By Hollie Deese
Photography by Pamela Monaghan
Sometimes it can seem impossible to find the right piece of furniture that looks good, feels great and seems just right for the space.
Ashlee Dozier Nash of Binkley Nash Furniture & Design can help.
A Gallatin High School graduate, Nash majored in interior design at Middle Tennessee State University and minored in business before moving back home to work at Gibson Furniture and Patio — a longtime Gallatin furniture store.
“That’s where I fell in love with the furniture business,” she says. “I knew design was the route I wanted to go, but I didn’t know that it would lead into furniture.”
Originally hired as a designer to stage the store, she was a natural saleswoman who gravitated toward connecting people with custom pieces. Then about six years ago, the owner of another furniture store in Gallatin, Binkley’s Furniture House, approached Nash about buying the business. His family had opened the store in 1968, but his mother and father had both died and he was ready to retire.
“I actually saw Mike at a restaurant and he said, ‘I want to talk to you about buying my furniture store,’” she says. “Of course I had known of the store, and luckily we were able to work it out.”
She closed on the deal to buy the store on New Year’s Eve 2014. She decided to change the name — just enough to honor the Binkleys while growing her own name in the community.
It also means a lot to her to care for the client base the Binkley family had built. She has lived in the area her whole life and knows how important it is to offer the best customer service.
“It’s why we strive so hard with every client to give them the best possible experience,” she says. “One bad experience, you don’t know how many potential people are impacted by that experience, potential customers that choose not to come here.”
In the past five years she can’t believe how much her business has grown, just through word of mouth and referrals.
The small showroom carries lines like Hooker furniture, Braddington-Young, Sam Moore, King Hickory, Fairfield and Uttermost, with most everything able to be ordered with custom fabrics and finishes to meet the client’s needs.
“That’s what I love about the furniture that I sell, that it can be made for you, for your space, and you don’t have what your neighbor has,” she says. “Every design is different. Even if it’s the same sofa frame, it’s going to have different fabric, it’s going to have different pillows, it’s going to have different nail heads. We don’t want cookie cutter.”
Nash takes her interior design skills to her customers’ homes as well, offering consultations on style and space planning, as well as guidance on paint colors, lighting options and layout.
“Once they welcome you into their home and you’ve established a relationship with them, it becomes much more personal at that point,” she says, admitting she looks at her customers as friends over time. “Spaces don’t accommodate one person; spaces accommodate families. You design around their dog or the way their children live or the way their spouse lives. And not everybody always agrees on how space should be designed, so you’ve got to work together to make it right.”
Decades after the Binkleys opened their furniture house, it is still a family business — just for a different family. Nash’s mom, Tanya Dozier, is on staff full time, and her toddler son usually is in a playpen nearby.
“It’s not a different sales associate every time you come in. It’s just us,” she says. “My daughter was raised here, my son is now being raised here. We may not be the most professional, but I think it shows that they’re spending their money with a family. They’re not spending their money to go towards a corporation or somebody they’ll never meet. When you walk in, it’ll be me or it’ll be my mom.”
Nash offers free delivery within a 40-mile radius of the store and has a local upholsterer and seamstress on hand to do custom draperies, custom bedding and custom cushions. And if something is ever not up to her or her customer’s standards, she does everything she can to make it right.
“Things aren’t always going to be perfect, but they want you to handle it to the best of your ability,” Nash says. “When Mr. Binkley owned the store, his motto was ‘Good product, good price,’ and I feel like we have tried to stand by that for five years, and hopefully another 50 more.”
Binkley Nash Furniture & Design
224 N. Locust Ave. Gallatin, TN 37066