Steve Stein – Peoria Journal Star
MORTON — It didn’t take long for a vacant iconic downtown storefront to be filled.
Decorating Den Interiors-Pflederer Group moved into the former Binkley Jewelers at 105 S. Main St. just two months after Bruce Binkley closed his business and retired March 31 after being at the location since 1986.
No one is more surprised about the quick turnaround than Decorating Den franchise owner Becky Pflederer.
She purchased the franchise in January and initially worked out of her home in Groveland.
“It was a five-year plan for me to open a studio with retail space,” she said. “Not a five-month plan.”
But it was God’s plan, Pflederer said.
After working as an office manager and in logistics, she said she was looking to switch professions to pursue her lifelong passion for decorating and design, which had already become a side business.
Then came an unexpected discovery last fall.
“I found myself listening to a station on Sirius XM radio that I usually don’t listen to, and I heard an ad for Decorating Den,” Pflederer said.
Hours of Zoom meetings, research, phone calls, rigorous vetting and completing the company’s professional decorating and sales school program led to Pflederer purchasing a Decorating Den franchise, one of only three in Illinois and the only one in central Illinois.
“It’s a great partnership for me. Through Decorating Den, I can source from 160 vendors,” Pflederer said.
Mary Kate Ferlmann learned about Pflederer’s Decorating Den business through the business’s website and asked Pflederer if she could do an internship with her.
Ferlmann was so professionally persistent that Pflederer and her husband went to Morton the final Friday in April to look for available properties for a studio.
That weekend, Pflederer learned the former Binkley Jewelers location was for lease because a sign had been posted in the window. Pflederer’s husband was familiar with the space because he had been a customer there.
Pflederer and her husband quickly made an appointment to see the site.
“We were in there for a half-hour, and we saw so many people walk by and look in the window,” Pflederer said. “It was obvious. God wanted me to open my studio there.”
Pflederer began setting up her studio June 1 and it opened June 25.
Ferlmann, a Dunlap resident and Peoria Notre Dame High School graduate, is working with Pflederer as an intern to fulfill a requirement to earn a degree in interior design from Northern Iowa University.
Pflederer loves her new full-time occupation.
“I’m a people person, and I have a passion for making things pretty,” she said. “They say if you love what you do for a living, you never work a day in your life. I’ve learned that’s true.
“I’ve also learned that when you own a business, you don’t mind working around the clock.”
Pflederer’s husband Ken recently retired from CSE Software in Peoria. He was the founder, CEO and president of the company, which was launched at the Field Shopping Center in Morton.
Becky Pflederer designed CSE Software’s executive office in Peoria, and basement and backyard build-outs at her home.
She has experience in interior decorating, space planning, basement design, corporate office spaces, move-in and move-out redecoration and creating porch and backyard retreats.
Her studio is closed Monday and Tuesday so she can do client visits by appointment. The studio is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.