Demeter Home opened towards the tail-end of the pandemic in September of 2021 in a relatively small space. “When I opened, it was slow because I had to get my name out there. Starting off on the small side of the building, it was hard to get people to notice that there was a new business in town,” says Alex Athanasiadis, owner of Demeter Home.
Alex says that when he opened, people were struggling to find pieces for their home. “I wanted to bring the fun back to home decor,” he says.
Fast forward less than a year, and in May of 2022, Demeter Home nearly tripled in size, taking over the adjacent spaces. “It was the perfect opportunity for me to expand,” Alex explains. The additional space gave him room to offer larger furniture pieces, including couches, tables, desks, and a greater variety of products in general.
Now, Alex happily shares that most of his sales are from people coming into the store and that traffic has increased significantly since he expanded his space. He says that his online sales are picking up, too, and every product that is available in the store is also available for purchase online. “I’m really big in Texas and Alabama,” he laughs.
Another element of his business is design projects and project management. His design project typically consists of helping customers find a new piece that they’ll love and then working with them to help style it and organize new pieces with old pieces. His project management consists of overseeing the whole design process, including hiring the contractor, painter, etc., mapping out the timeline, and ensuring that projects are completed on time.
Alex has an extensive background in luxury fashion and project management, so incorporating this element into his business was relatively seamless. He worked for Giorgio Armani in Washington DC for eight years before moving to New York City to become the operations manager of the Giorgio Armani store on Madison Avenue. After his time with Armani, he moved to Yves Saint Laurent, where he was the assistant store director of the 57th Street location.
“I have always loved home decor. I used to spend all of my weekends coming upstate and looking at home decor stores in the area,” Alex says. “With my extensive retail background, I wanted to be able to create the store that I was always looking for – one that has unique pieces and is ever-changing.”
Alex shares that he had no trouble transitioning from a position where he managed upwards of 45 employees to a position where he’s the one who does it all. “I like doing it all,” he says. “I like having my hands in every aspect of the business.”
One thing that Alex directs much of his energy towards is ensuring that the store is ever-changing. “When thinking of what I wanted the store to be, I wanted to make sure that it’s always changing,” he says. “I hate going in a store and it looks exactly the same visit after visit. I change the store constantly for seasons and holidays. It makes it exciting for customers to visit regularly. “
Alex prides himself on being fully immersed and active in the Pine Plains community. He is a member of the Little Nine Partners Historical Society and of the Beautification Committee, and he frequently works with Willow Roots.
Additionally, Alex says that one of his favorite things is supporting the local businesses in town. Demeter has hosted plant sales in collaboration with Hugs & Kisses, the local flower shop, and you can usually find him dining out and drinking a martini at Lia’s Mountain View, The Garden, or the Stissing House.
“I love helping to connect people and introduce them to Pine Plains,” he says. “I love talking to people at the garden, introducing new people to the current residents of the town, and bringing visitors to dinner at Lia’s.”
Alex shares that his family has run several businesses, all of which were restaurants. “That’s why I have such an appreciation for local restaurants,” he says.
In his two years of being in Pine Plains, he has seen the town change in a few ways. “I have noticed a lot of people buying new homes in the past two years, and a lot more tourists are starting to realize all that Pine Plains and the Hudson Valley has to offer,” he says. “I feel like there’s been more excitement in the town, from both locals and tourists.”
Looking ahead, Demeter Home plans to continue to provide top-notch service and home decor products to the Pine Plains community. The short-term goal, however, is packing the store with fall decor in celebration of the upcoming season.
Alex says: “Visit the store in September to experience the new changes that Demeter Home has to offer for the fall season!” •
To learn more about Demeter Home you can visit them in person at 2980 – 2984 E Church St., Pine Plains, NY, online at demeter-home.com, or call (518) 771-3282.