WOODBURY – As a recent retiree of the United States Air Force, The Painted Tree owner Lisa Amatruda was looking for a way to return to civilian life.
Though she credits the soldiers who’ve been deployed to the Middle East as the “real heroes,” Amatruda said even her situation of mostly working from home as a Pentagon telecommuter did not situate her for the traditional business world.
It’s also the reason she decided to launch her vintage furniture and home décor shop in the house she purchased in February 2017 at 45 Main St. N. in Woodbury
“I did a complete 180 when I got out of the Air Force,” said Amatruda, who held a grand opening of her shop today, which is also her birthday. “I decided to tap into the other side of the brain and do other thigs.”
What’s in Store?
The Painted Tree will sell hand-painted vintage furniture, hand-crafted home décor, and gifts, all with a vintage and Woodbury flair. One of the things that attracted her to the vintage furniture is the state of home furnishings today.
While she says some of the furniture made today is very well made, she describes most of it as garbage – kind of like how fast-fashion apparel isn’t built to stand the test of time.
But the sturdy, tried and true furniture made through the 1980s and before then is being discarded and not repurposed.
“Brown is just not in, so people get rid of it,” Amatruda said. “People don’t want their parents’ and grandparents’ furniture, but it’s good furniture. And that’s what started it. You do this, this, this, and this, and it’s a whole new piece.”
Right now, a lot of the furniture Amatruda has on display has been re-finished white, though there are also some bright blue chairs and a faded pink bedroom set in her showroom, too.
“It’s a guessing game for me right now. I know what I like, but I don’t know what other people like,” Amatruda said. “Since I just opened, it’s a guessing game as to what colors people want. I have a few white pieces because it seems that’s what people want.”
Why Main St.?
Amatruda said The Painted Tree has been a slow go, since she had to go through Planning and Zoning to get permission to open her shop. Purchased as a two-family home, Woodbury zoning rules for the Historic District allow Amatruda to run a commercial business in up to one half of the building.
She noted that at one time, the building was home to the trade publication Ski Area Management.
“I was looking for a place on Main St. with residential and commercial opportunities,” Amatruda said. “I saw this one and thought it was perfect. I always intended to keep half the building as residential to help pay the mortgage.”
For now, Amatruda, who also works at Naugatuck Valley Community College, plans to have her shop open Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
And during her down-time, Amatruda also plans to help customers with special orders, and needs to source furniture and home décor for repurposing. She currently finds the furniture via online auctions, flea markets, estate sales, and tag sales.
“You’d be surprised how many people are getting rid of furniture or are just putting a low price tag on it,” Amatruda said.