Whether you are new to Southwest Florida, Elegant Outdoor Living, or shopping for outdoor patio furniture, allow us to welcome you to our family-owned and operated company. Elegant Outdoor Living opened its doors back in 2010 in Bonita Springs, Florida by Nathan Stegman, General Manager, Stephanie Stegman, Buyer, Debbie Stegman, President, and Thomas Stegman, Vice President (photographed left to right above). Tom and Debbie started in the casual furniture business in 1987, and their passion and expertise in the industry have blossomed into a family enterprise.
We’re excited to introduce you to our showrooms (you can take a virtual tour here) and the brands we carry at our Bonita Springs, Naples, and Sarasota locations. We sat down for an interview with Stephanie Stegman, our Merchandise Manager/Buyer, to learn more about the history of Elegant Outdoor Living (EOL).
EOL has been in business for 12 years. Tell us what it’s been like serving Southwest Florida for more than a decade.
It feels like yesterday since we moved down from Ohio to Southwest Florida. We still cannot believe it has been 12 years since we opened the doors of our first store in Bonita Springs. We have not looked back.
We grew very quickly initially, opening three stores in less than four years, then opening our fourth store in Sarasota in 2017. We still remember sitting on the floor in our Naples showroom before it opened, unwrapping furniture. We love to be hands-on in every aspect of the business. I know that is what has contributed to the success of Elegant Outdoor Living.
How is EOL different than other retailers?
We are a family-owned and operated business with over 30 years of retail experience. We are in the store, talking to customers daily, working in the warehouse, visiting customers’ homes, and listening to the customer’s needs.
Moving from Ohio, we had to learn about the community, environment, and, most importantly, the outdoor patio furniture demands in Southwest Florida. Our area here has extreme weather, which can be very harsh on outdoor furniture. We researched, talked to the manufacturers, and learned the materials we needed to offer to survive the climate and the styles of Florida’s homes.
One thing is for sure; our motto has not changed. We strive to offer the highest quality outdoor furniture and products with outstanding customer service while keeping our relaxed shopping environment.
We are fun, casual, and relaxed. That is what the outdoor lifestyle should be.
What are some EOL highlight moments that bring a smile to your face?
I know this sounds cliché, but it truly has been a tremendous amount of hard work with lots of tears, sweat, smiles, and maybe a few minor injuries along the way. Being able to look back at where we started and where we are now is a good feeling.
Every one of our employees, not just us, puts so much time into Elegant Outdoor’s success. It’s a wonderful feeling when our customers recognize our team by complimenting our drivers during their white glove furniture delivery or when customers walk into the showrooms and they tell us how beautiful the stores and products are. We love receiving customers’ pictures of the furniture at their homes and letting us know how happy they are with their decision to shop with us.
What does the future hold for EOL?
We are still a young company and want to continue growing the Elegant Outdoor Living name in Florida. Right now, our focus is on fulfilling our customers’ needs and orders from manufacturers. In all our retail history, we have never experienced the conditions of retail as we have in the past three years during the world pandemic. We have had to adapt quickly to the ever-changing conditions such as extreme product delays, price increases by manufacturers every couple of months, and labor shortages, alongside an overwhelming demand for home renovations, including patio furniture. Everyone was and still continues to enjoy our beautiful area and take advantage of their outdoor space.
Our team is always looking for new products, and we attend casual furniture shows to find the best in the market. We are also constantly talking to other retailers around the country to share ideas on how to satisfy the increased customer demand.
A continuous effort is put into building our presence online with social media offering multiple posts weekly on Instagram and Facebook to keep in constant contact with our community base and reach new customers. We are also excited about sharing helpful content on our blog to guide customers in the furniture buying process.
We believe informing consumers about what we have learned over the last 12 years with the products and materials is key to building good rapport and trust. We want consumers to be aware and feel confident when shopping for their outdoor space, whether with another retailer or us.
After 12 years in business, we are proud to say we have not lost sight of who we are and what we sell. We will continue to provide Southwest Florida with the best quality, newest trends, stylish patio furniture options, and our colorful and friendly retail showrooms. Contact our team if you have any questions about shopping for outdoor patio furniture.