By Jessica Laffin
Sometimes what we are seeking in life truly lies just beneath our feet. For Kathy Hank, owner of Rectangles rug store here in Traverse City, this couldn’t be more the case.
What owner, Kathy Hank is best known for, is for going above and beyond in every facet of her life. Her clients know her for her honesty, her eye for art, her helpfulness and her fair pricing. What she’s well known in her family life for is her lifetime commitment of labor and love, which has changed and grown only for the better, as shown by her gorgeous store front.
Kathy grew up in Moline, Illinois and got her major in Philosophy and Art from St. Mary’s College/Notre Dame. In the following years, she took on many, many jobs, including Chairman of the Board of Directors of Montgomery Elevator Co, Trust and Estate Administration and Oil and Gas property management to Chairwoman of the Quad City Arts Festival of Trees and more, a Jill of all trades if you will, here in Traverse City as well as in Iowa and again in Illinois. Her most rewarding job, though, has always been her role as a mother, which is what ultimately brought her back to our beloved area.
Her own daughter Kate said,” She’s always been someone that has driven my brother and I to follow our true passions in life and supported us along the way. We share a passion for traveling and have gone all over the world together, exploring different countries and learning their cultures. Part of falling in love with rugs was during a trip to Turkey and Egypt about 10 years ago. It was the most amazing trip and we both came home with even more love and respect for the rug world. She truly is an inspiration in what she’s been able to accomplish and it’s fun being able to work alongside her and see her business blossom and become increasingly more successful!”
Kathy learned about marketing and rugs upon her return to Traverse and found that they were her calling all along. It was from this realization that she decided to take on that feat in her own way, in a place of her own. Her new dream needed to have these five personal criteria as well: a strategic component, a creative component, a flexible schedule, prosperity and people.
Rugs are hand knotted, hand woven, machine made, wool, polyester, cotton, viscose, jute. With so many different sizes and color combinations, Kathy is happy to provide samples to her customers, even visit their homes at no charge, to make sure the rugs that she provides are sure to be a perfect fit for their needs. She also has a library for rugs and samples. “It is really important for people to see what the rug will look like in their own lighting and environment. Whether a sample or the rug, it will tell you instantly if it is a yes or no.”
Regardless of whether it is impact or inspiration, Kathy and her crew has you covered. Kathy loves the way people feel when she trusts them to take her products home at no charge, to see for themselves which rug is the best choice.
“I love that part of being able to let them know they are trusted,” she says.
Kathy has really had to put herself into self-education mode for the finances part of the business. She has also enjoyed the teaching part of the business.
“Fibers, color, texture, size, are all important when you are spending your money. Viscose is a trendy fiber right now. It is a plant fiber. It does not clean well, does not hold up well, and water will stain it, but it takes color well, and feels very soft, like silk.” Rectangles educates people so they can make the best decision. “Mix the utilitarian with the aesthetic/form follows function,” she says.
Greatest joy: surprising people. We sometimes surprise them with a design idea or customer service, and we almost always surprise them when they don’t pay for a rug to take it home to be “interviewed”.
One step into her beautiful store, located at 613 Randolph St, Studio 104, and you’ll agree, she truly has the eye for art and a giant heart. On top of this , she, her customers, associates and family agree that she is a trusting, kind, spirited woman who loves being part of the Traverse City small business community, and is becoming more confident every day. She is even considering designing her own rugs and turning them over to manufacturers in Pakistan, India and Turkey as they have already done some custom designs and have, for lack of a better euphemism, swept the floor from underneath their clients.
Unique, intricate, colorful, bold, that is exactly what you’ll find in the patterns and in the personalities of the staff at Rectangles, especially Kathy herself. Pop in and see how they can show you how one small change in your life, in your home, can sometimes change everything.
For more information about Rectangles, please visit their Facebook page until their website is launched.
Until then, let this story be an inspiration that though things may be tough now, you will THRIVE with determination, diligence and compassion.
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