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Patios Plus Rancho Mirage, Calif.

Exterior of PatiosExterior of Patios Plus suits its Southern California desert location. Once inside, customers can fi nd furnishings to suit their individual preferences.
Five years of cutting expenses is paying dividends this year at Patios Plus.
     "We've had a good year," said Jim Schultz, who owns the business with his sister, Kristine Schultz Hutchinson. "We've seen double-digit increases in sales, margins are up, and expenses are down."
     Patios Plus operates a 10,000-sq.-ft. showroom in Rancho Mirage and a 6,000-sq.-ft. showroom in La Quinto. Its bread-and-butter customers shop for their $500,000 to $3 million homes, typically working with designers - business that spiked for Patios Plus this year.
     "We saw a lot of increases in special orders from designers, which really helped cash flow," said Schultz, adding that most trended toward a more contemporary look, which was a change from the traditional preference shown a few years ago.
From leftFrom left, Kristine Schultz Hutchinson, Jim Schultz and Amanda Schultz.

     The retailer keeps inventory to a minimum, but with a season that runs from October through May, buying is well underway. Though they didn't attend the Preview Show and are looking forward to seeing what is new at the Casual Market, Schultz and Hutchinson purchase those lines they know they want to maintain as early buys to avoid price increases.
     "We are very economically aware and try to take every advantage we can so that we can be more competitive," Schultz said.
     Patios Plus has won the Apollo Award twice and been nominated 12 times in the last 14 years. It is also a past winner of various Casual Living Merchandising Awards. Established in 1978, the family business includes the next generation, with Schultz's daughter, Amanda, taking on much of the accessory buying for 2013.

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