To Stacie Hegg, the two are one in the same.
“We love it here,” said Stacie. “We live above our furniture store – we have a loft apartment – and we just love looking out our window at Hart Lake. It’s just amazing.
“I love being able to just go across the street and get a taco at La Probadita, or a pizza at Hart Pizza; we love going to concerts at The Commons, getting ice cream – we absolutely love living in town.”
Stacie, owner and design consultant of Hegg’s Gallery of Fine Furniture which she operates with her husband, Scott, moved from New Era and where she grew up, to Hart about 10 year ago.
“I enjoy hosting family and friends in our loft above the store, and have company of all ages over to watch movies in our home theater, or to play corn hole in our garden room. I host many showers and get togethers of all kinds.”
Laughing, she added, “… I do not enjoy cooking but have many family and friends who take care of that for me.”
With stores in Hart and Ludington, and a partnership with another in Holland, Hegg’s Furniture has long been a trusted staple in the West Michigan business world.
“My husband and I own a hundred percent (of the business), and our youngest son, Aiden, has joined us in the business and he is our succession plan,” she said, again laughing – she joyfully does that, a lot. “But, not for a while yet. Right now, he manages our Ludington store.
“Scott is actually an electrical engineer and he worked at Peterson’s Farms for many years, and so he didn’t join the business until 2007. And now Aiden is going to pick up the torch, but he’s only 26. He’s not quite ready to take over everything, but that is the goal, some day.
“We (me and Scott) are the third generation and Aiden is the fourth generation to be part of the business. Grandfather Charles, right after the war, came home and started the business in 1946. It was more of a department store, they had clothing and other things, so it started out as Hegg’s Department Store right here in downtown Hart. My father-in-law, William, or Bill, took over in 1970 and he added a lot more furniture and appliances and electronics. And then I took over Jan. 1, 1998.
“I wear lots of hats and I have a lot of roles. We still have our partnership with our business in Holland. It was a Hegg’s Furniture for many years, but a few years ago we partnered with Klingman’s down there and it’s a partnership. So, I’m still in Holland two days a week and then I’m in Ludington two days a week, and I’m in Hart a day and a half a week – I’m all over.”
Stacie said their business is closed on Sundays, and for now, on Wednesdays, too.
“However, our office and our warehouse are still open, and I do work in the office (on Wednesday),” she said.
Stacie said their family business specializes in quality, custom-made furniture.
“We have furniture for every room in the home,” she said. “We have upholstery, bedroom, dining room, home office, entertainment – every category.
“Every spring and fall I go down to High Point, North Carolina, and that is where I visit all of the showrooms and look at the newest styles and colors – that’s where I get a lot of the inspiration for our stores. I love to sit in it, touch it and feel it, and that just helps me to know what to order for the store.
“We try to have looks for every taste,” she said. “Somebody that wants contemporary can come in, if somebody wants more traditional they can come in, if they want more cottage – we try to have a little bit of everything.”
Christmastime, said Stacie, is a busy time at the family’s trio of stores.
“I will tell you our most prominent Christmas item, if it’s going to be a larger ticket, probably would be a recliner for dad, maybe; or, often times, they’re just getting their homes ready for Christmas and so they’ll come in and look for a new dining set for their Christmas dinner.
“We also have smaller accessory items like lamps and pictures and clocks – things like that. So yes, we have smaller items – yes, people do Christmas shop in furniture stores. People shop for new entertainment centers because maybe they’re getting a new TV for Christmas and need a new entertainment center to put under it, we see kind of a surge in that, as well.”
And, while “… work is definitely a huge component of my life – I’ve spent a lot of time doing that – however I do have a couple of hobbies: I really love reading – mostly fiction – so if I have some down time, I definitely have a book in hand. I love our library and I’m in there pretty much every week.
“I love Elizabeth Berg, Anne Tyler, John Grisham, Barbara Kingsolver, Liane Moriarty and Ian McEwan. I love a lot of the popular fiction writers. I tend to just go to the new releases and if anything is remotely appealing, I grab it.
“Absolutely, I can get trapped in a book. We have a great library. As a matter in fact, I tend to have insomnia and so I find myself reading until 2, 3 in the morning, that is not an uncommon thing,” said Stacie.
Living in Hart – near the heart of Michigan’s legendary Gold Coast – helps Stacie to find peace.
“In the summertime I love going to the beach – I really love it – so living in this area is perfect because we’re close to the water.
“I have three amazing children, my oldest daughter, Taylor, and she is in her fourth year of residency for neurology at Saint Mary’s in Grand Rapids. My middle son, Austin, is a chemical engineer in Zeeland. And my youngest son, Aiden, is in the business with us. We couldn’t be more proud of all of them. We have no grandchildren, yet, and I can’t wait for that day, believe me.
“My parents live in New Era and my husband’s parents live here in Hart, and they both have second homes in Arizona within a mile of each other, so if we ever get to go anywhere we go to Arizona to visit our parents. We try to get out there for at least one week, every year.”
Stacie, who received her degree from Calvin in Grand Rapids, originally planned to go into teaching.
“But when my husband’s family business came about he said ‘dear, instead of teaching, would you like to take over the business?’” she said. “I’ve always loved painting and rearranging furniture and accessorizing – I’ve always just had an infinity for that – so it was a perfect fit. It wasn’t what I originally planned on doing, but a degree is never wasted.
“So, when I took over the store, I took additional courses on interior design – though my degree is actually in English and mathematics, a little different from what I had planned – but you never know what life will bring you.”
Stacie is an active member of First Baptist Church of Hart, where she serves in the nursery and on the decorating committee. She also has served on other design committees in the community, including the new Oceana County Council on Aging building.
Her family also has several vacation rentals in Ludington and Silver Lake, which she said have proven to be “quite enjoyable.”
“If I ever retire from retail – I don’t see this happening any time soon – I would definitely expand our hospitality businesses,” she said.