After a two-year experience in self-proclaimed “semi-retirement,” Terry Lewis is back. Of course, his semi-retirement looked a lot like his longtime business — The Rug Merchant, a shrine to Old World-style imports — with just a few differences. For a little more than 20 years, Lincoln Avenue was home to Lewis’ store, but in 2007, he moved to Downtown’s Main Street in the ultramodern digs of the renovated Marlocon. The place was smaller than his former location in Olde Towne, an East Side neighborhood known for locally owned shops and boutiques, but, hey, this was his semi-retirement.
With a 40-year career in the flooring business, Lewis learned his business was his passion, so he moved his imported rugs to his original Lincoln Avenue location last year. Semi-retirement was over. Inside the 9,000-square-foot space is a showcase of rugs with plenty of design and color — a familiar inventory to those who frequented The Rug Merchant in Olde Towne.
The return has brought an interior remodeling, however: new paint and carpet and refinished hardwood floors. The foyer has a dressy look with space to display oversized (12-by-18) rugs. “The biggest comment we get (from customers) is ‘We’re so glad to have you back here,’” Lewis says. He agrees: “It’s more conducive for doing business.”