A popular invitation and stationery retailer has changed hands. Monica Longest Horsley, longtime owner of By Invitation Only at the Shoppes at Westgate in Short Pump has sold the business to a new owner that plans to carry on a 21 year tradition in the West End. Horsley, a former schoolteacher, bought the business in […]
A popular invitation and stationery retailer has changed hands. Monica Longest Horsley, longtime owner of By Invitation Only at the Shoppes at Westgate in Short Pump has sold the business to a new owner that plans to carry on a 21 year tradition in the West End.
Horsley, a former schoolteacher, bought the business in 2002 and relocated it from Innsbrook to Short Pump, growing it into the number one invitation and stationery store in the metro area, as voted by the readers of Richmond Magazine.
“I spent ten years building a successful business, but I’m ready for the next chapter in my life,” Horsley said about her decision to sell the business. “When I found someone that had a similar passion for paper and dedication for tradition, I felt it was the right time to make that move.”
New owner Kerrie DiStanlo, currently a stay-at-home-mom and entrepreneur, has owned Polka Dot Paper Shop, an online paper store, for four years. She says the timing was right to make the move to a brick and mortar storefront.
“I’ve always been interested in invitations and paper, and I am also ready to go back to work,” DiStanlo said. “It all kind of happened at the same time. Everything converged.”
Over the course of ten years, Horsley has built up a loyal following of clients that DiStanlo says she’s looking forward to working with. ”I’m excited and feel like I have a lot to learn from Monica. My main goal is to continue the standards of professionalism and customer service that Monica currently provides.”
While DiStanlo aims to continue the practices set forth by Horsley, she has some of her own ideas for expansion. “A big trend is do-it-yourself weddings. I’ve always been big into crafting and I want to embrace this trend.” She says she hopes to start providing workshops in-store, as well as provide resources, tools and supplies that brides need to plan and design their wedding.
“I want to help people put their own personal touch on everything from the menus to the favors and I hope to create an atmosphere where customers can come and find the products to do so.”
The addition of new brands and online ordering are other areas in which DiStanlo hopes to expand.
While she acknowledges the store caters to a certain clientele that appreciates the qualities of fine paper in an increasingly digital world, DiStanlo feels physical invitations and stationery will continue to be a part of peoples’ lives for years to come.
“I feel that when I receive an invitation in the mail, it’s something I want to keep. It’s one of the few ways to capture the memories of life’s special occasions.”
By embracing new trends now and in the future, she hopes to keep and expand her client base.
“It’s not just about selling the business and walking away,” said Horsley, who plans to stay on staff throughout the summer to ensure a smooth transition. “We’ll be working together to continue the success By Invitation Only has had over the past decade.”
“I’m [buying the business] because I want to do it. It’s something I’ve always wanted,” DiStanlo added. “Yes there are always risks involved, but it is what I want to do. Monica has added so much value to this business that I couldn’t pass up this fantastic opportunity.”