OCEAN CITY – Known for its unique home gifts and accessories, Monkey’s Trunk offers everything from candleholders to hand painted chests, providing a unique flair of home décor to the resort area and offering a continuously changing array of merchandise for customers to enjoy.
Monkey’s Trunk owner John Meyers sat down with The Dispatch last week to discuss the ins and outs of the retail business and to give a preview of what the West Ocean City store has to offer.
Monkey’s Trunk, located on Route 50, in West Ocean City’s Plaza on Herring Creek, opened its doors nearly five years ago. Three years later, the business expanded to Monkey See Monkey Two with partner Ron Saunders at the helm of the new store.
Monkey’s Trunk provides a little bit of everything, from lamps to mirrors to framed prints. Tables, hutches, baker’s racks, hand painted chests, and other furniture items can be found throughout the store along with upholstered chairs, wall sconces and a variety of gifts for any occasion. Monkey’s Trunk is also a dealer for Jay Strongwater, Lynn Chase, Vera Bradley, Mariposa and Kim Seybert.
Monkey See Monkey Two focuses more on premier lighting and mirrors and outdoor furniture. Mirrors, chandeliers, table lamps and floor lamps of just about any size, shape and style can be found at Monkey See Monkey Two. Outdoor dining and leisure furniture is also featured, along with pool and patio casual chairs and tables and a variety of Adirondack chairs.
Although Meyers is happy with the growth of the two stores over the past few years, he continues to expand and build on the success, noting he hopes to expand further in 2008 and continue enhancing their unique look and offering unique items throughout both stores.
“We really try to bring in the most unique and interesting designer style accessories, furniture and lamps. We don’t want to be just any furniture and accessories store, we want everything in here to be unique,” Meyers said as he described both stores.
From the beginning, Meyers said the aim was to provide the Eastern Shore with furniture and accessories that couldn’t be found anywhere else on the shore, adding that it still remains a main focus of their business. To maintain that goal, Meyers makes sure there is never two of the same thing in the store.
“Once its gone, it’s gone,” Meyers said, “And it’s replaced with another unique item. It makes people want to come in every week and see what we have.”
Monkey’s Trunk not only provides unique items, but also provides customers with designer brands that can be found in few other stores on the Shore.
“We are the only Vera Bradley dealer in West Ocean City,” Meyers said, showing his wide selection of the newest Vera Bradley items.
Monkey’s Trunk is also the only Jay Strongwater dealer on the shore and the only authorized dealer of Palecek and Artmax furnishings, according to Meyers.
“We consider ourselves one of a kind. People really come in for our unique items,” Meyers said.
Although Monkey’s Trunk focuses more on accessories and home furnishings and Monkey See Monkey Two on lighting and outdoor furniture, both stores foster similar styles, providing a distinctive selection for customers. Both stores also offer free design services. According to Meyers, they have done design work for homes in New York, Florida and Northern Virginia.
Monkey’s Trunk and Monkey See Monkey Two are open year-round, providing home décor and gift options for any time of the year. Meyers noted that unlike most resort businesses, they stay busy most of the year.
“Right now we’re busy because people have cleared out all their Christmas stuff and want to fill in the empty spaces, and, of course, we were busy before Christmas with gift buying,” Meyers said.
The summer months and increased population also brings in a steady flow of customers. “People are always redecorating or looking for great gift ideas,” Meyers said.
Like any business, Meyers said they wouldn’t be where they are today without their loyal customers.
“We really have a wonderful customer base. We’ve developed lot of friendships though the store,” Meyers said, describing his customers as helpful, friendly and supportive.
As for being a storeowner, Meyers enjoys nearly every aspect of the business.
“Basically we’re here all the time, so you have to have a passion for it,” Meyers said, adding that he wouldn’t have it any other way.
With 2008 off to a strong start, Meyers is looking forward to another good year at Monkey’s Trunk and encourages customers, whether new to the store or frequent shoppers, to come in and see the ever-changing and unique merchandise.