NORTH ADAMS — When not waking up at 4 a.m. to bake for her diner, Renee Tessier may be found refurbishing furniture in her garage. The Renee’s Diner owner is now bringing that hobby to a new storefront.
Her new business, LifestyleR, opened this week in a space inside The Berkshire Emporium on Main Street.
“I guess I’m your ‘life styler’ when you’re in here,” she said while taking a break from pricing items in the shop. She’s long been interested in developing a unique home style. “I don’t want my home to look like everyone else’s,” she said.
For years, she’s also been refurbishing old furniture. Many items in her shop are one of a kind. There’s the dresser she sanded, painted white and adorned with the image of a black bird. She made an old gun cabinet shorter and added a floral pattern on its inside.
Tessier says she buys old furniture on Facebook Marketplace, refurbishes it, and then resells the pieces. There are also new decorative items in the shop, like throw pillows, frames, and wall art.
Why start a second business?
More than a decade after opening the diner, Tessier was looking for a new challenge, she said, though the diner will stay open. “That’s my first priority,” she said.
She’s able to be at the diner even when LifestyleR is open because it is part of the Emporium and customers are able to pay for items at the main counter. “Really, this is the only avenue I could have taken to do this,” she said.
“This business is a stepping-off point to see how the community responds to it,” she said. Most recently, Savvy Hive was in the space before it moved onto Main Street this spring.
Savvy Hive plans to reopen in its new space this month. Tessier also notes the arrival of Berkshire Blends, a smoothie shop that opened this week. She feels good about business in downtown North Adams.
“We have a lot of exciting things happening here,” she said.