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A Real Deals Reboot

New owners remodel home décor store
Located at 225 Beaver Kreek Centre, Real Deals on Home Décor was purchased by Dawn and Brian Lenth in December and has undergone ambitious renovations. The business will host a grand-reopening Thursday, Feb. 1 through 3 to unveil its revamped store. (photo by Cale Stelken)

NORTH LIBERTY– Sometimes you have to tear it down to build it back up again.
That was the case for Real Deals on Home Décor, which has spent the better part of January undergoing a major facelift. Located at 225 Beaver Kreek Centre, the business will host a grand re-opening Thursday, Feb. 1 through 3 to honor the occasion.
“We tore everything down,” said Dawn Lenth, who purchased Real Deals with her husband Brian on Dec. 29 last year. “All the walls came down, and we had to go through and do a full inventory and just start packing stuff up so we can start rebuilding.”
Just days after purchasing Real Deals, the Lenths traveled to its corporate headquarters in Twin Falls, Idaho, for a briefing on store standards. They soon returned and in a matter of weeks began its rapid reboot.
Dawn, who had been a customer of the store for years, said the remodel will be a major improvement to its atmosphere.
“It was just very dark and very busy. And I never realized that until we bought it and went out to corporate office and saw how open and structured things were, and I just loved it,” she recalled. 
The previous owners had the business for three years, which traces its history back to Iowa City. The franchise itself has its roots in Twin Falls dating back to 2003. It has since grown to include stores throughout the U.S. and reaches as far as northwest Alberta. North Liberty is host to one of three Iowa stores, the other two being in Fort Dodge and Mason City.
“There’s a lot of people in North Liberty that don’t even know that we’re in their backyard,” Dawn said. “So I’m gonna fix that.”
The revamped store will feature a plethora of décor such as clocks, mirrors, vases, wall hangings and furniture but also include a variety of clothing options such as shirts, dresses, sandals and dress shoes.
“Anything from furniture to little knick-knacks to wall hangings to holiday decor, a little bit of Hawkeye stuff coming in,” Dawn cited. “There’s just a lot of good variety.”
The store owner was also quick to emphasize the variety of vendors at her fingertips, which will provide an ever-changing inventory.
“There’s always gonna be something new, which is exciting for me; I don’t wanna go into the store and see the same thing every time,” she said.
“That’ll be one of the strong points for us is we’ll constantly be changing inventory and you won’t see the same thing twice.”
As part of the store’s remodeling, industrial style racks and wood wall paneling will provide fresh design elements. Real Deals will also include a variety of new store displays, including a large farmhouse.
“That’s where all the greenery is going,” Dawn noted, pointing to a corner of the room.
“Everything will be displayed more at eye level, and it’ll be quaint and clean,” she affirmed. “It’ll have a lot more structure to it, and it’ll have personality.”
The store will also include a clothing boutique and two dressing rooms currently being finished.
Dawn also plans to allow customers the liberty of browsing the inventory in the back of the store, as opposed to restricting them to the main floor area.
“If you don’t see it out here, or you don’t want to see it mixed in a display, go look. It’s all gonna be open for sale. We’re not gonna close anything off from the customers.”
The Lenths’ decision to assume Real Deals stems in large part from their background in residential development, with Brian specializing in ceramic tile.
“My husband is a general contractor, so we build our own houses,” Dawn explained.
An Iowa native and Clear Creek alumna, Dawn has lived in the area with her husband for 20 years. The couple made an effort to involve their children in the development of homes as they moved throughout the North Liberty/Coralville area.
“It was good for the kids to be a part of that, and that’s part of the reason we got the store,” she said. “Our goal was making it family owned, and with the kids growing up helping us build houses, we really just wanted them to have that value and that work ethic.”
As they close in on the final renovations, the Lenth family is eager to unveil their home décor store and clothing boutique to the community.
“I want that small town mom and pop shop feel, and since we’ve been in the area so long, we know a lot of people,” she noted. “I just want to make sure that we’re doing stuff within the community, and I think this’ll be a good way to do it.”
Kicking off this goal will be a Beat the Bitter-affiliated ladies night on Thursday, Feb. 1. From 6 to 8 p.m., customers will be served chocolate martinis, offered 15 percent off and receive a special gift with the purchase of $50 or more.
“They call it ladies night, but I want anyone to come,” she remarked.
With children currently enrolled at North Central Junior High and Liberty High, Dawn also noted a desire to fundraise for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and celebrate local schools by honoring school IDs and Teacher Appreciation Day.
“With the six kids going through the Iowa City School District, I have a huge respect for them and what they’ve done for my family,” she said. “So I really do want to make sure we’re acknowledging them during any event that we possibly can.”
Dawn said she ultimately wants the city to think of Real Deals when gathering resources for community events, and for her business to develop a strong rapport with locals.
“If they wanna sit down and have a cup of coffee and not even shop, I would love that.”