The doorbell rings.
A million thoughts race through your mind. Is the guest room prepared?
Is the patio inviting?
Are there enough refreshments?
And what about the presentation? The color scheme?
Are there enough towels? Forget the amount, do they even match?
Ross Manning, senior vice president and general merchandise manager for the national Tuesday Morning chain, said that locals can relax.
A graduate of Lake Oswego High School and now a resident of Dallas, Texas, Manning recently visited Lake Oswego's Tuesday Morning to talk about popular trends and why the company with stores in 45 states creates approximately a billion dollars a year in revenue.
Located at 101 S. State Street, Suite 170 - between Noah's Bagels and Taco Bell - the store is situated nonchalantly in the corner of the Oswego Village Center shopping complex. The interior is plain. The shelves are stocked.
'We operate the physicality of the stores very basic - no frills,' Manning said. 'If we were a big-box retailer then we'd have to be making upgrades and charging extra mark-up. … We're a value-driven (company).'
Specializing in home-decor - bed and table linens, decorative accessories, crystal, garden adornment, bath and body products - the store could resemble a Marshalls or T.J. Maxx at first glance.
'We specialize,' Manning said, 'in internal and domestic name brands and designers.'
'It's first quality - never any seconds, never any irregulars. If it wasn't sold that way by the designer and brand name initially we don't buy it,' Manning said. 'We're an upscale, deep-discount retailer.'
The Lake Oswego store is visited often by local homeowners and interior designers and their clients because, Manning said, products change each week. Products are chosen on an availability basis.
'When they're gone, they're gone,' Manning said.
For instance, let's say a margarita mixer is made by Waring, who changes the colors on it for the new season. Department stores are then left with 1,200 of the mixers in the old colors and Tuesday Morning buyers can take them off their hands for a price and sell them at their store, Manning explained.
'And we pass on our savings to our customers,' Manning said. 'Let's say someone designed something to send to Japan and they cancelled the order.'
Leather chairs, bamboo tables and decorative pillows are popular items at the Lake Oswego store. But Manning said his company is noticing three tends right now across the nation:
-- Value-conscious buying: 'This table and chair set folds up unbelievably flat so they're perfect for a condo balcony or for the boomers who are downsizing,' Manning said.
For less than $250 customers can purchase a table, chairs, solar-powered outdoor lantern candles, a barometer, margarita mixer and plates, cups and napkins.
'If you bought all of this,' Manning said of the same brand-name products, 'at a department store it would be around $611.'
-- Home entertaining: With the rising cost of gasoline, many families and friends are sticking close to home to entertain. Manning said that preparing a party place can be F.A.A.S.T., standing for:
F - flooring: 'What are you going to do? A (rug) like we have displayed here,' he said, pointing, 'can work indoors or outdoors.'
A - accessories: 'What do I then plan to use?'
A - accents: 'Am I going to do lighting? A solar candle? Faux foliage, like faux bamboo?'
S - seating: 'Benches? A table and two chairs? A patio set?'
T - timely and topical: 'Think about the seasonality of it. The great thing about bamboo - which is very popular - is that it's timely and topical. This set (of a table and chairs) would have been $570. Here it's $245.'
-- Eco-friendly: Within a section of the store Manning pointed out home items made from bamboo - even towels.
'A normal, 60-foot oak tree could take 60 years to grow. But bamboo will grow 60 feet in 59 days. It's naturally anti-bacterial and it resists mold and mildew. It's the perfect Oregon product,' he said, holding up a bath towel. 'It absorbs more water than cotton and, because of its absorbency, takes less dye to dye the color (of the towel).'
The bamboo display contains sheets, socks and barbecue-related items, such as cutting boards.
'We're going to see a lot more bamboo in the retail environment in the coming years,' Manning said. 'It's not just a passing fad.'
Manning said another non-faltering fad is saving money - and differentiating the difference between price and value.
'We're not just about the lowest price,' Manning said. 'You can find some things that we carry generically for lower prices but what you cannot find is the same exact brand item for less.'
He continued, 'Which is a better value, a 2006 Mercedes 300E that's 50 percent off, or a 2007 Ford Focus that's 60 percent off? I'd rather have 50 percent off a Mercedes. Not disparaging the Focus, but it's just a different perception.'
Items chosen for each store are unique to the area - some things in an Arizona store might not end up in Lake Oswego.
'There's a great lake in the middle of this city,' Manning said. 'I know, I grew up on it.'
Manning said the founder of Tuesday Morning started the store in 1974 and chose the name because it's the first good day of the week.
'Well Sunday was a religious and family day, he thought, and Monday is a terrible day. But Tuesday is the first good day of the week. Hence, Tuesday Morning,' Manning said.
And it's on Tuesday mornings that the delivery truck makes its way to the Lake Oswego store to deliver new products.
'Everything is always new. There's constant turn-over. My favorite thing about working here is getting to unload the truck,' said Carol McLain, Lake Oswego store manager. 'It's like Christmas each week.'
Tuesday Morning can be reached at 503-699-8954. Store hours are from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday though Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday.