By Sondra Barr
Photos by Mark Susan

With the charming boutiques of Paris as inspiration, Darlene Richert created an exquisite shopping destination in Scottsdale unlike any other.

A luxury furniture consignment store artfully curated with high-end designer pieces, antiquities, original artwork, rugs, and sought-after home accessories from the Valley’s most exclusive estates, Avery Lane has grown beyond Richert’s wildest expectations.

“I never envisioned Avery Lane being 34,000 square feet,” she says. “My friends always joke, ‘You’re one city block now.’”

Prior to starting Avery Lane, Richert spent 25 years in the professional golf development industry, successfully managing millions of dollars in marketing and dealing with large corporations.

“I took this deep dive off a high board to start Avery Lane,” she says of investing her own 401K savings to lease a 12,000-square-foot space near the Scottsdale Airpark in 2012.

“I would say it probably took about a year for me to get the right items in and find the right aesthetic,” Richert says of the store named after her two children. “I wasn’t an interior designer and I’d never been in retail, but I had a strong vision for a business and a passion to create something special.”

Richert’s discerning eye has developed as a lifetime lover of the arts, architecture, and interior design. Drawn to theater, she performed on stage and in front of the camera. Her acting prowess and ability to think on her feet can be seen in the interior design videos she posts on Avery Lane’s YouTube channel, where she effortlessly demonstrates how to mix and match items off the showroom floor.

The unique feeling one gets strolling through Avery Lane is due in large part to Richert’s own eclectic aesthetic. “I like this mix of old world and new world. That’s how I am in terms of how I design and how I live. I’m a very traditional person and then I’m contemporary in some other ways. I love to watch classic English literature—shows like Downton Abbey and movies like Pride and Prejudice—but then I’m a very contemporary, successful businesswoman.”

Raised on a ranch in Montana, along with her twin sister and three brothers, Richert grew up experiencing firsthand the value of a hard day’s work. Her first job was moving irrigation pipes in the pastures.

It’s this strong worth ethic and sense of honor that has continued to serve her business well, as does her unwavering commitment to Avery Lane’s clients.

“I’m a strong Christian. My faith steers how I run my business and interact with my customers. When you think about what people are trusting me with—it’s sometimes $50,000 to $100,000 worth of their property—I take that seriously,” says Richert. “There’s an absolute obligation to be forthright and honorable in all dealings.”

For transparency and accountability, all Avery Lane agreements are in writing. “One of my mantras to my own staff is to get a paper trail so there is no misunderstanding later. It eliminates so many problems,” she says.

Richert counts EO Arizona, a peer-to-peer entrepreneurs’ organization, as another element to her success. She’s served on the board multiple times and looks to the members for advice. “We really support each other and how to run and grow our companies,” she says.

From a growth standpoint, after much expansion over the past few years, Richert has her sights set on perfecting the Avery Lane experience. Having more efficient systems in place, creating a more seamless experience for consignors, and making the showroom look even better are priorities.

“I’m lucky that this became a viable option for me. I’m happy having the business I have now,” says Richert, who’s also working to bring more attention to local charities.

In addition to being a corporate sponsor for the Scottsdale Philharmonic and holding their fundraisers at Avery Lane, Richert is also active in Rosie’s House: A Music Academy for Children. “It’s the largest nonprofit musical school for kids who are impoverished,” she says of the organization.

Meanwhile, in February, Richert is hosting a high tea fundraiser at Avery Lane for Send Me On Vacation, a nonprofit that provides cancer survivors the opportunity to initiate the process of emotional healing through a vacation experience.

“I love having this platform of Avery Lane, where we can be a venue to support charities,” says Richert.