KJ Gleason says he often considers his job of interior design consultant more akin to a design therapist. He sits down with clients and asks tough questions, and much like an actual therapist, the answers to those questions are often found “inside you” and just need to be pulled out, he says.
Gleason has been with Edelman Design since 2019, when he joined after entering into an agreement with owner Tom Edelman. At that time, the store was known as Edelman Furniture but has since changed its name and revamped its image.
November will mark the 75th anniversary of the store that has become a staple on West Marshall Avenue in Longview.
Edelman’s father and uncle, Ray and Howard Edelman, started in 1947 what was first known as Greggton Furniture Co.
The store was across the street from where it is now at 3413 W. Marshall Ave. in a building that’s now home to Greggton Antique Mall.
In 1962, the Edelman brothers built a new building across the street and renamed it Edelman’s Greggton Furniture.
In 1987, Tom Edelman took over the 10,000-square-foot building, and it eventually took the name Edelman Furniture until it changed in 2019.
Gleason said Edelman was considering closing the store when he met him.
“I knew that in its current iteration it would not succeed — it was a dying thing,” Gleason said. “So in order to breathe new life into it, we made it more design focused.”
When comparing interior design to what therapists do, Gleason said he wants to help customers find what they want and help them make decisions so that when they’re not in “the counselor’s presence” they can make those choices on their own.
“I teach people and I try to help them learn how to approach their project, their room, their house, their entire scope of design — from the gate to the back gate … What is the experience you want to have here?” Gleason said.
He considers the process immersive with the details and intricacies of customer’s design preferences coming together with his expertise in design information.
Next to Gleason’s desk is a bookshelf that’s filled top to bottom with books on design, pattern, arrangements and more. He often utilizes the texts when assisting customers who may not know what they’re looking for, or find a certain style they like and want to know more, he said.
“Not everybody is going to buy here, and we get that. What we’re after is effecting a change, upping the scale of design that is being offered in our area and the approach towards product,” Gleason said.
On a tour through the store, Gleason stops and points out specific items of interest and explains how pieces can bring a room together, or how the arrangement could make a space feel larger or smaller than it actually is. While the store previously specialized in beds and even sold appliances and flooring at one time, it has shifted to cater to design and arrangement.
Despite the changes that have been made to the business, one thing has remained the same — its commitment to providing quality products and service to customers, Edelman said.
“We’re ‘gonna lead more toward quality than just appearance,” Edelman said. “We want to try to sell good quality furniture and … other areas like the bedding and other accessories.”
He added that the shift toward design was meant to follow the direction that customers and manufacturers seemed to be headed in. The fact that the store is ever-changing and progressing is just a reflection of what the store started out with, he said.
“It’s always been trying to do a good job with the best that we can find and the best resources,” Edelman said.
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