Assistant Managing Editor
WILBRAHAM Two years ago, when Wilbraham resident Helene Curto could not find the proper table linens to prepare for a holiday gathering, she had no idea her frustration would lead her to satisfy an unfulfilled local demand.
But that is exactly what happened when she founded Distinctive Tables, a home table design, table wear, home accessories, gifts and personalized service concept.
Carving out a niche for herself by specializing in high end table decor, Curto is attracting customers through an innovative web site and visually stunning store front. She said customers say her store reminds them of the now closed specialty store Cock of the Walk.
Distinctive Tables caters to newlyweds, first time home buyers, brides-to-be and anyone else looking to give their dining area some oomph. Priding itself on quality, shoppers will find caliber Tucci candles, high-end table collection like Casafina from Portugal, Gien from France and one of Curto's favorites VIETRI from Italy.
Curto said taking the time out to enjoy meals in a comfortable and relaxing atmosphere is important.
"Everyone's always in such a rush. It's important that we take time out to have a nice meal," Curto said. "How long does it take to set the table?"
Appealing to the masses with prices ranging from $5-$100, Distinctive Tables allots appointments to anyone needing one-on-one help in creating a particular ambience for their dining room. Their web site, www.distinctivetables.com, also has unique features like table design ideas, classic table setting guides for those looking to learn which glass and fork go where and much more. Wrought iron accessories are available to add a little more drama to a room and artwork from local artists are also sold.
"We can get them everything," Curto said when explaining that special orders are not out of the question.
Curto said patrons can bring in an item they love from their home that they want to design around.
"There are things that you buy and you're not sure where you can use it, don't be afraid to try different things ... mix it up, use your eye to see what you like."
Curto still describes her six-month-old business as "a leap of faith" and hopes that consumers will be drawn in by the diversity and quality that Distinctive Tables offers.
"We're very versatile for a small store," Curto added.
Distinctive Tables is located at 2040 Boston Road in Wilbraham. Call 543-3838 for more information or visit www.distinctivetables.com.