In recent years, business owners everywhere have had to reimagine and implement plans to keep their businesses alive and thriving under some incredibly difficult challenges.
Perhaps no one has done it better than Thomas and Kathy George, owners of Brick & Mortar Home, the home furnishings and accessories store the Georges first opened in a historic Lake Geneva home at 832 Geneva St. in 2009.
After purchasing the historic home, which the Georges christened “The House,” it was Kathy’s dream to build it into a home-décor business inspired by a favorite retail shop in Geneva, Illinois. “We moved in and evolved, and it just got better and better,” Thomas says. The Georges recently finished a major renovation on The House in 2021. “We really built something wonderful,” Thomas says. “It has the feeling of a Chicago loft, but it’s brighter, lighter and homier. We decorated it like we would our own home, and when people come in and say, ‘I could live here,’ there is no better compliment.”
In addition to the interior changes, the Georges have also partnered with a local café coffeeshop (details to be announced soon!) to feature a new seasonal patio seating area on the Geneva Street side of the building. “We want a place where people can slow down a bit,” Thomas explains. “If they buy something from us, that’s great too, but really, we want to just be a part of the community. We want to be a staple in the neighborhood, off the busy main street, where people can just sit, have a coffee and a bite to eat, drink a glass of wine or beer, and just enjoy the feel of Lake Geneva.”
In addition to the changes at their location at 832 Geneva St., the Georges are expanding their footprint at their other Lake Geneva location, 222 Center St., a furniture and design showroom, expanding the business across the alley to a newly acquired property at 252 Center St. which they will call the “Lofts at Brick & Mortar.” The new space will feature first-floor assembly space and a showroom for outdoor and specialty furniture, with a small retail storefront on Center St.
On the second floor of the new building, the Georges plan to add three short-term rental units, decorated with shoppable décor from Brick & Mortar Home. “Each unit will feature two bedrooms, a bathroom, a kitchenette, living area and 300-square-foot outdoor deck,” Thomas explains.
The Georges are dedicated to remaining an integral part of the Lake Geneva community for a long time, and they also support area commerce by hiring all local contractors and workers for their spaces, both new and old. “We are very fortunate,” Kathy says. “We have a wonderful staff of people and a team who really takes ownership and cares about their work.”
832 GENEVA ST., LAKE GENEVA, WI • 222 CENTER ST., LAKE GENEVA, WI 262-249-0210 • BRICKANDMORTARHOME.COM