At Homescapes Carmel we’ve always taken the team approach to staffing, which was an easy approach to take considering that for the first ten years of business we had the same team. We partied together, bowled together, played cut-throat croquette together at “family” bar-b-ques. Oh, and we all worked together to make Homescapes Carmel the best it could be. We are extremely and eternally grateful for their loyalty and dedication.
Now, of course we’re into our second decade of retail so some changes have occurred. Kathy recently retired and moved to Arkansas. Mitsuko decided to celebrate her cultural roots and opened a tea shop focusing on teas and Japanese ephemera. Gone, but not forgotten, some of the ol’ Homers can be found on our Alumni page.
But we’re extremely lucky around here and the young ‘uns that have joined us immediately melded into the team. We all work together to make Homescapes Carmel the store that it is: unique in every way.
Buyer, Merchandising, Marketing & Branding
Thompson Lange studied Scenic Design at UCLA and University of Vienna and brings that knowledge to the display and merchandising of Homescapes, Carmel. “My job is a nice use of the things I learned at school and a good retort to the perennial question asked of any Theater Major: “What are ya gonna do with THAT?” Thompson is the Chair-Elect of the Carmel Chamber of Commerce and is a contributing writer and retail advisory board member for several local and national magazines.
Operations & Home Staging
Beau was living in Seattle when Thompson came to visit. They were sitting in a park when the big idea hit: “I said to Thompson, ‘why don’t we go into business together and combine your love of travel and objects, with my love of plants & art?’ The stage was set.”
Beau returned to his hometown of Carmel to pursue a degree in horticulture, and in 1996 he and Thompson opened The Grove Homescapes, building both the building and the business together.
Beau has has been active in the community having chaired the Economic Development Committee in Pacific Grove and co-hosting community and charity events all over the peninsula. Most recently, Beau has staged showcase homes and events to help raise money for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital and The American Lung Association.
Art Curator, Sales & Customer Service
Sally can’t dance, can’t paint and she can’t sing, but she sure loves artists and art of most sorts. “I”ve always admired the tenacity and purpose that an artist has for their craft. someone has to be in the audience, and I enjoy playing that role. Encouraging artists has been my primary goal as the curator for Homescapes, Carmel ”
Sally has volunteered for numerous art organizations all over the Monterey Peninsula. “The Pacific Grove Art Center has been the main focus of my volunteer work, I’ve been on the Board of Directors for over 20 years, assisting with the installation of exhibits as well as helping with openings.”
Sally has been responsible for some of the most interesting and unusual artwork installed in Homescapes 6,000 square foot showroom and her 11-year stay. “I think the Peninsula has a lot to offer artistically with its natural beauty and the diverse collection of artists that call it their home.”
Having spent more than half her life on the Monterey Peninsula, Sally is an incredible artistic resource. If anyone knows where it’s at and how it got there, it’s certainly Sally Higgins.
Buyer, Designer & Accounts Payable
Edward Chiorazzi has been with Homescapes since 1997. His relationship with Homescapes International began with his interest in Floral Arranging by the late, renowned Michael Weidner, an amazing floral artist who worked for the Grove Homescapes in Pacific Grove.
“I admired Michael’s work so much that I told him I would work for free – which I did for a short time.”
Thompson quickly discovered Edward’s knack for product display and realized that Edward was a natural “Homescaper.”
” Before I knew it, I was going to shows, buying new product and organizing re-orders. I was dealing with vendors which was a natural progression to Floor Manager which included some customer issues (i.e. Special orders, shipping, etc).”
Edward now has his own Concierge business for peninsula homeowners and continues to work for himself and for Homescapes as a Account Manager and field consultant maintaining and contributing to brand the Homescapes design aesthetic developed by Thompson & Beau.
Orchid Management, Deliveries, Sales & Customer Service
Leland Slarrow has been with Homescapes, Carmel since he was fifteen years old. No, we didn’t hire him outside of child labor laws: it was his mother who did it! Leland’s mom, Kathy Apodaca had Leland come help out at the store after school and sometimes on the weekends. Whether it was partly for him to make some spending cash or a way for her to keep an eye on her teenage son, it doesn’t matter.
Both Leland and Kathy have a developed sensitivity to the needs of Orchids, a skill which not many of us can claim privy. If only the plants knew how lucky they are! Of course, our loyal customers know how well the plants are taken care of. Our orchids are a solid bargain because they’re in such great shape when we sell them.
Despite his first responsibility as the less-than-glamorous task of mopping the entire Grove Homescapes EVERY DAY, he stuck with us and has become an invaluable asset to Homescapes.
Marketing / Branding Assistant, Web Research & Development, Graphic Design
Keri Marion has been with Homescapes, Carmel since late 2003. Keri is a Carmel native, but grew up in Washington state, returning to California completely on accident. She came to Monterey to visit her brothers (Thompson and Beau) and ended up staying.
It wasn’t long before Thompson realized he could really use her background in publishing, marketing and fine art to continually build and expand the brand and aesthetic of Homescapes, Carmel.
Of course, the opportunity to work for a store like Homescapes was an alluring and interesting proposition. “Though, admittedly, I fell into the position by blood relationship, I had to earn my keep – I mean, brothers or not, they aren’t just going to pay me for the sake of paying me…”
“Keri makes some of our conceptual ideas concrete, ” remarks Thompson., “Thankfully, her design aesthetic matches the store, so her designwork for the store is always centered around the store – I think it’s hard for many artists and designers to remove their own personal egos when making art for other people. Keri has been able to successfully draw that line.”
Inventory Management, Sales & Customer Service
C.C. adds to the international flavor of the Homescapes stew. Born of German parents and a fluent speaker of their native language, C.C. joined the team in the Fall of 2006. Though now a full time student at the University of California, Berkeley, C.C. has stayed with the team by helping with sales and inventory at Homescapes Carmel during school breaks.
Stephanie Bemboom & Amber Spenser
Sales and Customer Service
Stephanie and Amber grew up together in the small mountain town of Wrightwood, California. Stephanie joined the Homescapes team in 2007 during her summer break from classes at California State University, Monterey Bay. She is a sophomore majoring in Liberal Studies with a goal to become a First-Grade teacher. Homescapes has been very fortunate with the students from CSUMB who have joined our staff. Stephanie’s close childhood friend, Amber, came to work for Homescapes during her sophomore year at CSUMB, majoring in Human Communications with an aspiration to become a firefighter. They spend most of their time together in the store and out: “In our off time we like to dive in Monterey’s cold, shark-infested waters.”
They are especially helpful greeters, so stop in and say hello!