Gift Shop of New Milford showcases products by local artisans
Welcoming scents of candles and aromatherapy greet patrons of a new boutique in New Milford.
Soft music sets a calming mood and an open floor plan with a variety of gift items carefully displayed catch the eye.
“I want (the shop) to be an experience for customers,” said Patty Bowers, who opened The Gift Shop of New Milford last month at 60 Park Lane Road (Route 202).
The store, located in the shopping plaza that also houses Etre Beau Salon and Petrela Nails and Salon, at Route 202 and Park Lane East, has something for everyone and all occasions.
The store sells products made by many local artisans, as well as those from Connecticut and throughout the U.S.
Among the artisans whose products are featured are Yessy’s Designs, Bonnie’s Beads, Create A Castle, Honeywick Candles, Honeybee Glass, Goatboy Soaps, Minehill Woodworks, OEP Soapery, Made by Grandma, Sweet Tweets, Sew Be It, Lasting Impressions, Coehlo Creations, Kitty Kickers, Sherman Crafts, Martha’s Vintage Creations, As the Weed Turns and Dennis Stuart.
“This is where my heart is,” said Bowers, whose warm personality exudes in her friendly smile as she welcomes customers to her shop.
New Milford artisan Yesenia Barreta of Yessy’s Designs describes the space as “nice, calming and airy.”
She cited the light colors of the walls in contrast to the variety of colors of products that pop off the shelves. “It’s such a pretty spot.”
Barreto, whose handknit products are carried at the store, expressed her appreciation to Bowers for opening a store that focuses on local products.
Bowers said she had given thought to what she would do in retirement throughout her more than 20 years in the corporate world.
“I love the creativity of people and gift shops,” Bowers said.
About two years ago she began reaching out to artisans, attending crafters events in the region and considering the types of products she would carry should she open a gift shop.
Among the handcrafted items in her store are candles, soaps, baby/children’s sweaters, blankets and booties, wooden ornaments, luggage tags, handpainted scarves, Scrubby Buddies, jewelry and unique home décor.
When choosing the products to carry, Bowers said she carries items “people put their passion into.”
She also turns to those who have a talent but aren’t able to share it publicly for one reason or another on their own.
For example, she said her 98-year-old mother, Maria Callahan, began crocheting and knitting baby blankets, booties and socks for the baby/children’s section.
“She said it gives her a purpose,” said Bowers, who is a notary.
In addition to products by local artisans, the shop carries soaps and bath soaks by Finchberry of Florida; bath balms by Musee of Mississippi; cards on recycled paper by Cardthartic of Illinois; aromatherapy by Aromotique of Arkansas; handmade pillows from Mississippi; wind chimes from Maine; spa products from Taylor Street Co. of Illinois; and Tocca perfume of New York.
Decorative birdhouses, Swell insulated bottles and ice buckets, purses and wallets, ceramics, wall décor, lamps, diaper bags, lake-themed products and upscale boutique items such as loungewear and lingerie by PJ Harlow round out the shop’s offerings.
“I believe in the story behind each product we carry,” Bowers said.
A longtime resident of town, Bowers said she appreciates meeting new people and the conversations she has with them at her store.
”I was greeted very nicely,” said repeat customer Dawn Masello of Brookfield, who noted Bowers placed a special order for her.
Complimentary gift wrapping is available.
Bowers said she looks to repurpose items, so if a customer mentions a gift is for a young child, she might add to the wrapping a new bow (a hair bow) that serves dual purpose — a bow for the gift and for the child’s hair.
The shop also offers periodic trunk shows.
The next one is set for Dec. 14 with Bonnie’s Beads and Stones. Ten percent of sales that day will go to Loaves and Fishes Hospitality House.
The shop owner said she selected the location for her shop to help build offerings on Route 202. Thousands of motorists travel on the state road daily. She said she hopes people will stop in on their way by, whether it be home or to points north in Litchfield and beyond.
Bowers said as part of the business community, she hopes to collaborate with other shops in town “as a team,” even those who have similar products, so everyone can succeed.
The Gift Shop of New Milford, located at 60 Park Lane Road in New Milford, is open Tuesdays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, call the shop at 860-350-6146.