Something of Bev's celebrates 25 years in business
Forty years ago, Bev Dennis’ aunt gave her some small straw baskets. Dennis bought plastic flowers and filled them, and then she sold them all at a craft fair in Walnut Beach.
That’s when she knew she could sell her crafted creations.
Bev Dennis is now marking a business landmark: Twenty-five years running a Milford home-furnishing shop.
The Milford resident almost breathes a sigh of relief when she talks about the anniversary, which she officially celebrated with specials and refreshments at her 400 Boston Post Road shop this past weekend. She still has anniversary specials going on, however.
When she opened, Something of Bev’s was more unique in terms of its merchandise than it is today. She sells reconditioned furniture, much with that shabby chic look that is very “in” today.
There also are consigned furniture pieces, paintings, purses from Italy, specialty food items and decorative flowers.
Twenty-five years ago, her business model was somewhat unique. Today, there are other shops in town and beyond that have a similar flavor.
“Oh, yes, it was much easier before,” Dennis said. “Sometimes I think we’re lucky we’re here. Everything changes, and you have to be very accommodating to survive.”
And that’s what she’s done: Rolled away some items and rolled others in over the years, stayed on top of decorating, merchandising and technology to keep her Milford business thriving.
Dennis started her business years ago when her children were young and she needed to work out of her home. She made floral wreaths and baskets and sold them at shows, fairs and to individuals. She learned the ins and outs of running a business, and she established contacts and credit, so she was ready when the opportunity arose to open her own store.
One of her biggest customers went out of business — taking a toll on her sales — and that’s when she learned an antiques shop in a Boston Post Road strip mall was available. It was a perfect time to buy the small shop because her youngest child was just heading off to college.
She went to a bank and got a small loan, enough to take over the antiques store.
“My husband would have backed me, but I wanted to do this on my own,” Dennis said.
She made it “antiques with a twist,” adding her own items to the inventory that already existed in the store. There wasn’t another shop like hers, she said, and she was a hit, selling antiques, new home accessories, art and more.
Dennis is a testament to determination and self-promotion. She learned about business by doing it, and she perfected her art skills by reading and studying on her own.
“I’ve read a lot of decorating and antiques books,” she said, adding that she also stopped in to many antiques stores to chat with the owners about antiques.
To learn about flowers and decorating with them, she flew to London to take a one-day course, and the rest, she said, “is talking to people.”
Today her shop reflects what she likes and what people tell her they like.
There are charms and bracelets, handmade jewelry, Stonewall Kitchen Products and toiletries, such as handsoaps.
Rugs, wall hangings, beach-themed bags and decorations, plus the reconditioned furniture, complete the inventory.
The shop is filled with things that she would have in her own house.
When she and her nephew were working on a sign 25 years ago, he asked her what she was going to call her store. Was it going to be “Bev’s?” he asked.
She thought and said, “Well, it’s really something of Bev’s.”
And she settled on the name.
“Something of Bev’s.”
And under the shop name on her website is her shop’s motto: Have A Great Day — Not to Worry.