common / Luxe Living

Spend a dollar, save a life

Sales support addiction recovery

A community-minded crowd of 30 attended an open house in May at the Tree of Life Designer Store to experience the merchandise and the mission of the high-end accessories, antiques, clothing and décor purveyor.

The merchandise includes everything from a $25 pair of shoes to a $25,000 painting, as well as china, crystal, glass, silver and a wide variety of furniture. The mission entails saving the lives of those with alcohol and drug addictions.

The “upscale retail” outlet, which also operates on consignment, supports the Tree of Life Center through proceeds from sales. That money goes back to the restoration house that provides care and counseling to adults in need of recovery.

“It’s all about the vision and helping the Tree of Life Center,” store manager Craig Connington said of the 10,000-square-foot space on Okeechobee Boulevard in West Palm Beach. “It helps men and women get their lives back together, and it’s a good venue for us to network with other people.”

The location — in the Tree of Life Plaza — is owned by Schumacher Auto Group, whose dealership is adjacent to the property. While industrial in appearance on the outside, the inside exudes elegance.

“People are surprised to see what we have here and ask why we’re not on Palm Beach,” Mr. Connington said. “The answer is that the space is paid for so every dollar that comes in goes out.”

The store opened in November as an initiative of the Tree of Life Foundation International, an organization created by philanthropist Amanda Schumacher, the wife of Schumacher Auto Group President Chuck Schumacher.

“We’re a branch on the tree,” Mr. Connington said of the foundation’s 22 project areas, which range from the arts to the environment. “When you come in and see what we do and how we do it and what we’re about, people want to get involved.”

Here are Mr. Connington’s thoughts on why the store is — and will continue to be — a success story:

What sets the Tree of Life Designer Store apart from other resale shops?

It blesses those who purchase items because of where the money goes. If someone spends $25 with us, that money is going to go to someone who needs it. If someone spends $25,000 with us, the same thing happens.

What inspires you in your business?

I love what I do and how it helps others.

Tell us about your products. What's selling?

Fine furniture, Italian antiques, nice art.

What are the benefits of buying vintage?

When you buy antiques, fine art and quality women’s designer couture, it holds its value and often increases in time.

Where do your items come from?

Mostly from fine estate homes in Palm Beach County.

Who is your clientele?

Homeowners, dealers and interior designers.

Tell us about the cause your store benefits.

Proceeds from the Tree of Life Designer Store go to help support the Tree of Life Center. We offer a six-month residential program that provides housing, food, clothing, education and employment, as well as help clean up past records for those who wish to start a healthy, new and productive life. ¦

— Tree of Life Designer Store, 4047 Okeechobee Blvd., Suite 260, West Palm Beach, 561- 687- 4965 or www.treeoflifestorewpb.com.

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