By Emily Williams-Robertshaw
The Dandé Lion owner Joann Conzelman Long is turning a page and beginning a new chapter.
After taking over ownership of her mother’s furniture and home accessories store and maintaining its presence in Mountain Brook Village for 52 years, she is saying farewell.
In 1969, Joann’s mother, Joan Conzelman Long, opened the Dandé Lion in English Village.
Joan moved the operation to Culver Road in Mountain Brook Village three years later, and the store remained there for more than 45 years.
When Joann moved back from Atlanta, she intended to continue her career as an educator but found she was overqualified for the positions available to her in Birmingham.
She had always planned to help her mother at the store, so she joined her and found that she loved it.
“Mother and I worked very well together,” she said.
A portion of that great working relationship was due to Joann’s ability to capture her mother’s sense of style. It came naturally.
Joann took over ownership of the store after her mother died of liver cancer.
“When I was in the Culver Road store, there were times when I felt like my mother would walk in at any moment,” Joann said. She did lose that feeling in 2018 when the store relocated to its current space on Canterbury Road in Mountain Brook Village.
Joan’s style – as well as daughter Joann – set the standard for The Dandé Lion, which has continued to offer classic and timeless pieces while adapting to trends.
Beginning on Oct. 20, the Dandé Lion will present a farewell sale with everything in the store available at a 40% discount.
Shoppers will find a store staple, Byers’ Choice Carolers, on the shelves.
Joann and her mother began selling Carolers after seeing them at market in Atlanta in the early 1980s.
There are a number of individual Carolers in the store, including holiday pieces from collections such as “A Christmas Carol,” “The 12 Days of Christmas” and “The Nutcracker.”
Joann has been known for her wide selection of lamps, once having upwards of 500 in stock at the store’s Culver Road location.
Few lamps remain, but there is a wide selection of furniture and other decorative pieces for the home.
“We have baker’s racks, étagères, dining room tables, end tables sofas and antique trunks,” she said. She also has a wide variety of antique and modern mirrors on display throughout the store.
Some of her favorite decorative and smaller pieces include five-piece place settings of Richard Ginori china in “Italian Fruit” and antique items including Imari plates, leather books and brass candlesticks.
“I have loved the retail business,” Joann said, “but it’s just time for a change.”
Her wish is that the community continues to shop locally, she said. Not only are small businesses vital, Joann agreed that nothing beats the experiences of purchasing an item you’ve seen in person from someone you know and trust.
Joann said what she will miss the most are her interactions with shoppers and the relationships she has built with customers over the years.
“I love it when we help a customer find the perfect gift or item for their home, and they come back in to tell us how much they have enjoyed it,” she said. “That’s the best feeling. Thank you for 52 wonderful years!”