Saturday, July 20th, 2024

Casual Home Furniture Story


Josh and Jodi Briseno fulfill a dream of helping people find 'furniture that fits their lives.'

by Kathy Van Mullekom

Jodi and Josh Briseno

Jodi and Josh Briseno

Jodi and Josh Briseno wholeheartedly believe in the saying, "Home is where the heart is." Those heartfelt words have been the guiding light for designing, stocking, and opening their new business, Casual Home Furniture, in the Centerville Crossing Shopping Center in the Great Bridge area of Chesapeake.

"We fell in love with the location," Jodi says. "We knew the store needed some TLC, but the vision came to life the moment we saw it."

With the landlord's generous help, the former Rite-Aid is now a modernized store with full-view showroom windows, fresh paint, and a quaint cobblestone-looking floor. The front entry takes customers through a vestibule that resembles a front porch, while another room is made to look like the back porch of a comfy, cozy home.

"Our goal is to make people feel as if they are­ walking into a place of comfort," says Jodi. "It's been gratifying to have people come by to welcome us and to reminisce about the building and how it was a part of their lives. We are thankful we could bring it back to life."

The idea of Casual Home has been Jodi's dream for many years, and the timing was perfect.

For five years, they traveled from their home in Clayton, North Carolina, to Chesapeake, where their daughter, Christa, son-in-law, Bryan, and six-year-old grandson, Nolan, live. When Nolan began playing sports like soccer and T-ball and then Little League, they knew they wanted to be closer so they could be a bigger part of his everyday life instead of just special occasions.  

So, they sold the North Carolina house and their part-time Home in the Deep Creek area of Chesapeake and purchased a home just blocks away from their daughter and family in Great Bridge. In their spare time, Josh and Bryan coach Little League while Jodi and Christa watch and cheer. "We truly enjoy being near Nolan and enjoying part of his everyday life," Jodi smiles. "Grandchildren are life's joy."

At the same time, Josh and Jodi put together a game plan for their new business venture. Jodi has been in the furniture industry for more than 20 years, helping Ashley Home Stores and other independent furniture stores open new locations, build their brand, and improve systems and processes for profitability.

Josh comes from a 30-year fire protection career, first as a naval firefighter on the USS Enterprise in the 1990s and then as a general manager with a commercial fire protection company in North Carolina.

"We decided to put our careers and dreams together and build our future," Jodi says. "I've always wanted to have my own furniture store and have it reflect how I feel when people come into our home-comfortable, relaxed, and casual. Making the name Casual Home come to life is a very exciting step for us and feels very near and dear to our hearts."

"Everyone wants their home to be
somewhere they can be themselves.
Home is a sanctuary away
from the world.
It is our goal to help people...
make their home everything they
want it to be."
                                                -Jodi Briseno

Casual Home offers high-quality, pocketbook-friendly brands that embrace what customers currently look for in furniture. Trends come and go, but through the years, Jodi has learned that traditional pieces stand the test of time. "There are pieces in our homes that are comfortable and bring an emotional connection, like the one beloved chair that no one wants to part with," she says. "Everyone wants their home to be somewhere they can be themselves. Home is a sanctuary away from the world. It is our goal to help people fulfill their furniture needs and to help them make their home everything they want it to be."

Ashley Furniture Industries-an American manufacturer and retailer owned by a father-and-son team in Arcadia, Wisconsin-plays a major role in the store's 7,000-square-foot showroom.

"Ashley is known for its quality and its live-in styles," Jodi says. "I also know what pieces I can get quickly without having to wait months for delivery.

In addition, Casual Home carries Leather Italia (a USA-founded company out of Leland, North Carolina), Split Nickel (wood pieces handcrafted from kiln-dried Brazilian white pine in Central Mexico), and Style Craft accessories such as lamps, small cabinets, and wall art that will change with the seasons and furniture lines.

The store's furniture styles range from popular coastal, modern farmhouse and some industrial to mid-century and modern-traditional. Plus, there's the more recent Boho look, a free-spirited eclectic mix of different cultures and artistic expressions.

"Boho is a throwback to some of our styles in the 1970s, only with a fresh look," Jodi explains. "We have a cute little sofa in burnt orange that also comes in blue and gray. It's very youthful and joyful looking."

Base colors in upholstered furniture continue to lean toward neutral colors such as beiges, creams, and browns. Jodi notes that neutral blues are nice base colors for coastal decors. "When you have a nice base color, you can build on it, using accessories and art and area rugs," she explains. "Those accessories are easy to change as you want or need, and the major pieces will be there for longevity."

For now, Josh and Jodi staff the store. Their part-time assistant is 17-year-old Zach Flood, who started helping Josh assemble furniture and is currently learning sales.

Josh and Jodi plan to shop at the furniture market in Highpoint, North Carolina, twice a year, so the store is always stocked with new pieces. For 2023, the couple wants the store to flourish and establish itself as a valuable part of the community.

"We want to make our store known for our service to the community," Jodi says. "I really have a deep desire, and so does Josh, to serve people and to 'live our joy.' We look forward to welcoming customers to our new store and to helping them find the 'furniture that fits their lives.'"

Casual Home Furniture

413 Centerville Turnpike South
Chesapeake, VA 23322

(757) 663-7000