I'm not sure if it is the shop owner in me, or the time in my life or the fact that I feel like more and more or cities and towns are starting to look exactly the same. But I have become obsessed with unique, beautiful and well-crafted retail and dining experiences.
Main Streets and neighborhood shops have increasingly given way to the big box chains or have been forced to close in such a tough economy. Uniqueness is harder and harder to come by. This, of course, is an I'm-getting-older-and-things-just-aren't-the-same-as-they-were-when-I-was-a-kid rant even if it is largely true. Things are changing, as they must. But I crave something different.
The good news is that there are an increasing number of people and towns and small business owners trying hard to slow homogenization. To swing it back. To pepper the increasingly predictable landscape with sparks of uniqueness. In this fragile economy we have seen a tiny shift. People are digging back in to their communities. Shopping local. Creating beautiful, delicious, unique things right where they live. Some, have been doing it all along. Some have been doing it since before it was cool.
Jo Ellen Newton has been in the business a long time. She has seen it's ups and downs and through it all has managed to create a delightful, inspired and completely beautiful specialty retail experience in her shop Coco & Toulouse in the Sellwood neighborhood of Portland, OR. Now in it's new location (next to her equally lovely clothing boutique Coco Gets Dressed) It is an absolute vision in pink...and turquoise...and chartreuse.....never one to be accused of lack of character, this sparkly shop is full of everything you need to fancy things up a bit. From French perfume, to yards of silk ribbons to beautiful cards and gifts (yes, Curly Girl too!) you will find everything you need and surely something you didn't know you needed!
Make a day of it and stop by to say hello to Jo Ellen and her lovely lovely shops. While you are there, thank her for being a sparkle on the landscape!
View more photos of her shop here. (some in this set are from her previous location)
Do you have a favorite unique shop, cafe or restaurant that is bringing local back??! Share it! Shout it from the rooftops! Shoot! I am on a mission here!