Nelson Designs expands into former Norwalk Furniture & Design space

UPDATED — A former Norwalk Furniture & Design neighbor is ready to take its space.

Nelson Designs, which has been in the Shops at Tallgrass since late 2009, is expanding there in March.

“It’s another 2,000 square feet, which we definitely need, and it’s a lot closer to 21st Street so the visibility is going to be great,” owner Sharon Nelson says. “That’s a big part of it.”

Nelson opened her design business in the heart of the economic crisis “when the rest of the world was saying, ‘You are absolutely crazy,’ but I think it’s worked,” she says.

Her first store was 1,400 square feet.

“Of course, we opened it when the economy was horrible, so I wasn’t too sure how it was going to go.”

Within a year, though, she more than doubled her space to 3,158 square feet.

Now, she’s out of room.

For instance, in the area where she sells wood and tile flooring, Nelson says, “It is so jam-packed in there with our fabrics for drapery and upholstery, people don’t know what all we sell.”

The business now has five designers instead of the two that the store started with.

Nelson had been running the business out of her home initially.

Supportive customers, including some who on their own decided to look for space for a store, encouraged Nelson to open retail space.

“With moral support like that, we opened up.”

Nelson says she’s had just as much support from Wichitans since then.

“They’ve been wonderful,” she says.

Nelson in turn is having a great time.

“We’re having a lot of fun. We’re living our dream.”

That’s a good thing since she just signed a long lease with April Reed and Jerry Jones of Slawson Cos., the Tallgrass developer.

“Most people retire,” Nelson says of reaching a certain age. “I open stores! I am insane.”

A third new store in four years is not a strong argument against that.

“We just can’t get enough of this moving stuff.”