To Sara Ramazani, Oriental rugs are not simply decorative floor coverings. Rather, to the owner and operator of Sara’s Oriental Rugs, a St. Matthews shop specializing in original and antique floor coverings, the fabric and the threads that make up each individual tapestry reflect the skills, traditions and values she learned through a childhood watching her father, Sam Ramazani, run his own local business, Atelier Oriental Rugs.
“My dad was actually in the business for 25-plus years, and he was actually in this same building for 18 years,” Ramazani explained from inside her store, which is located in St. Matthews Station off of Shelbyville Road and Breckenridge Lane. “I’ve worked with him since I was maybe 12 or so, you know, my first job, and I just kind of stayed with it ever since. … I grew up in it. I know a lot of people in the business we’ve worked with for years and years and years, and they remember me when I was my son’s age. It’s just kind of in my blood, I guess.”
Offering a selection of handmade rugs in every imaginable size and pattern, Ramazani’s shop is a treasure-trove of beautiful colors and designs, with stacks of rugs lying throughout and even more decorative pieces lining the walls. The Sacred Heart Academy graduate prides herself on selling products that are not only elegant and attractive, but also well-made and durable enough to withstand generations of living.
“The finer pieces, like the silks and things, they’re so fine that a lot of people don’t even want to put them on the floor,” she pointed out. “But as far as the piled rugs, they can handle any kind of traffic for years and years. … These things, they last for generations. Your kids and grandkids will end up with it one day.” Ramazani can personally attest to this, as her parents’ home still contains several beautiful but durable pieces that have been passed down through the family over the years.
Originality is also very important to the local business owner. Rather than offering “program pieces” – reproductions that come in specific patterns and can be ordered in increments of 2 foot by 3 foot and up to 10 foot by 14 foot or larger – Sara’s Rugs specializes in one-of-a-kind antiques and handmade originals in a variety of sizes and made with traditional materials such as vegetable dyes. Each rug is carefully selected during trips to various cities around the country. Ramazani regularly meets with wholesalers who have imported the original pieces from as far away as Iran, where many of the rugs were hand-crafted.
“We usually go at least three times a year and we bring newer things in, kind of what’s on the market and what people are into,” revealed the owner. “We try to change things up every few months and bring different things in, just so we have something for everyone.”
Visitors to Sara’s Oriental Rugs can find Ramazani – and often her father, who is retired but far from absent – in the shop daily, ready to make suggestions and show off the newest acquisitions.
In addition to rugs, she offers cleaning and restoration services for those who already own antique and oriental pieces. Ramazani is currently running a special promotion: The business will pay all sales tax on any rugs purchased through the end of October. “I want (my customers) to, when they go home, tell their friends (and) recommend me,” she said. “I try to make everybody happy, and maybe they’ll came back.”
Sara’s Oriental Rugs, located at 3900 Shebyville Road, is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. Cleaning and restoration services are available by appointment at 502.896.2277.