Beth Branyan is the owner of Mary’s By Design, 308 N. Alpine Road, Rockford. The business was founded by her mother, Mary Sweeney, in 1998 and will close this summer after 24 years in business. Branyan is pictured in the store earlier this year. (Photo by Kevin Haas/Rock River Current)
By Kevin Haas
Rock River Current
Get our newsletter

ROCKFORD — Mary’s By Design, a family-run home decor store, plans to close this summer after nearly a quarter-century in business.

The company’s lease for its space at 308 N. Alpine Road is up at the end of July, and with founder Mary Sweeney ready to retire it provided a natural point for the business to end its run of two-dozen years.

Owner Beth Branyan, who is Sweeney’s daughter, said they will miss the people they’ve built relationships with over the years.

“We’ve met so many great people. They started off as customers and they’ve become friends over all the years,” Branyan said. “That’s what I’m going to miss the most.”

Related: Saluting Women-Owned Businesses in the Stateline: Mary’s By Design in Rockford

The final day in business will “depend on how things sell and what we have left to do around here,” Branyan said, but they will likely stay open into July. She said that her sister and her family moved to the Atlanta area and closing the store will provide the opportunity for her and her mother to travel more and spend time with them.

The closure comes after two difficult years for retailers and restaurants, who were forced to navigate shutdowns and other challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic.

“How many businesses didn’t make it through COVID? It’s sad. I’m happy we’re ending things on our own terms,” Branyan said. “It’s heartbreaking to think of all the businesses that didn’t make it.”

Biz news: This Rockford vodka company has gone public. Here’s how you can invest

Sweeney founded Mary’s By Design in 1998, and three generations of family members have worked at the store. It specializes in unique gifts, home decor and furniture.

The store’s first location was on Harlem Road in Machesney Park, and it moved to the current storefront near Roxy Carmichael about a decade ago.

Branyan said they are grateful to the community for its support for all these years.

“We’re so thankful for all of our time and all of the wonderful people we’ve met.”

Related: Women in the Rockford region run a diverse array of businesses

This article is by Kevin Haas. Email him at or follow him on Twitter at @KevinMHaas.