Although Sonny Golden was co-owner of one of Staten Island’s most iconic dining spots, she still found time to keep active with another interest.
“I’ve always loved decorating. I used to work as a decorator part time in college. I even worked as a decorator when I had free time from the deli,” she said.
Many longtime Islanders may associate her last name with Golden’s Deli, which closed in 2012 after a 30-year run in New Springville. While she enjoys hearing stories from fans of her restaurant, many might not be aware that her love of interior decorating is the reason she created a different entity – Golden Key Interiors Inc. in 1987.
“I went to a company in Georgia that trained me in design. In the beginning, I used to go as much as two weeks per month,” she said. “Designing is second nature to me. When I come into a space, I try very hard not to look around because I’ll start to redesign that space in my head.”
Golden says she is different from other interior decorators because she provides a one-stop shop for all decorating needs including paint color consultations, window treatments, furniture placement and purchasing, area rugs, artwork, and accessories.
“Most decorators provide advice, and then you either go out to buy the materials someplace else, or they take you somewhere to buy it. They don’t have the wholesale accounts like I do,” she said. “I’ve been in business for many years, and it’s very hard for designers to get these accounts nowadays.”
With more and more reality shows depicting designers and decorators on television, some may watch and think that it isn’t all that difficult. According to Golden, though, decorating is not as easy as it used to be.
“Years ago, you could go into a furniture store and buy a vignette with a sofa, loveseat, chair, area rug, and pillows, and be finished,” she said. “That’s not the case anymore. You don’t just buy. You mix a lot of different pieces that actually look good together. Color, balance, and the way pieces work together are important. There’s a lot of different things that go into the maximus style that’s very popular now.
“It’s not as easy to do if you’re not trained,” she added.
While decorating is about connecting the right pieces, networking is about connecting the right people. Golden says that referrals are one of the main reasons she has been a member of the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce for 25 years.
“I’ve been a member of other networking groups before, and I find the people in Business Guild 2 are very loyal and professional. They’re always there to help you no matter what,” she said. “We really are a team. If I recommend any of them, I know they will take care of my clients the same way I would.”
Business Guilds are networking groups within the Chamber that is comprised of approximately 25 members and each member is guaranteed exclusive representation in their business category/profession. Golden says she sees tremendous value with these weekly meetings that build close professional relationships by affording members the opportunity to learn about each other’s businesses, share tips, exchange leads, and hear speakers on a variety of topics.
“My clients and my friends actually thank me when I recommend members of Business Guild 2. I found a group that actually makes me look better,” said Golden.