New owners re-open Real Deals home décor and fashion retail store

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When Robyn Rogers Flak was helping people stage their homes for sale, she’d often go to Real Deals on Home Décor, a furniture, décor and accessories boutique on North Academy Boulevard.

On one of those visits, she learned that owner Caprice King was selling the shop.

“It was my life ambition to have a store,” Flak said. “I just didn’t know it would come so soon.”

Flak, her husband, Mark, and her daughter, Bethaney Rogers, took over the store’s franchise in January. After 2½ months of remodeling the shop from top to bottom, they celebrated a grand re-opening March 15.

They added a classroom, flower shop and booths where they created vignettes to show homeowners how they could put together items in styles ranging from modern and trendy to everyday farmhouse.

In one booth, a wall of clocks makes a graphic statement. In another, a display case brims with ceramic cows and chickens, crocks, rustic wood boxes and signs, and homespun pillows.

The flowers blossom in an area topped by an awning and staged to look like a French floral shop.

The store, open from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, also carries comfortable clothing such as casual tops, jeans, scarves and sandals.

Flak wanted the store to be a place where “somebody who is not quite sure what direction she wants to take in her decorating will feel welcome and comfortable. We can give them advice, show them different options and a variety of items to choose from, at down-to-earth prices.”

“Having been a military wife, when you get to a new place, you want to put things in to freshen it up, but you don’t want to spend a lot of money,” she said. “That’s how I wanted to help people.”

Flak learned interior design from her mother, June, who was also a military wife.

“She always taught us that, wherever we were, it had to feel like a home,” she said.

A photo portrait of June hangs on the wall behind the store’s checkout counter. June was going to be a partner and work in the store but passed away before the remodeling was completed.

Flak met her future husband, a now-retired Air Force officer, when he was stationed in her native Australia.

The Air Force brought the Flak family to Colorado Springs in 1989. For the first few years, Flak was busy raising the couple’s five children. In 1995, she started doing home staging and honing her design skills. When the opportunity to own the store came along, the children were grown, and she was ready.

Real Deals’ roots reach all the way to Twin Falls, Idaho, where in 2004 Carie Whittaker Kelsey, the youngest of five sisters, opened a tiny store selling home décor and accessories at the best possible prices.

It was an instant success, and in the next few years, her four older sisters opened décor shops in their communities. As their businesses grew, they added a line of women’s fashion known as RD Boutique.

Requests poured in from customers who wanted to open similar stores, and they decided in 2006 to franchise. Now with 79 Real Deals on Home Décor stores in the United States and Canada, the franchise is listed in Entrepreneur’s Top 500 and offers franchisees a lot of purchasing power.

The company provides vendor contacts to franchise owners, who curate the merchandise in their stores, and helps them create the personalized, mom-and-pop boutique shopping experience for which Real Deals is known.

“It will be like coming to a friend’s house, a place where the Real Deals team knows their customers well enough to send a personal email when they find a particular item they know one of their friends would love,” said Claudine Salmon, the shop’s marketing and social media director.

“We’ve got something for just about every taste,” Flak said. “I try to cover what’s popular — things that people have seen on HGTV. A lot of people watch those programs but don’t know how to put something together. They can come in with their idea, and we can help put it together.”

The most popular styles are farmhouse, classic travel such as trunks and big clocks, and a New York section where everything is black and white. Prices range from $5 to less than $100 for everything except furniture.

Rogers teaches classes Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings, showing customers how to refinish furniture using plaster paint and to create items they’ve seen on Pinterest. Fees for classes range from $25 to $40. Customers can call the store to register or get a class schedule.

“We wanted it to be more than just a store you came in and shopped at,” Flak said. “We wanted it to be a store where you could come in and experience.”

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