Design Meets Décor in Retail Alliance’s 2014 Retailer of the Year

Design Meets Décor in Retail Alliance’s 2014 Retailer of the Year

Mary Jane Klemt and her daughter Laura Klemt Slaymaker of Norfolk, Virginia, have localized the interior design process from start to finish. While running Mary Jane’s interior design business, the mother-daughter team realized the need for a local source of furnishings that matched their clients’ expectations for style and quality. Now, they’ve brought design and décor under one roof in a retail storefront, Serendip, and they’re making quite a name in the local small business community.

Serendip, winner of the 2014 Retailer of the Year Award presented by Retail Alliance, is Mary Jane and Laura’s décor store located in Norfolk’s historic Freemason District. The picturesque brick and ivy-covered store, opened in 2002, also houses Mary Jane’s design studio, making it a one-stop-shop for design services, furnishings and fine gifts. “Serendip customers working with Mary Jane have the benefit of one of the largest design libraries in Hampton Roads,” Laura says.

While the in-house (and in-family) collaboration between design and retail makes Serendip unique, it’s not the only thing that sets this local business apart from the big names in both industries. “We are considered an art gallery as well as a home furnishing store,” Mary Jane says. The store features art from more than 15 artists and lets these artists tell their diverse stories on the Serendip website.

During their 12+ years in business, Mary Jane and Laura have always put customers first, allowing them to connect with the community and make lasting relationships from the Freemason District and beyond. “We have customers that have been coming to us since the day we opened the door,” Laura says. “Our customers become like family, and they anticipate events like our annual Holiday Unveiling, drawing from all of Hampton Roads, Williamsburg, and North Carolina.”

Last year, Retail Alliance, a trade association for local retailers in Hampton Roads, named Serendip its 2014 Retailer of the Year – largely because of this commitment to customers. “Their success is based on their overall attention to customer service, merchandising, and proper inventory, as well as their involvement in the community and charitable organizations. That is why they are so deserving of this award,” says Ray Mattes, president and CEO of Retail Alliance. Serendip was selected for the award by a panel of judges from an array of more than 100 local businesses.

This year, Retail Alliance continues to celebrate the accomplishments of those in the retail industry in the greater Hampton Roads area of Virginia. The winner of the 2015 Retailer of the Year Award will be announced on May 28, 2015 in Downtown Norfolk.

For more information about the Retailer of the Year award and ceremony please contact Kelly Nahaj @ 757-455-9324 or email




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