By Julie Thunder
Juli Risner is a San Diego native who has lived in Cardiff for 20 years with her husband, Rich. She has an upgraded sense of style as evidenced by the products she carries in her downtown Encinitas store, Grounded, and a generous spirit (see Athletes Helping Athletes below).
What did you do before opening a retail shop? My background is in marketing communications. I helped develop things like consumer catalogs, private-label products
Athletes Helping Athletes? It’s such an amazing charity. They raise money to buy handcycles for children who have disabilities. Road Runner Sports pays for 100% of the administration costs so every dollar donated goes toward handcycles. And the kids are great.
Why did you name your store Grounded? When we first opened in 2004, we moved into a building at 25 East E Street (the old Redsand store location) and our focus was primarily modern outdoor furniture and accessories. We were looking for a name that tied together our love of outdoor living with feeling connected to the community.
Did you consider placing Grounded in Cardiff? The downside to the strong economy in North County is that it’s challenging to find retail vacancies in Cardiff or Encinitas. You really have to jump when you find something that meets your needs. At the two times we were looking for a new space, there simply weren’t any spaces that met our needs in Cardiff.
What do you sell? We have an eclectic mix of modern furniture, home décor, local art, jewelry, cards and gifts.
What has been the hardest part about the retail business? The challenge in independent retail is trying to balance all of your competing priorities. As an owner, I’m a salesperson, customer service rep, buyer, furniture assembler, accountant and more. But I love the variety and working directly with customers every day, so the hardest part is also the most rewarding part.
What’s your secret to retail success in North County? We’ve been lucky that the local economy has been strong for quite a few years. Grounded is known for our product expertise and for offering good service. We try to treat every customer like a neighbor and a friend.
What do you like about living in Cardiff and running your own business? I love knowing that I both live and work in the community. Cardiff is such a small town, where we all look out for each other. Virtually every day, a customer will tell me, “I know I can search online but I’d rather buy from someone I know and trust.” And I try to return the favor and shop locally whenever possible.