Bend the Trend is located on Lake Oconee in Greensboro, Ga., halfway between Atlanta and Augusta. The 19,000-acre lake and its 374-mile shoreline makes Lake Oconee the second largest lake in Georgia, and it’s considered one of the best fishing spots in the Southeast (it also attracts avid golfers). Homes around the lake vary from multimillion-dollar estates to weekend getaways, according to one local real estate firm, while the business district includes shopping, a movie theater and restaurants. Bend the Trend owner Susan Mason spoke with Home Accents Today about maintaining a business year-round in an area that attracts many tourists.
Who is your customer and what are they looking for?
Our customers are varied; some have just recently built or purchased a new home and others are simply trying to update their current décor. We often have customers tell us they are moving here and none of their current furniture “works” at the Lake, so they are looking to start from scratch. While we do have in-house design expertise, we welcome working with decorators. Decorators will stop at our store and take products out for a few days to “try.”
What percentage of your business comes from tourism?
Bend The Trend is in a resort area which is home to the Ritz Carlton at Lake Oconee, so we do get a lot of tourists. We love to hear customers come in and tell us that Bend The Trend is their first stop when returning to the Lake. We ship all over the country.
How do you balance your product mix for both tourists and locals?
We offer a wide assortment of products which include “Lake Oconee” branded gifts to home accessories and furniture. We ensure all items are properly packaged for shipping and travel.
Do you ship products for those who live far away?
Absolutely. We get this question quite often. We prefer to ship directly from the vendor and we are fortunate that many of our vendors will drop-ship directly to our customers. For those that don’t, we will ship from our location. Shipping has increased significantly since COVID.
What is your busiest month?
May continues to be our busiest month. Children are just getting out of school and people are heading to the Lake to take advantage of the weather. Calvin Smith, our creative director, does an outstanding job of ensuing the store is at its best and always looks new and fresh.
Your quietest month?
January is our quietest month. Everyone is still recovering from holiday spending. We use the down time to revamp the store from a winter wonderland and prepare for what will be acquired at the Atlanta Mart show in January.
What do you do to offset the quiet months?
Bend The Trend has been at our new location now for nearly two years. Since opening at this new location, we have been approached by various local non-profit groups to hold events. We’ve hosted several successful events benefiting the Boys & Girls club and the Humane Society, among others. We also host our own events. One recent event we dubbed “Books & Bubbles” where we showcased the amazing leather-bound decorative books for E. Lawrence. The owner, Eddie Lawrence, also was on hand to answer questions. It was a huge success. We also have hosted events including local chefs who shared tips and techniques on hosting dinner parties, and have had numerous wine tastings.