When Antonio Holder purchased Decorum Gifts in April 2020, it felt like the stars had aligned. He’d been intrigued by the building space at 126 North Washington for months, dreaming of opening his own business in that spot.
“I love our downtown Spokane,” Antonio shared. “There’s a ton of awesome business owners and a ton of beautiful features. I’ve always wanted to be a part of it.”
When he got word that the prior owner was ready to retire, he jumped at the opportunity to make the space his own. He brought in new inventory and rebranded the store, adding his own unique twist and vibe. What didn’t change was the name, as the store was already so popular in the community.
Little did he know how long the COVID-19 pandemic would last and how it would impact his new business. Antonio figured they’d be able to survive for a few months, then Spokane’s big events like Bloomsday, Hoopfest, and Pig Out in the Park would drive in much-needed foot traffic. When those events didn’t happen, Antonio quickly pivoted to focus on online sales.
Within the store itself, he remodeled and freed up 1,000 square feet of space, which he used to bring in five vendors of his choice. “I’m really big into local and supporting the Spokane community,” Antonio said. “I know there are brands that have been affected by the pandemic. They can’t afford a lease or a building, so I wanted to give them the opportunity to sell their inventory.”
This sharing of space has created an amazing local vibe, feeling of togetherness and many loyal customers.
Antonio is proud of how the entire downtown business community has rallied together during the pandemic. “Businesses aren’t competing. We’re bringing value to each other in any way possible,” he shared. “I send people to my neighbors; my neighbors send people to me. We’re doing everything we can to stay afloat.”
Antonio grew up in Spokane and was raised by his mom. She was an extremely hard worker but lacked the entrepreneurial spirit. Seeing all the hours she put in for someone else sparked his entrepreneurial dreams at a very young age.
When he was in the seventh grade, Antonio and his buddy would sell candy from the dollar store out of their locker. There was a concession stand inside the school, and they would undercut their prices by 50 cents. That brought them quite a bit of traffic. School staff soon grew suspicious – thinking they were selling something other than candy – but when the principal opened their locker for a search and candy spilled out everywhere, that cleared up any doubts!
From there he had a small clothing brand and even dabbled in network marketing. Knowing that the college path wasn’t the best route for what he wanted to accomplish in life, Antonio landed a job in car sales after high school, learning everything he could about customer service. In 2018, he opened his first business: Pro Mobile Auto Detail. He quickly expanded the business, which freed up his time to pursue other ventures like Decorum.
Despite the challenges of the past year, Antonio has remained positive. “If you can make it through this pandemic in the business world, then you can probably make it through anything,” he said. He’s looking forward to being at 100% capacity, hosting wine events, and seeing the downtown area come to life again. “The more people downtown, the more people shopping around, the more people allowed within buildings, the better it is for all of us.”