A one-stop shop for home decoration

Eagle River's Cozy Interiors relied on First National Bank Alaska's financial guidance to expand

Melissa and Matt Hickey have always been fueled by an independent spirit. They wanted to work for themselves and took a chance by opening Cozy Interiors in Eagle River nearly 30 years ago.

“We had never retailed a day in our lives and didn’t really know what it took,” Matt said. “Thinking back, we were probably too naïve to know we could fail and too scared to create bad habits.

“So when we started learning the business and needed to do something, we made sure to do it right the first time.”

Through the years, the company has furnished quality products, service and installation at a fair price. Cozy Interiors started as a full-service flooring business in 1989 and expanded in 2016 to include a unique variety of furniture and home accessories as well as a large storage warehouse.

“Part of Melissa’s bucket list, she always wanted to have a furniture store,” Matt said. “Add it to our initial offerings and it all now ties together.”

With a large inventory and a goal to satisfy every customer, Cozy Interiors has transformed into something of a one-stop shop for all things home decor.And when the Hickeys needed the financial backing to reach such lofty status, they found it at First National Bank Alaska.

"Someone we could believe in and trust”

Cozy Interiors’ relationship with First National dates back more than 15 years to when the Hickeys purchased a plot of land in Eagle River separate from the store’s current location. They considered relocating the business to that land. Plans changed, but their faith in the bank’s financial experts was solidified.

“From the get-go, everyone we’ve worked with at the bank has been nice, professional and extremely helpful,” Melissa said. “When we bought the plot of land years ago, First National’s bankers worked hard to make it happen.”

In late 2015, the Hickeys approached Eagle River Branch Manager Marty Crow about the financing needed to expand Cozy Interiors to include the furniture store and the warehouse behind the store on N. Eagle River Loop Road.

“At the time, Marty was relatively new to the Eagle River community and to us,” Matt said. “But he quickly showed us he was someone we could believe in and trust."

The Hickeys and First National worked closely to make sure the capital was there to build on the Cozy Interiors property and grow the store’s inventory.

“First National brings such a committed local touch to everything it does,” Melissa said. “If I was ever too busy to visit the branch, bankers would bring paperwork I needed to sign directly to me.

“It’s so reassuring to know First National is always there for us.”

One of many fun stories to tell

The Hickeys pride themselves on running a family business at Cozy Interiors. Two of the couple’s children, Jimmy and Victoria, play integral roles in the company. Many of Cozy’s installers and carpet technicians have worked for the Hickeys for decades.

“In so many ways, our business is all about the quality of our installers,” Matt said.

The Cozy Interiors team welcomes all customers whether they’re returning for their third or fourth home carpeting job or recent home buyers looking to furnish their new home with a touch of local Alaska service.

But back in summer 2015, Cozy employees were tested by something of a surprise visitor. A black bear mistakenly entered the front door and took a look around.

“We still have the scratches on the (window) ledge from where the bear tried to escape,” Matt said. “It’s surprising more wasn’t broken.”

The bear knocked over a few displays and made its fair share of noise, yet no one was harmed during the brief visit.

“We’ve got flooring for every type of den, but he was probably just browsing,” then-store manager Trisha Toenes told a local television station at the time.

In the almost 30 years of doing flooring and furniture business in Eagle River, the Hickeys chalk up the bear story as one of many fun ones they’ve been able to tell. The independent spirit they started with remains strong to this day.

“We’ve built strong relationships and surrounded ourselves with the right kind of people,” Matt said. “The people at First National Bank Alaska are included, and we’re so appreciative.”

Learn more about CozyInteriors.com.