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Contemporary Living furniture is stylish, warm and cozy, owner says.

Cynthia Heathcoe, owner of Contemporary Living at Downtown at The Gardens, opened her showroom in March 2014, and says the furniture industry is in the midst of a strong movement toward contemporary design.

“One of the main things people love about the showroom is the pops of color,” Heathcoe said. “People don’t want heavy and overdone any more.”

Heathcoe says she competes against larger companies in the highly competitive industry by providing one-on-one service and offering merchandise that is highly customizable. For example, she sells a dining table that can be purchased with one of five glass tops or nine different oak tops and 15 different metal finishes.

Age: 47
Hometown: Louisville, Ky.
Where you live now: The Acreage

About your company: Contemporary Living is a mid-priced, high-style furniture showroom with an emphasis on detail, quality and customization. A strong emphasis on North American and European manufacturers ensures top-quality selections to fit any room of the home. Our strong design team at Contemporary Living provides personalized design assistance to make your room happen.

How your business has changed: With the awareness of conserving resources and designing with eco-friendly materials, it is only natural that contemporary design is seeing a resurgence. However, contemporary does not mean cold and uninviting. Today’s contemporary is warm and cozy. We can layer leather sofas with soft textured rugs and pillows to create a welcoming ambiance.

First paying job and what you learned from it: At age 16 I had my first job as a dishwasher in a restaurant, where my mother had been working for almost 10 years. Each day I witnessed the hustle and bus tle of a single mother waiting tables in an effort to feed and clothe her children. It wasn’t until then that I understood the hard work and sacrifices she made for her family.

First break in the business: My first experience with furniture design was in the late 1990s. I owned and operated K.I.D.S., Kreative Interior Design Studio, for three years as an artist — refinishing and hand-painting children’s nursery pieces. My first break in the retail furniture business was in the summer of 2003 with a family-owned company in Delray Beach where I quickly fell in love with retail.

Best business book you ever read: “UnMarketing” by Scott Stratten

Best piece of business advice you ever received: I receive a lot of valuable advice from my SCORE mentor, Penny Pompei. However, the one thing that sticks with me and gets me through tough times is, “Put on your big girl panties and deal with it.” I am constantly reminded of this whenever things don’t go the way I plan. Or when I feel overwhelmed and ready to give up. I am ultimately the one who is in charge and responsible for all things, good and bad within my business.

What you tell young people about your business: Retail is a very tough industry. You need thick skin to take the repeated rejection of the “I’m just looking.” Yet, at the same time, it is extremely rewarding.

What do you see ahead for Palm Beach County? I see this county continuing to grow and continuing to be a hot spot for tourists and those looking for an oasis away from home as well. Housing in Palm Beach County is in high demand and short supply. This creates opportunities for new construction and growing development.

Where we can find you when you are not at the office: I have six wonderful children, one grandson and a very loving and supportive husband. It is with them that you can find me when I am not at work.

Favorite smartphone app: The CamScanner app allows me to sign and send agreements via my cell anytime, anywhere, allowing me to have more time to run my business.

What is the most important trait you look for when hiring? The ability to be enthusiastic about the design process and a willingness to collaborate with the team on the best options for the client are instrumental in a productive and healthy work environment. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.   Twitter: @ssalisbury

Cynthia Heathcoe, owner of Contemporary Living, says she competes against larger companies in the highly competitive industry by providing one-on-one service and offering merchandise that is highly customizable. BRIANNA SOUKUP / PALM BEACH POST

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Paragon is a certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) and relending intermediary of the U.S. Small Business Administration dedicated to providing comprehensive financial services, training and asset development for businesses in Palm Beach County, FL. Paragon provides access to capital through its loans to businesses that demonstrate a strong business model, an experienced management team and the potential to thrive and grow.