Thu10302014

Business & Real Estate

Revamp ahead for longtime retailer


Photo By: Photos by Ellie Van Houtte/town Crier
Design & Interiors’ Amy Randazzo, from left, Marcy Puccetti and Thad Mirt set up a temporary location at 151 Main St. in downtown Los Altos to conduct the company’s annual warehouse sale.

Change – in more than one way – is in the air for Design & Interiors, one of downtown Los Altos’ longest-running businesses.

Owner Marcy Puccetti recently told the Town Crier that she’s retiring and selling her family business to her longtime general manager, Thad Mirt. The switch in ownership comes after the home furnishings and interior design company moved out of its 30-year home at 170 State St. in March. The business is currently hosting its annual warehouse sale at 151 Main St. before leaving the confines of downtown Los Altos – at least temporarily – late this month.

Puccetti said her decision to retire wasn’t necessarily an easy one, calling herself a “Type A personality” who routinely worked six days – and more than 60 hours – per week.

“I need things done my way,” she said with a chuckle. “For a long time, I thought I was the only one that could do it.”

Once the decision was finalized, however, Puccetti said her first choice to take over the business was Mirt, her general manager for the past 10 years.

“I think it needs a younger vision and energy that I think I probably don’t have at this point,” said Puccetti, whose late husband, Bill, founded the company in 1981 with her father, Marino, and opened the family’s first retail location in Mountain View. “Thad is a great fit. He’s been in the business for so many years. … I’ve always been very open with him about the business. He’s not stepping into any aspect of the business that’s a secret.”

Carrying the torch

Mirt, meanwhile, said he’s planning to operate Design & Interiors in the same manner Puccetti and her husband did for three decades. Puccetti’s daughter, Amy Randazzo, will continue to work for the company, and the business’ remaining locations in Los Gatos and Lafayette will continue to operate, he noted.

“It’s a mixture of excitement and apprehension,” Mirt said of his transition to owner. “I feel it’s a privilege to carry on the torch Bill and Marcy started. It’s a great company to work for and my intention is to continue that lineage.”

Puccetti added that she would continue to make herself available to Mirt for advice.

“I’m going to be working with (Mirt and Randazzo) to make sure it’s a smooth transition,” she said. “For me, it’s not such a dramatic departure knowing that I’ll still be around.”

Mirt noted that among his plans is an eventual return to Los Altos for Design & Interiors. Although he’s early in the process of exploring potential retail space options, Mirt said the business’ current warehouse sale on Main Street has been successful and “confirmed that it really would be great to have a location downtown because of the clients we have.”

“We will be back in the near future with a permanent location,” he said.

Mirt added that Puccetti’s retirement offers her the opportunity to spend more time with her three grandchildren.

“It’s good for her to take a step back and do things she’s passionate about,” he said. “No. 1 for her is family.”

Still, Puccetti added that her Type A personality – as well as the countless friends and clients she’s come to know over 30 years – make saying goodbye at times a difficult task.

“It’s been a lot of fun,” she said. “I’ve had some wonderful experiences, made some great friends, and decorated some beautiful homes along the way.”

For more information, visit www.designandinteriors.com.

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