Photo: Northshire Living interior design. Courtesy photo.
by Joyce Marcel, Vermont Business Magazine Northshire Living, which designs and installs upscale custom kitchens and bathrooms, is the Small Business Administration's Vermont Veteran-Owned Business of the Year.
On its website (northshireliving.com), Northshire describes itself as “a complete kitchen, bath, and interior design showroom located in Manchester, Vermont. We offer complete white glove installation services, general contracting, and project management in addition to our award winning design services. We are also happy to work with your contractor and supply high quality materials and detailed installation plans.
”The company was founded in 2017 “with a desire to offer complete turn-key, stress free, remodeling and interiors with style for homeowners in the Northshire region,” says the website. It is owned and run by the husband and wife team of Chris and Niki Conte.
“We specialize in full-service, high-end remodeling,” Chris said. “Our clients are people who don't live here. They walk away and come back to a completed project. We do a lot of video conferencing.”
Chris is a veteran of Afghanistan and the 10th Mountain Division. He is also the commander of Manchester’s VFW. He's an alumnus of the Yestermorrow Design/Build School in northern Vermont.
Photo: Chris Niki. Courtesy photo.
Before he and his wife founded Northshire, he was flipping houses and working for his father.
Niki studied sculpture at Massachusetts College of Art & Design with a focus on furniture design. She was selected for The National Kitchen & Bath Association’s “30 Under 30” program in 2018. She worked with another kitchen-and-bath place before starting this business with her husband.
“My wife has a degree in interior design, specializing in furniture and sculpture,” Chris said. “Kitchens and baths are interesting and complicated subjects. People need help with them, and we enjoy doing it. My wife enjoys designing, and I like construction.”
Prior to COVID-19, the company had revenues of $1 million a year and three full-time and one part-time employees. Now it's down to two people: Chris and Niki.
“We're still very busy,” Chris said. “Our showroom is appointment only. We have several active job sites around Bennington. We have kitchens going in, and a full-house remodel. And at least a half dozen new job inquires have reached out to us.”
If customers happen to pass by the showroom in these socially distant times, and see Niki or Chris inside, they say they would love a wave through the window or hello from the sidewalk.