Marie Deleris moved to California from France nine years ago. With a background in business law, she found herself at a crossroad in life. Her new friends quickly noticed her sense of style and décor and her knack for mixing items to create a fun and colorful environment. “I decided to take a chance and open a decor store as a reflection of my own style,” Marie reflects. “It has been one of the best and most challenging decisions of my life.”
Entrez! Open House is Marie’s first experience in retail. She opened her first store in Oakland, California in 2006. The neighborhood, which didn’t have much going on at the time, has since bloomed into an artsy and eclectic business district. In 2009, Marie opened a second location in Walnut Creek. When it came time to renew her lease for the Oakland location, Marie made the difficult decision to close her first store and stick to the single, smaller space in Walnut Creek. As things usually have a way of working themselves out, Marie was able to start a second business in 2010 called Home & Order, where she offers organizing and decorating services.
Marie curates most of her store, hand picking items that she would happily use in her own home (and many times does). She is admittedly picky when it comes to selecting which brands to carry in her store. “I don’t follow trends, I just go with my gut” says Marie. What’s most important for her is the design and quality of the products. Entrez! Open House specializes in whimsical, yet useful house ware items and gifts. They offer unique products like cheese graters shaped like hedgehogs and toothpick holders that resemble magic bunnies. “I grew up surrounded by the brands I sell now, so I know them very well.”
Marie is also very selective when it comes to hiring employees. When someone comes to the store for an interview, she watches to see how they react to the products.“I think the passion, respect and love we have for our products, and the designers and manufacturers is really what sets us apart and shows that we care.”
Marie and her staff go above and beyond for their customers in more ways than one. They lend furniture to clients who can’t get their orders in time and go out of their way to stay open for people needing last minute gifts. If Marie can’t fulfill a client’s request, she’ll suggest other local businesses that can. “I would rather have my clients be happy than make a sale, so if I think they are making a mistake in their choices, I always speak out.” What Marie loves most is when a client comes in and tells her that the 5 minutes she spent in the store was the break she needed from her day. “This is how I always wanted my store to be, an inviting place where people could come and get a colorful and beautiful dose of retail therapy.”
As an independent business owner and as a consumer, Marie supports local independent businesses whenever she can. She feels that these businesses are important to the diversity of her community and without them, the local flavor, heritage and funkiness would get lost. She also enjoys getting to meet the people she does business with locally and talking to them about what’s going on in the community. That level of customer service is not always present at the big boxes.