Lee Loves Local at Urban Country

Those who read my blog with any regularity might have noticed that until just recently, I’ve never really had any advertising on my site. Not for lack of interest—it’s just that I don’t feel comfortable with sponsors that aren’t firmly ensconced in DC’s design community.

That’s where Urban Country comes in. A fixture in home furnishings for the DC area in general and Bethesda Row in particular, I was beyond thrilled to be the media partner for its Lee Loves Local sales event. Having written about Urban Country in the past, and visited the Lee Industries showroom in Hight Point, NC, many times, this was a perfect fit. And the bonus for this current event, which runs through Sunday, Feb. 16, is that it celebrates independent retailers.

Urban Country's principals celebrate Tuesday's Lee Loves Local Open House. Seated, left to right: Amy Dunn, Hallie Walker, Amy Gudelsky. Standing, left to right: Owner Rachelle Roth, Terri Johnson, Jeff Kaye, co-owner Sasha Roth, Julie O'Brien

Urban Country’s principals celebrate Tuesday’s Lee Loves Local Open House. Seated, left to right: Amy Dunn, Hallie Walker, Amy Gudelsky. Standing, left to right: Owner Rachelle Roth, Terri Johnson, Jeff Kaye, co-owner Sasha Roth, and Julie O’Brien

“It’s part of a larger push for the economy, and how important it is for people to shop local,” owner Rachelle Roth told me during the store’s open house today. This is the first year Lee Industries, a powerhouse in eco-friendly, comfortable upholstered furnishings (I have one of their chairs in our bedroom), has created an event like this for its local retailers. “We’re fighting all the time with Internet shopping,” Rachelle says. “Hopefully, the Internet won’t put us out of business.”

With six interior designers on staff who can guide your choices, that seems unlikely. Plus, Urban Country always discounts the manufacturer’s suggested retail price by 20 percent, and this week, with Lee Loves Local, they’re taking an extra 10 percent off, resulting in a 30 percent discount from MSRP.

Lee's furnishings, such as this chenille sofa, leopard-print swivel chair and tufted velvet ottoman, fit well in most spaces, from traditional to contemporary.

Lee’s furnishings, such as this chenille sofa, leopard-print swivel chair and tufted velvet ottoman, fit well in most spaces, from traditional to contemporary.

This Temo-2 Cushion sofa, which sells for $3,240 with the 20 percent discount, gets an extra 10 off.

This Tempo-2 Cushion sofa, which sells for $3,240 with the 20 percent discount, gets an extra 10 off.

Valentine’s Day is the anchor for Lee Loves Local, and visitors to today’s open house got goodie bags and heart cookies—not to mention heart-shaped plates for other nibbles.

(Is that the prettiest hummus platter you've ever seen??)

(Is that the prettiest hummus platter you’ve ever seen??)

Lee is such a strong brand at Urban Country, that among the 400 manufacturers they represent, it accounts for a solid 40 percent of its sales volume. That really says something.

“They’re the best out there. They’re the best value for what they do,” Rachelle says. The family-owned company started with a father, two sons, a daughter, and a mom who handled the fabrics. “It’s a local, home-grown business, and they really get it.”

The Turk chair, $2,018 at the 20 percent discount. Take 10 percent off of that this week.

The Turk chair, $2,018 at the 20 percent discount. Take 10 percent off of that this week.

The hair-on-hide Serengeti Chair, $2,274 before the 10 percent discount.

The hair-on-hide Serengeti Chair, $2,274 before the 10 percent discount.

“We don’t even have to put it on sale. It sells itself,” Rachelle adds. “They’re on target. They know what they’re doing, and the customers respond to it.” She noted that there’s usually eight sofas on the floor at any given time, which are switched out regularly, but two frames by Lee Industries have remained the same for years—workhorses that sell again and again.

The 1276 model had been on the floor for seven years. The frame can be made as a chair, love seat, sofa or sectional, and its style is timeless. It normally sells for $3,660, but take 10 percent off of that this week.

The 1276 model had been on the floor for seven years. The frame can be made as a chair, love seat, sofa or sectional, and its style is timeless. It normally sells for $3,660, but take 10 percent off of that this week.

The Zora ottoman (LOVE those acrylic legs!) sells for $3,290 before this week's discount.

The Zora ottoman (LOVE those acrylic legs!) sells for $3,290 before this week’s discount.

Lee is becoming known for building ottomans upholstered with recycled rugs. This one is $1,799 before this week's discount.

Lee Industries is becoming known for building ottomans upholstered with recycled rugs. This one is $1,799 before this week’s discount.

Rachelle reported the Lee Loves local event to a Bethesda business consortium on Monday, and hopes to create a “Bethesda Row Loves Local” event in the future. “I’m going to spearhead this push to raise awareness,” she says. “It’s important for people to shop local, and recognize that these businesses feed the economy—they’re different from the big-box stores.”

Stop in to Urban Country this week and see just how different it is.

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