Santa Maria Sun / Biz Spotlight
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 14, Issue 19
Spotlight on: a la carteDonna Wilson, owner
BY REBECCA PATTERSON
Donna Wilson has always had a passion for interior design. In 1998, she and a partner opened a la carte to bring unique merchandise to the Central Coast.
The furniture store, located on Betteravia Road in Santa Maria across from the Target shopping center, sells one-of-a-kind furniture, mirrors, mattresses, and home accessories such as clocks and candles. A la carte also specializes in custom framing and drapes.
Exploring a la carte is an adventure unto itself; each section of the store is decorated with items Wilson hand picks from furniture and design conventions in Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Because new and unique merchandise is always coming in, customers never step in the same store twice.
“I am always looking for the latest unique items. The good part is if you buy something from [a la carte], your neighbor probably won’t have the same thing in their house. It will be unique to your space,” Wilson said.
Since the day it opened its doors, a la carte has always supported the community. Wilson shared with the Sun that through a la carte she has donated to all of the high schools in the area, as well as the Santa Maria Valley Discovery Museum, Relay for Life, and other local organizations that help children. She is usually asked to donate home accessories and gift cards for auctions.
“I feel that it is very important to support the children in our community,” Wilson said. “I try to support anything the community needs because this is the community that has supported me during the last 15 years.”
Three years ago, Wilson began donating a percentage of the store’s income to local causes. Next month is a la carte’s 15-year anniversary. To celebrate, Wilson is donating 15 percent of her sales to the Benevolent Fund, a fund that offers financial support to the families of injured firefighters.
Wilson decided to fundraise for a local fire department after the recent deaths of the 19 firemen in the Arizona-based Granite Mountain Hot Shot Crew. This tragedy made her reflect on how much local firefighters do to help our community.
On Aug. 10, Wilson is having a fire truck park in front of her store from noon to 1 p.m.
“Ideally, I would love for people to come on that Saturday and really reflect on how much good the firefighters do. They are usually the first responders to any emergency, and we should thank them for that,” Wilson said.
Two weeks later, on Aug. 24, Wilson is doing another fundraiser. This time she is donating a percent of the store’s sales to Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA).
“CASA is a program that helps foster care youth. I actually have a friend who volunteers with CASA, and sometimes my friend pays out of their pocket to take the kids to the movies. There are probably other people who do that, too, so I would love to donate to that cause,” Wilson said with a smile.
Wilson’s lively demeanor and style is reflected in her store. The layout is open, inviting, clean, and presentable. Wilson offers design consultations for anyone who wants to change up a space.
“If you want to redecorate, I recommend starting with subtle changes such as changing out pictures. Next, you want to focus on a piece of furniture and build the room around that,” Wilson said.
“If someone comes in looking for something in particular, I will do my best to find it for them. Everyone should have fun with design. Don’t ever be afraid to try something once,” she said.
Wilson can be contacted at 925-3272. You can also visit her seven days a week at a la carte, located at 238 E. Betteravia Road, Suite B.
Intern Rebecca Patterson wrote this week’s Biz Spotlight. Information should be sent to the Sun via fax, e-mail, or mail.