A Design Legacy Continues with New Ownership
Rusticks celebrates 30 years of mountain chic furniture and interior design
By Brittany Conley
Stepping inside Rusticks is more than shopping. It is an experience. Little vignettes display big ideas, and every nook and cranny is brimming with possibilities. For 30 years, Rusticks has helped people find their own sense of style for their homes and keeping true to their appreciation for customers and employees alike. And it all started with Ann Sherrill.
With a home in Lookout Mountain, Tennessee, the Sherrills gravitated to the Highlands-Cashiers Plateau out of a deep love for golf and the majestic courses found here. They purchased their first home on the plateau in Highlands, maintaining both residences for some time, and it was in this new home that a love for design grew in Ann’s heart and soul.
“Because the home in Lookout Mountain was more traditional, it was rewarding to attempt a more casual and comfortable—yet sophisticated—(design) look for our home in the mountains of North Carolina. I enjoyed making that happen,” says Ann, noting the countless compliments she received on the handcrafted Adirondack-style hickory and willow furniture she’d chosen for their Highlands home, later using the same in their Cashiers home.
After Rody Sherrill retired from his family business, he and Ann were hungry for a new opportunity and ready to tackle the challenges that came with it. Neither of them had any retail experience, but Ann knew she had an eye for design and, with a plan and plenty of faith, the Sherrills approached the skilled artisans who had made their original furniture to find out if they were interested in getting into business together.
Luckily, the artisans were on board and Rusticks was born. The business opened in 1992 with husband-wife team Ann and Rody.
“We truly started small. We were literally in one room,” says Ann, crediting their friend and respected local architect, Tim Greene, with helping them by giving them space in his attic.
With no similar furniture being offered and Ann’s keen eye for design, Rusticks soon outgrew its humble beginnings and expanded, not once but twice, before finally requiring its own space in May 2000—fittingly, a beautiful Adirondack-style building on Cashiers Lake.
They’ve spent the last three decades in a state of constant change and fluctuation, with everything from expansions and moves, keeping up with and setting trends and navigating the new ways of business and modern issues like hiccups in the supply chain.
Established as a local powerhouse and gaining attention nationally, Rusticks added new talent to keep up with the pace. Stacie Platt, now Rusticks’ senior designer and retail manager, has worked diligently with Ann for many years.
“It has been amazing. [Ann] has taught me a lot. When she says she has an eye, it is an understatement. She can see things no one else can see… she makes those little tweaks that go from ‘that looks good,’ to ‘that looks amazing,’” says Platt.
Ann’s vision for the store didn’t stop at furniture and textile choices. She envisioned its future, one that didn’t always have her at the helm. One may feel compelled to call it serendipitous that Don Gottwald’s decision to leave his corporate role coincided with Ann’s decision to take a step back and enjoy partial retirement. The pair speak so fondly of one another, you could easily mistake this as a family transaction.
“Ann Sherrill made me want to get into the business… We were aligned on the future and I found a lot of similarities between my situation and Rody’s,” says Don, proudly calling his new venture an “iconic Cashiers institution.”
With the torch officially passed, Don and Pam Gottwald are now in charge of carrying on the legacy of Rusticks. While the community certainly is excited to see what changes are in store, the foundation which Ann and Rody Sherrill built will always be honored.
“We will help anyone and everyone we possibly can. From one small table to [an entire] house, we’re here to help every customer that walks through the door,” says Stacie, echoing sentiments Rusticks has held since its very beginning.
A lot can change in 30 years, especially when one owns a business, yet the Sherrills’ love for design, life and each other that started Rusticks in 1992 has always been the heart of the business, and with the Gottwalds taking up the mantle, Rusticks’ legacy is in safe hands.
Stay up to date on all the incredible offerings and events by following Rusticks across its social media platforms on Instagram @rustickscashiersnc and www.rusticks.com.