For most, marking a milestone of five years in a new business means popping the cork and sharing the bubbly. But for Brooke Pyfrom, founder and owner of a unique boutique furniture and home décor store in Sandyport called Oasis, celebrating survival of a first-time enterprise built around design meant doing what she does best – redesigning.
This time, she enlisted the help of a few friends.
“Interior designer Gabriella Curry is an amazing talent. She re-envisioned the look and feel of the store and focused on creating a feature wall,” said Pyfrom. “Dyah Neilson, who is an artist as well as the manager of the store, painted it by hand. She did an incredible job. I was far more nervous about the dramatic change from authentic rustic to bright and light than they were, but the investment was well worth it as we look toward the next five years and beyond.”
Pyfrom, who authors the popular weekly Life by Design column in the weekend edition of The Tribune, said the hardest part of transformation was saying goodbye to what she and her family, friends and now husband toiled so hard to create for the store’s original look.
“We spent literally every night and weekend for months, taking apart wooden shipping pallets, pulling rusty nails, sawing, shaping, repurposing the pallets to create counters, walls, cabinets and decorating them with nautical hardware,” Pyfrom explained. A guest log was filled with comments calling Oasis “the most beautiful” or “most unusual” or ‘most original” store in Nassau.
“And now we are told, go white, fresh, full of spring and light and we did and I think coming out of the lockdowns and the pandemic, the fresh look is what people are feeling – lighter, brighter and livelier,” said Pyfrom. “It’s uplifting.”
While the 2,300-square foot store make-over is one thing to celebrate, Pyfrom says sheer survival is even more important.
“We opened in 2017. Two years later, The Bahamas suffered the worst hurricane in its history, followed by two-plus years of COVID with high unemployment and hard times for many. For us, like everyone in retail, we faced a supply chain disruption,” Pyfrom said. She also faced restrictions, first from lockdowns, then as a new mother.
Accustomed to traveling the world to source unique or unusual items, or to commission custom-built pieces of extraordinary woods she would hand-choose, she had to rely on images in emails, zoom calls and online, then trust a shipment would be on its way when promised. One sealed container took 18 months from packing to arrival. Fortunately, all furniture and containers are treated before sealing, she noted. “But when you are dealing with a resort and they need 30 beds which we are bringing in for them under the Hotels Encouragement Act, they do not want to hear ‘Your beds are somewhere at sea.’ We know we are not alone in this boat, so to speak. In fact, we received the largest number of shipments in our history during recent weeks as backlogs caught up and we have two more containers on the way.”
For its fifth anniversary, Oasis is introducing new lines and offering loyal clients private personal shopping hours. The store is also hosting a special event by invitation only.
“Running a small business is a challenge, but it is also a world of opportunities, especially if you love what you are doing and you love pleasing the customer,” Pyfrom said. “We survived the hurdles of the first five years and we are proud that clients love having their Oasis.”