Home decor added with UOI’s Sterling expansion

STERLING – Due to a recent expansion, there is something for the ladies, the guys, and even the canines at the UOI store in Sterling.

Located at 311 1st Avenue, UOI, which is short for Urban Outlet Incorporated, recently added a home decor section to its main store, which mostly sells women’s shoes and apparel. The new section was once an overflow storage area.

“We just wanted to expand our offerings for customers,” UOI owner John Brady said, “and give them more variety and more things to shop for. The response so far has been great.”

The two biggest sellers thus far in the new section have been potted plant hangers and throw rugs. There are also home decor items like pillows, artwork, furniture, candles, and kitchen and bathroom items. There is also access to a Merle Norman skin care and makeup store from UOI’s new section.

“I want to bring in some more furniture,” said Brittany Foreman, CEO and head buyer at UOI. “This is something that I’ve wanted to do for a very long time, the home decor part. We’ll be bringing in more furniture, more foliage, more artwork – just a lot more stuff that we have fun buying, and getting a response from the customers that they love it.

“It’s expanded our customer base because people that may not shop as much for clothing, but they love shopping for home decor, we’re getting those people in now.”

Upon walking into the store, there is a good chance one will be greeted by Bentley, an energetic 2-year-old cockapoo (a mixture of a cocker spaniel and poodle). Bentley has his own section of the store, Bentley’s Toy Collection, filled with toys and treats.

“They love him,” Foreman said. “We haven’t had one complaint. He always brightens everyone’s day.”

UOI is pet friendly, and customers who bring in an animal will receive a teat. Five percent of toy sales from Bentley’s Toy Collection will be donated to the Happy Tails Humane Society in Rock Falls.

There are also small stuffed-animal dogs on sale for $5, and all of those proceeds will go to Happy Tails.

Previously located at the Northland Mall for 13 years, UOI is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. It is closed Sunday and Monday.

There is also a UOI store located at 410 W. Washington in Oregon, but that is mostly women’s clothing and shoes. That store is open Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., then Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.