Key to the Good Life: Host With the Most

With its roots entrenched in the art of hospitality, urbAna is more than a store – it’s four local destinations where entertaining meets elegance.

“Our whole idea is that we are the first place you think of if you are hosting or being hosted,” said Ana Wells, who owns urbAna with her husband, Brian.

We chatted with this local lifestyle expert about what they’ve learned over the last 10 years of business and how we can bring those lessons into our homes.

Host or Hosted

The whole concept for urbAna came because Ana and Brian love to entertain and wanted to offer an elevated idea of entertaining at home. “It makes people feel special,” she said.

At urbAna, everything they do is through that lens, which allows the store to explore different directions. “It’s not just dinnerware and barware,” Ana said.

Ana says: “Go grab pizza from somewhere like LGO, but put it out on a beautiful tray. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to make it feel special.”

Timeless Toys

When the store next door to urbAna’s original location closed, Ana and Brian acquired it to open Arcadia Toys. Boasting a classic toy-store vibe, the shop has a curated collection of toys and art supplies that are as delightful as they are enduring.

Ana says: “I’m always like, ‘Get the wood toys.’ They’re going to last a lifetime, and they make such fun designs. We have a taco kit that I think is adorable, and we have a natural healers one that comes with Epsom salt and aloe vera.”

Design Services

The extra square footage in the Arcadia store allowed urbAna to extend its design space. “It was something we really wanted to lean into,” Ana said. Farrow & Ball Paint was a huge part of their decision — urbAna is the only store in Arizona where it is sold.

Ana says: “Our in-house designer offers customers a free consultation, and then they can take it from there.”

Thoughtful Registries

Ana’s brother and sister-in-law were urbAna’s first wedding registry clients. Since then, the store has added a baby registry and a kid’s birthday club. Ana particularly loves hosting couples for registry consultations, offering personalized advice to help them prioritize items for their future.

When it comes to adding a personal touch to registry gifting, Ana suggests starting with your budget, then looking for things that are meaningful to you. “Adding a personal touch can make a bigger impact. Maybe you love a cookbook or product. Make that connection when you’re writing the card, like, ‘This is from my favorite author.’”

Ana says: “Young couples might not be thinking about 20 years from now when they are hosting those Thanksgivings and Christmases. Those are things that you need! People want to buy things that will last — let them purchase those for you.”

Easy Entertaining

With summer comes the desire to entertain al fresco. So, urbAna stocks breezy items for memorable soirées. “Take advantage of when that sun does finally drop,” Ana said. She suggests casual gatherings with creative board dinners, so guests can graze while the oven stays off.

Ana says: “I love all the paper products that can make an easy tablescape when you have people coming over. They make it easy and casual but it still feels elevated, which I love.”

Parties with Purpose

Behind the displays and curated collection lies a commitment to community. The store hosts private shopping events with charity components, offering a fun and exclusive experience for groups of colleagues or friends. “We’re always giving back. We are here as a fixture in this community,” Ana said.

Ana says: “You can come in with a group of 10 to 20 friends for a private shopping event. We have bubbly, and it’s a good time. They’re popular, especially in the holiday season, because we’ll get everything wrapped for you and out the door.”

Community Cultivation

By fostering creativity and giving back, urbAna strives to be a hub of fun and collaboration. With locations in Arcadia, Scottsdale and Gilbert, Ana looks forward to meeting clients where they are.

Ana says: “We want people to enjoy themselves and have a lovely time, and I think we can be a little bright spot in their day. It’s not about the sale. It’s about the relationship.”

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About Karen Werner

Karen Werner is the editor of Frontdoors Media. She is a writer, editor and media consultant. She has interned at The New Yorker, worked at Parents Magazine, edited five books and founded several local magazines. Her work has appeared in Sunset, Mental Floss and the Saturday Evening Post.

From Frontdoors Magazine

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