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Home Front: Twist on Modern

The risky part of the equation is that Forbes is also the owner of the Forbes Design Group, an interior design and construction management firm. But Forbes says Oro is not meant to be an incubator for projects to hand off to his design group, and he doesn't want to scare away local designers who might think shopping at Oro supports the competition. "It's really key in the Richmond market that we cater to other designers in town," Forbes says. He sees Oro as "a venue for them to purchase product and find product without having to drive all the way to D.C."

Oro offers a variety of name labels for kitchen and bathroom fixtures, including SieMatic and Watermark Designs. In addition to product lines, Oro offers design and installation services.

"Someone can come and buy fabric for curtains and make them themselves, or we can customize and install them ourselves," Forbes says.

Forbes is doing things his own way, but he hasn't forgotten what town he's in. Oro's stock is "contemporary modern but with a traditional twist," Forbes says. "We are in Richmond, and if you try to do a full-blown modern contemporary store, you're staring away from a huge group of people."

The back of Oro's showroom is reserved for pieces found in the "traditional Richmond kitchen," and Forbes has committed the front of his studio to local artists. He's been open for every First Friday art walk since February. This month Oro displays the work of Richmond artist and musician Ed Trask.

Forbes says he can most comfortably describe Oro as a custom home store, and he's betting his uncustomary business moves will help him succeed.

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