On the night of September 27, 2019, Ann Roche King '99 was in New York City for a weekend with her Gilmour friends when she got the call. Her furniture rental business, Borrow Curated, was engulfed in flames.
With $500,000 in damage, the property was a total loss. Fortunately, some of the business’s merchandise was rented out to customers when the fire started.
With the business preparing to expand at the time of the fire, King already was exploring moving to a larger space in Cleveland, at East 49th Street and Lakeside Avenue. The landlord let her move in three days after the fire.
And while nothing in the warehouse was salvageable, the rental community’s support of King helped the business endure. As one structure lay in ruins, King’s new beginning was firmly rooted in the love of the community.
"It’s deeply ingrained in me that when life knocks you down, you get right back up," King says. "The events community we’re part of is the same way. The support we received from them really made an impact."
After the fire, Borrow had several event orders lined up. But with next to no furniture on hand, they couldn’t do anything about them. So other event businesses stepped in, letting Borrow use their furniture and rentals to fill orders — in a few cases even free of charge.
The solidarity confirmed for King what she already knew — that it’s good business to work with local organizations. King had established Borrow on that very principle when it launched in 2012, and it’s shaped the business in the years since. When King opened Borrow, it was a dream come true for the Miami University graduate who had grown up loving art. Her burgeoning interests were cultivated all the more at Gilmour. Borrow — specializing in custom- designed and locally sourced furniture for rental and retail, furniture recovering and interior design — is King’s passion project. Through furniture, she’s crafting experiences tailored to clients’ personal tastes.
King started Borrow Curated with the belief that people need local art in their lives. With a degree in creative writing and a childhood spent in the theater, her artistic interests are all-encompassing.
"Art is part of me," she says. "So is Borrow. So is this community."