BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Here in western New York, we’re all about taking care of our own. So, before you head to a large corporation to decorate your space, try shopping at Huggins Home Decor & Design.

While it’s true that Tracey Huggins is a native of North London, she’s lived in Buffalo ever since marrying her husband in 2009. So, the English transplant considers herself to be every bit of a western New Yorker.

That’s why she knew this would be the perfect place to open her own passion-based business; because it’s home.

Growing up, Tracey always had a fire for design and woodworking, but she credits the Queen City with giving her the chance to pursue it full-time.

“There was the fear of launching out on my own. And then one day, I was like, ‘I can do this,’ and applied for the competition ‘Queen City Pop-Up’ and I was successful,” she says. “And then from there, it was like absolute history, and that was in 2017. And I just couldn’t go back. It was like, ‘This is what I need to do.'”

The Queen City Pop-Up is a competition run by Mayor Byron Brown and the Buffalo Development Company that offers small businesses and startups the chance to operate a store front with six weeks of free space in downtown Buffalo.

After Tracey tasted the freedom of ownership, she says there was no going back.

“Despite the pandemic, things have ben turning around,” she says. “We launched not only the home decor boutique, but we also do classes. We do makers and crafters classes. So, we make boards, we paint boards, we do pillowcases and stuff like that, wreathes, and then I also launched my upholstery business.”

To comply with COVID precautions, Tracey requires in-store visitors to wear masks and sanitize upon entry. But she’s made accommodations for those who choose to stay home. She mails all online orders and shoppers always have the option to drive by and pick up.

Overall, business has been good and she feels becoming a small business owner is one of the best decisions she’s ever made.

Huggins Home Decor & Design is located at 2218 Kensington Avenue.