Decor&you(R) Names NJ Design Business Leader, Paul Allegro, Its Top U.S. Franchisee; Allegro Builds a Thriving Network of Design Entrepreneurs in

Paul Allegro ranks first among 100 Decor&You franchisees nationwide for growing a flourishing interior decorating business in New Jersey while competing retailers and designers struggle to maintain sales.

Bridgewater, NJ, May 16, 2008 --( While Big Box home goods sales flattened during the past year and furniture retailers across New Jersey began closing their doors, Paul Allegro of Bridgewater, saw his fortunes rise. National decorating franchisor Decor&You® ( named Allegro its top U.S. franchisee, honoring him for building a team of 12 independent professional interior decorators in just three years and doubling design sales each year.

The decorators – all currently women, most with children, operating home-based design studios – deliver full-service interior decorating, along with designer furnishings and home goods, direct to clients' homes and workplaces. Allegro quipped, they offer "much more than just a pretty room."

In fact, most of New Jersey's Decor&You franchisees are former corporate professionals who exited careers in finance, information technology, product development, accounting and other fields, Allegro says, "to pursue work they feel passionate about and a lifestyle where they control their time and their income, without needing to answer to a boss."

Together Allegro's team has sold custom services and products to nearly 300 New Jersey home and business owners. They scored record sales in the fourth quarter of 2007, bucking the state trend of declining retail furniture sales.

Allegro says he spends most of his time guiding the group's success, first helping conquer their fears during the transition from employee to business owner. His satisfaction, he says, comes from watching them evolve from freshman decorator to small business pro. He explains, "Most emerge from the first phase of Decor&You training unsure how to apply their new knowledge and make it all work, but quickly transform into seasoned professionals who master complex design projects and create beautiful and comfortable spaces for clients."

Allegro also seems to have a knack for screening the right people for the franchise. Among the current top-five decorators nationwide, three are in his region, including Jackie Kessler of Sparta and JoAnne LaRiccia of Little Falls, in first and second place, respectively.

Kessler, who traded a career at Hewlett Packard for the life of design industry entrepreneur, says Allegro's exhaustive efforts drive the region's success. "Paul is the definition of a strong mentor," she noted, "and as my business grows he always makes himself available to brainstorm an idea, talk through challenges with vendors or clients, build better business practices and support me during trying times."

Before buying into the Decor&You brand, LaRiccia was a feeder for a team of eight salespeople at ADP, making presentations throughout northern Jersey and the five boroughs. She says Allegro's listening skills set him apart. "The training gets us started in business, but when we get stuck, rather than pointlessly venting to my husband, I get effective advice from Paul who understands my business and takes the time to understand me," she notes.

Allegro studied interior design at the celebrated Parsons School of Design in Manhattan and studied business administration at Queens College in Queens, New York. When he's not busy mentoring his design team or nurturing his family, he cooks and digs in the gardens at the home he shares with his wife of 20 years, Giovanna, and their two children.

Celebrating ten years in business, Decor&You® furnishes and refines America's residential and commercial interiors via a nationwide network of professional interior decorators, making it easy to achieve comfort, style, and enhanced value in people's homes and businesses. Decorators provide individualized planning, purchasing and decorating services and help clients manage investments and choice among hundreds of collections in the global Decor&You portfolio, including furniture, fabric, window and floor coverings, art and accessories. Decor&You® is concatenated and spelled without the customary accent on the letter 'e.'



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