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Porter Furniture Offers Aesthetic Living On A Budget
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Jordan Plumb, owner of the newly opened boutique furniture store on North Third Avenue, Porter, features solid, imported furniture, some of which is made from reclaimed materials. Pictured, Plumb arranges the hand-stamped throw pillows imported from the east. - photo by Kim Van Meter/The Leader
When you first walk into Porter, the new furniture store on North Third Avenue in Oakdale, the first thought when your gaze lights on mango hardwood trays and big, colorful pillows hand-crafted from India might be, “this place looks filled with beautiful stuff I can’t afford” but owner Jordan Plumb is ready to assure shoppers that even in a tight economy, affordable and chic don’t have to be enemies of one another.Plumb, formerly a Modesto resident, made Oakdale her home four years ago along with her grandparents and mother. Today, at 24, she’s realizing her dream of owning her own business and for someone so young, she seems to have what it takes to be a success.For one, she has retail in her blood, as her father used to run an antique store and restoration business that, in her youth, afforded her the opportunity to travel to places such as London on buying excursions. She knows the import business and she also knows you don’t have to charge “Bay Area prices” to get a sophisticated look.The key, she said, is finding importers who place an emphasis on the quality of their product without feeling the need to gouge the customer base.To that end, Plumb found three different importers — after a long and exhaustive search — that fit the criteria she had in mind.“None of the stuff I have is mass produced. Everything is different and unique,” Plumb explained. “It’s not your typical furniture store, but more of a specialty store. If something sells I can’t just go order a new one. So, it’s more like a boutique furniture store. I wanted to complement what was already going on in town. People know Oakdale for its very unique stores.”While growing up Plumb never imagined she’d go into the furniture business. In fact, as a child she found the buying process quite boring but she quickly discovered it’s a whole different experience when your name, reputation and livelihood are attached to the enterprise.“I never thought I would do this but I’m really enjoying it,” she said. “I’d like for the store to become a destination spot for shoppers coming from the Bay Area and going up to Pinecrest.”Plumb, with the help of her family, transformed the commercial storefront into the picture of sophisticated, big-city elegance by…tearing it down to the basics.“It took a year to find the spot on this street. I knew this was where I wanted to be and when it became available, I couldn’t wait,” Plumb said.But first, she had to strip the walls, where she found beautiful brick work, walled up windows, and a high ceiling that had been covered with a false ceiling.“This building is 110 years old,” Plumb said. “It’s full of character and it fits perfectly with the kind of furniture I sell.”And Plumb isn’t exaggerating. With an emphasis on raw materials, the reclaimed, weathered wood of the thick, solid furniture currently on display gives the entire place a high-end sophistication that smacks of New York culture and Bay Area elegance — without the accompanying exorbitant price tag.“The biggest compliment I’ve received from people is that my pricing is very reasonable for the quality,” she said.And she’s always on the hunt for unique treasures. Such as the framed wall art made of subway signs from the early 1900s.“They’re more like conversation pieces than just something to put on the wall,” Plumb said.Porter is located at 136 No. Third Ave. in Oakdale.For more information, call 322-3416.