For David Fruscione, having his own store was a dream. He spent a long time pondering the idea of his own place where he could showcase design finery. After almost two decades working as an interior designer for major retail brands including Banana Republic, White House | Black Market, Soma and Chico’s, his dream came true in Republic of Decor.
“It’s something I’ve wanted to do for years and years and years, so to make this fantasy a reality is wonderful,” he says of opening the store that gave him a crash course in doing business in Naples. “It took more than a year to find the location and sign the lease and there a lot of ups and downs in real estate here, but I love where I am.”
He isn’t alone. Republic of Decor is located in the building everyone is talking about on First Avenue North. It is one of precious few contemporary buildings in Naples, a structure that begs entry and fascination. The burgeoning Design District and the surrounding area is a destination for trendsetters like Mr. Fruscione. His store is a welcome addition in a town where many stores will still proudly proclaim painted porcelain monkeys and white wicker chaises at all the rage. Because his 1,500-square-foot space is brimming with stylish home furnishings and gifts, this hip habitat feels right at home.
“The building itself is modern and it feels urban, but I wanted it to feel like chic loft with warmer materials, draperies and wood floors from Europe,” he says. “It feels like you could live in it, which makes for a nice tension between the modern industrial look and the warm residential feel.”
In this, Mr. Fruscione has created an upscale store that also approachable. The onslaught of new residences in the area means more customers, all of whom will need to decorate those digs. And because the Design District has such a unique vibe, Mr. Fruscione envisions it as a Naples native neighborhood where residents will cultivate shopping preferences and spend time.
“My main goal is to have things you can’t find elsewhere in Naples, but I’m also really conscious of having a nice range of price points so there is a ton of stuff in the store under $100,” he says of the decorative accessories and gift items. “This is the eye candy: that last layer of things you’d put in your home along with great artwork, mirrors, accent furniture, tables, lamps, tabletop stuff and serving pieces and barware.”
There are vintage glass table lamps with handmade finials, pillows and tabletop serving pieces so customers can customize. Smaller items include coffee table books, gourmet treats and chocolates, candles and picture frames.
Poised to be the “it” place to stop on the way to a party or event where a hostess gift is a must, Republic of Decor is a product of its maker. Mr. Fruscione selects what he sells from vendors and artists whose work he respects and enjoys.
“There is a lot in my store that can be layered into coastal decor-heavy homes and I spend a lot of time hunting for unique pieces and I curate 50 different product lines,” says the man who went to architecture school in San Francisco. “People in Naples are thirsty for something fresh in a great gifting store that is fresh and on trend so they don’t have to drive to Miami and Palm Beach.”
Mr. Fruscione is ready for Republic of Decor to be part of the Naples community. He purposely chose to come to Naples when he could have opened a business in San Francisco or New York, where his family still resides.
“I was very fortunate to discover this location and that’s when I fell in love with the project,” he says. “I wanted to plant roots in Naples and give it a go here.”
Read more features with David from Florida Weekly here.