Tracey Smith, owner of Design Gallery Dallas, is what one might call a high-octane individual. The petite blonde with fashionably spiky hair and a mile-wide smile is constantly in motion at her showroom in Dallas’ famed World Trade Center, moving furniture, adjusting accessories and sprinting across 8,000 square feet to greet customers as they enter.
Her energy and enthusiasm undoubtedly were what prompted the former owner of Design Gallery Dallas to offer her the family-owned business a few short weeks after Smith started as a part-time associate.
“I’m sitting at my desk one day, and Mr. Hall comes in and sits down. He says, ‘I’m going to retire, and I want you to buy my business,’” recounts Smith.
Although passionate about the industry, she was reluctant to take the reins so quickly. Following months of continual prodding and encouragement by the owner, Smith and her sister, Courtney, struck a deal to buy the business.
Smith’s initial decision to apply for a two day per week position at the Trade Center was prompted by her desire to keep her finger on the pulse of current trends, but it’s her passion for people that has helped her business to thrive.
“My customers are really important to me,” says Smith. “I’ve built these last couple of years on a lot of customer service. It is important that our customers know they are welcome, and that we are here to help! I want to know what they are looking for, not just about their home, but about their entire project.”
In her rapid-fire conversational style, Smith adds: “I’m not going to sell them just a bed. I want the customer to tell me about their lighting, flooring … What are you doing about bedding? What are your nightstands, lamps, etc., because it needs to be fabulous. A bed sometimes is not fabulous alone. You’ve got to tell a story.”
With more than 30 manufacturers represented in her showroom, Smith has ample material with which to weave a captivating tale. Her displays feature sophisticated styles, including classic, transitional and traditional, with inviting fabrics and clean finishes. Bassett Furniture, Belle Meade Signature, BSC, Gabby, Bassett Mirror Company, A.R.T. Furniture, and Moe’s Home Collection are just a few of the lines she carries.
“We have delved into several more accessory lines, art, case goods and upholstery lines in the past two years,” says Smith. “I love watching the showroom transition and grow. Another aspect of our business is contract work, especially assisted living and hospitality.
“We love our job! Our customers feel comfortable in our showroom. They like the noise, and I’m noisy. You’re not ever going to see me sitting.” With that she’s on the move across the showroom again, ready to put her creative energy into action.
Leslie Thompson is a Dallas-based freelance writer with a passion for interior design.