged, but "you can't get better Lenox real estate; it's an architecturally distinguished building, which I care about."

"In an age where traditional brick-and-mortar retail is changing dramatically," she said, "it's about creating a brand-immersion experience like this where people can sleep in the sheets, use the pillows and rugs."

Small-scale events are planned for the inn, Selke said.

"It's somewhere where you can sit down, have a drink, enjoy our stuff and hopefully have a lovely time. It's not just a shameless self-promotion exercise," she said. "This is a first-of-a-kind, hopefully amazing sleep and hospitality experience."

In 1994, Selke, a Stockbridge native, created her business on an industrial sewing machine on the dining room table of her home in Richmond.

"As the owner of a lifestyle retail brand and someone who travels over 175 nights a year, I feel uniquely qualified to enter the hospitality world," she suggested. "33 Main will focus on creating a great night's sleep with graciousness, thoughtfulness and understated elegance."

Reservations are being accepted via e-mail and phone. Room rates range from $389-$629 during peak seasons and $329-$579 off-peak.

The Annie Selke Cos. is the umbrella for her key brands, Pine Cone Hill, formed to manufacture and sell furniture, curtains, quilts, bedding, pajamas and robes and Dash & Albert, established in 2003, offering family-friendly area rugs in a variety of durable materials, quality weaves and unique patterns.

In 2015, Annie Selke Luxe was launched as a collection of classic, luxurious bedding and accessories based on traditional European craftsmanship dating back several centuries, combined with modern luxury.

Selke's products are offered both online and are carried in nearly 3,500 stores nationwide, including Nordstrom, Neiman-Marcus and, locally, Paul Rich in Pittsfield and Hammertown Barn in Great Barrington.

In 2005, the company purchased Interprint's former headquarters on Pecks Road in Pittsfield for $2.7 million. The oldest structure on the 11-acre property, a former mill built in 1863, was originally used to manufacture Union Army uniforms during the Civil War.

In addition to the 149 employees there, there are 45 at a facility in India that oversees manufacturing there.

Last February, the Lenox Zoning Board of Appeals granted a special permit for 33 Main.

The 5,200-square-foot building was purchased for $762,500 from the Austen Riggs Center of Stockbridge, which had used it as a group home since 2004. Prior to that, it was the seasonal Lilac Inn.

Reach correspondent Clarence Fanto at cfanto@yahoo.com or 413-637-2551.

If you go ...

What: Annie Selke Retail Store, displaying and selling a wide range of her branded home decor products

Where: 36 Main St., Lenox

When: 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Mon.-Sat.; noon-5 p.m. Sunday

Info: Call 413-551-7624 or email, lenox@annieselke.com

On the web: annieselke.com; also on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram

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What: 33 Main, a year-round, eight-room luxury inn

Where: 33 Main St., Lenox

When: Opening Aug. 1

Rates: $389-$629 during peak seasons and $329-$579 off-peak

Info/reservations: Call 413-400-3333 or email innkeeper@thirtythreemain.com

On the web: thirtythreemain.com


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