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Flourishing Norman home and gift shop banking on move to unique, century-old Campus Corner location to help further solidify success
Even when potential shopping sprees turned into mere browsing sessions, the charm surrounding the various stores and venues unfailingly piqued Adler's young imagination.
"I remember Campus Corner being so vibrant and alive when I was growing up here. It was such a fun place to go with such a great atmosphere," Adler said. "It was disappointing to see how a lot of the area kind of died over the last few years, especially with all of the potential it possessed."
Adler, 29, is doing her part to help breathe life back into the historic shopping district, which has been undergoing a facelift via a revitalization plan put into motion five years ago by members of the Campus Corner Association.
The lifelong Norman resident recently relocated her store, Tulips, from an 1,100-square-foot space at 2356 N Interstate Drive in Norman to a 100-year-old building located in the middle of Campus Corner. The move came out of necessity due to Tulips' rapidly expanding clientele list, and because Adler had long been searching for the ideal shopping environment.
"Our old location was good when we opened the store (in 2003), but we simply outgrew the space. To be honest, we've been looking for the perfect place even before we originally opened," said Adler, whose shop is a diverse mix of bed, bath and kitchen furniture, gifts and accessories.
"In this age of strip (shopping) centers and malls, it's hard to find something so unique and with such charm as our new location. There is nothing else like it, and we are especially excited to be a part of Campus Corner and everything that is going on down here."
Tulips' new digs at 570 Buchanan Ave. recently underwent extensive renovations that transformed the former four-unit apartment complex, originally constructed in 1906, into a two-level, 2,500-square-foot facility with lots of versatility.
"It's such a warm and inviting atmosphere. Upstairs, we've got bedding - baby to king - and other types of furniture. Downstairs, you'll find more of our gifts, kitchen and bath accessories," offered Adler. "I would describe Tulips as a complete home and gift store."
H. Rainey Powell, managing partner of the Norman-based real-estate investment group 329 Partners, owns all or parts of 25 buildings located in the Campus Corner district. His vision and initiative helped make the revitalization project a reality, and the approach he has taken where 570 Buchanan is concerned is further proof of his dedication to the area.
Recognizing the property to be of historic value, Powell ignored suggestions that the building be demolished and a new structure take its place. Instead, he mapped out what he described as "a costly restoration plan" that began in October 2005 and was completed in early May. Although Powell would not disclose the cost of the plan, he said it was considerably more than that of a new building.
Red Sun Construction, another Norman-based company, was charged with redoing the building's foundation, repairing and adding dozens of floor joists, and replacing the wood floors on both levels.
"We also replaced the doors, redid the siding, put in all new electrical wiring and replaced the roof and trim. Other than that, the building was in pretty good shape," laughed Powell.
"The amount of money we spent on the place would probably raise a few eyebrows, but it is such a unique old structure and we felt it was worth renovating for the sake of history, as well as the charm it lends to the area."
Adler could not agree more. She believes the uncommon setting will prove tremendously beneficial to the continued success of Tulips, which also plans to offer a full-service Web site, www.tulipshome.com, and develop a catalog business directed at incoming University of Oklahoma students.