published Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

Design shop commits to Main Street area

A new Chattanooga business that specializes in designing interiors for commercial clients has become part of the fabric that's making up a revived Main Street.

"Since with the renaissance of Main Street, we thought this would be a wonderful place to be to start a new business with all the energy and excitement," said Jane Wilson Grant, a partner with Keith McCallie in Grant/McCallie Interior Design Lab.

The two partners had worked at Artech Design Group until they ventured out to start their own operation last year, Mrs. Grant said.

"We had our reservations," she said, citing the tough economy. "We had a lot of people look at us as if we'd lost our minds."

But, Mrs. Grant said, it's those same economic conditions which are forcing a lot of firms to do business in a smaller and leaner way.

"That's definitely something we can do with just the two of us and our little space and small amount of overhead," she said. "We can provide services with competitive pricing ... and still offer clients really good service."

So far, so good, Mrs. Grant said.

"It's been very successful," she said. "Commercial interior design is a critical investment. A well-spent design budget gives a payback in creating space that is productive for employees and inviting for customers."

Mrs. McCallie said many people think interior design is about choosing colors and making things look good.

NEW OR COMING IN AREA

* Full-service grocery store

* 40-unit apartment building

* Cosmetic surgery center, condos

* Over half dozen businesses have opened

But, she said, a reasoned and well thought out design adds business value for the client.

"Interior design work overlaps with architecture, but we are the detail people on the inside of the building," Mrs. McCallie said.

Mrs. Grant, whose father is the late UTC geology professor Robert "Rock" Wilson, is a registered interior designer with experience in design, project management and production of contract documents. Since 1984, she has worked for several Chattanooga architecture firms.

Mrs. McCallie started her career in 1997 at TVS Design. After working in Atlanta, Massachusetts and Washington, D.C., she returned to Chattanooga. Her projects have ranged from 1,500 square feet to 400,000 square feet, including the interior for Greenlife Grocery's North Shore location.

about Mike Pare...

Mike Pare, the deputy Business editor at the Chattanooga Times Free Press, has worked at the paper for 27 years. In addition to editing, Mike also writes Business stories and covers Volkswagen, economic development and manufacturing in Chattanooga and the surrounding area. In the past he also has covered higher education. Mike, a native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., received a bachelor’s degree in communications from Florida Atlantic University. he worked at the Rome News-Tribune before ...

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