October 8, 2016

Bookstore owner launches new business

Owner Hiata DeFeo poses for a photo at Bridgeside Home’s grand opening on Sept. 29 in Waterbury.

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Owner Hiata DeFeo poses for a photo at Bridgeside Home’s grand opening on Sept. 29 in Waterbury.

WATERBURY — Hiata DeFeo has a right to be happy.

After seven years of offering Waterbury residents a welcoming, community-focused space at her Stowe Street store, Bridgeside Books, DeFeo has turned another one of her passions into a retail business.

DeFeo, 45, launched her new store, Bridgeside Home, on Sept. 29 with a grand opening at her 80 South Main St. location — between Proud Flower and China Star restaurant. Between 50 and 60 people attended.

“It was fantastic,” DeFeo said a few days later. “We had an amazing turnout. We were amazed by how many people we could fit in here.”

On her website www.bridgesidebooks.com, DeFeo writes: “As an extension of Bridgeside Books, Bridgeside Home allows for the pursuit of creativity in a different direction. This shop will feature vintage, upcycled, and one of a kind small furnishings, much of which I’ve been collecting for years.”

Bridgeside Home is indeed an extension of Bridgeside Books, which DeFeo opened in July 2009 — “smack dab in the middle of a recession,” she recalled — and subsequently expanded three times to its current size: 2,500 square feet.

DeFeo was already selling cards, gifts and vintage, recycled items at Bridgeside Books when she realized that end of her business needed its own separate space. She and her sister, Maia Corduan, had “kicked the idea around for years” and then made it reality after Corduan and her husband returned to Vermont, after living in London.

“I always knew the gift and vintage item side of this business would need its own home,” DeFeo said.

Bridgeside home has “one-of-a-kind pieces,” such as a large, red, barn armoire that DeFeo found years ago, as well as new items, including candles, linens, bowls, cutting boards, glassware, scarves and jewelry.

“There’s nothing quite like a mix of what we’re offering, not in Waterbury or this region,” DeFeo said. “If I can use a chain name, I like to call it a ‘mini-Anthropologie.’”

DeFeo now employs five people between her two Waterbury locations. Bridgeside Home is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday.

Bridgeside Home is on Facebook and Instagram. A website for the new business is coming soon.

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