“Well that is a crazy story because I didn’t intend to open a store in Madison,” said Madison Grace owner Shaune Escoe.
But a series of events, including being laid off from a job she was in for 22 years, convincing from the building owner and friend and fellow Madison merchant Kim Jenson, and a lot of prayer led Escoe to open the home décor store on W. Jefferson St. in downtown Madison.
“Really I just took a leap of faith,” Escoe said.
Shaune, whose hobby has always been interior design, and her husband moved to Madison from Madison County four and a half years ago and began remodeling a house on Candler Lane. Then last year the couple purchased a cottage on East Avenue and completely gutted it.
“That’s when everybody started saying, ‘you need to do this,’” Escoe said. “So when I got laid off everybody said this is what you need to be doing you’re not going to go back to an office job, you’re just not. So I really just intended to grow my decorating business by word of mouth for people around town.”
But the Lord had other plans. The building and former store, The Back Porch, that now houses Madison Grace is owned by one of Escoe’s friends who initially wanted her to offer her design services as part of the store. However, after some unexpected family needs Escoe was convinced by the building owner to take over the space and make it her own.
Madison Grace opened for business on Saturday, Nov. 7.
“The name is pretty simple,” Escoe said. “Madison is for Madison because of course we’re here but then the Grace is because it’s just the grace of God that I am even doing this store. I mean honestly. Grace means the unmerited favor of God and so when I think about what I want this store to be I need the unmerited favor of God. I was just trying to think and I was praying and I was like, ‘Lord should I do this?’ And grace just kept coming up and coming up. And I was like that’s it, Madison Grace. It’s simple, it’s easy, it’s just Madison Grace. The unmerited favor of God is what I need to be opening a store in a pandemic, what am I thinking.”
When deciding what to put in the store, Escoe didn’t have to look far for inspiration.
“My hobby is home décor, so I wanted home décor because that’s what people always come to me for,” Escoe said. “People always ask me where did you get this, where did you get that, so I said I am just going to stock it with things that I love, things that I would put in my own home. So there are things here that are in my own home and things that I have used in other people’s homes.”
Escoe also recalled how years ago when they moved to Madison she needed a gift for a baby shower. Everything was closed and she couldn’t find a gift anywhere in Madison.
“So I was like that’s what I need, I need just a small little area inside the back of the shop I can make where someone can run in, grab a hostess gift, whether it be a baby gift or you’re going to a bridal shower or just a hostess gift.”
Madison Grace also offers furniture, lighting, lamps and other home décor that can also be special ordered. The store also offers a wide display of locally produced goods and gift items that are quintessential Madison goods like t-shirts, mugs, Oconee Coffee Roasters coffee, key chains and ornaments just in time for Christmas.
“Our tagline is ‘making pretty choices easier,’ because if you have to have a whisk or some measuring cups for your kitchen why not pick out pretty ones,” Escoe said. “Make something pretty and then it makes you happier when you go in and start cooking with it.”
Escoe said the support of the other Madison merchants have been amazing, they have been so kind and welcoming. The store opened on the first weekend of Madison’s annual Shop, Sip and Stroll and Escoe said they sold out of many items which left her scrambling to order more merchandise during a time when the COVID-19 pandemic makes it difficult to get things in.
“We’ve only been open a week and it has just blown away all my expectations,” Escoe said. “I mean God has just really opened up, I mean he opened up this door. I would have never done this without feeling like this is what I was led to do.”