Boutique: Where art and fashion meet

From the French word “shop”; one that specializes in elite and fashionable items. Exclusive. Eclectic. Exquisite. Those are a few of the adjectives that describe a boutique, those charming, independently owned shops that reflect the proprietor’s sense of art and fashion, where stylish staff happily cater to clients and purchases are packaged in pretty paper bags with plumes of tissue paper, like a gift, even if it is yours to keep.

From the French word “shop”; one that specializes in elite and fashionable items. Exclusive. Eclectic. Exquisite. Those are a few of the adjectives that describe a boutique, those charming, independently owned shops that reflect the proprietor’s sense of art and fashion, where stylish staff happily cater to clients and purchases are packaged in pretty paper bags with plumes of tissue paper, like a gift, even if it is yours to keep.

Soho, Paris, Miami Beach and Beverly Hills are famous for boutiques. But you don’t have to travel that far to enjoy the pleasure of shopping for one-of-a-kind finds in an artful setting. Stark County is home to several boutiques with treasures ranging from apparel and furniture to jewelry and home decor. See for yourself, and by all means, indulge.

THE BLISSFUL

4605 Fulton Dr. NW, Jackson Township
(330) 492-2500
www.theblissful.com
Hours: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Owner: Abby Kerr.
Opened: November 2006.

blissfulAs the proprietor of a French boutique, one might assume Abby Kerr is French. She isn’t. But the 30-year-old always has been enamored of the country’s culture.

“I danced with the Canton Ballet when I was little and all through high school,” says Kerr. “You could say my earliest roots were with French aesthetics.”

The shop, which emphasizes home accents ranging from objets d’art to lighting and kitchen wares, is garnering national attention.

“We are featured in the May issue of Home Accents Today and will be featured in the August issue of Romantic Homes magazine. It’s a big honor.”

Selection: Art, apparel, jewelry, small furniture, apothecary, Euro-style home accents and textiles, handbags and candles.

How to get there: In front of the Belden Center, on the northwest corner of Fulton Drive and Dressler Road NW.

FRENCH MARKET

2000 Lincoln Way NW, Massillon
(330) 837-4435
Hours: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday, noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, also by chance and appointment.
Owner: Michelle Fox.
Opened: August 2007.

french

Lincoln Way in Massillon is a far cry from the Champs-Elysées in Paris, but Michelle Fox’s French Market could hold its own on the famous avenue of Parisian boutiques. Memorable romps across France inspired the 34-year-old Fox to open the European-influenced shop of “Frenchy finds,” displayed by theme in rooms of her chic updated 1930s farmhouse.

michellefoxIf the location is a surprise, so are Fox’s prices. We noticed a swank gold hobo bag that at first glance appeared to have a price tag of $129. It actually was $12.95.

Selection: Furniture, mirrors, permanent botanicals (updated name for artificial floral pieces), purses, jewelry, kitchen and garden accessories, gift items and artsy antiques.

“We get antiques and add our own touches to it, whether it’s fabric on a chair or a patio table hand-painted with script.”

How to get there: West of downtown Massillon. Go past the viaduct to the Y, veer right. It’s on the right in a taupe house.

LAURA OF PEMBROKE C’EST MAGNIFIQUE

3119 Whipple Ave. NW, Jackson Township
(330) 477-4455
www.lauraofpembroke.com
Hours: 10 to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.
Owners: Laura and Andy Bosworth,Veronica Sirpilla, Johnny and Susan Sirpilla
Opened: 1995 (locally).

pembrokeA family venture that started 21 years ago as a women’s boutique in Cleveland has flourished into much more — exclusive apparel, home furnishings, design consulting, fashion consulting, a personalshopper service and a bridal registry.

“We wardrobe women, and we wardrobe their home,” says Laura Sirpilla Bosworth, the store’s namesake, who studied design in New York City.

pembrokeladiesThe shop has a European concept in design, and is all about “living life beautifully but simply,” Bosworth says.

Selection: Sofas, tables, dining room sets and armoires, to smaller furniture such as accent chairs and end tables, plus home accents, florals, artwork, clothing, jewelry, shoes, purses and gifts.

How to get there: On Whipple Avenue NW, between Hills & Dales Road and Fulton Drive, across from Grinders Above & Beyond restaurant.

MS. E’S PLACE

5558 Fulton Dr. NW, Lake Cable, Jackson Township
(330) 497-8806
www.eisforeverything.com
Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday.
Owner: Leah Ackerman.
Opened: November 2005.

msEplaceIt has happened to us all, including Leah Ackerman. You take great pains selecting the perfect outfit for a special event, and someone else shows up wearing the same thing — the horror!

“I’m a stickler for being unique,” says Ackerman, who rarely sells duplicates. “Customers aren’t going to see themselves walking down the street in the same outfit.”

Ackerman, 40, formerly worked for Casual Corner.

msElady“I’ve always had a bug for retail,” she says, “but didn’t like mall hours.”

The itch led her to open her own store, named after her 10-year-old daughter, Elyssa.

Selection: Emphasizes basic bottoms and colorful tops, jackets, dresses for work and play, hats, sunglasses, stylish reading glasses, sandals, One Sole shoes (with three different heel sizes), artisan jewelry and gift items.

How to get there: End unit in the same plaza as 91 Wood Fired Oven.

Hartville MarketPlace

1289 Edison St.NW, Hartville
(330) 877-9227
Hours: 9 to 5 p.m. Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Owner: Beth Amireh-Leach.
Opened: September 2002.

vitaVita is not for the timid. Store owner Beth Amireh-Leach is a whirling dervish of a fashionista whose exuberance extends to her merchandise. Think clothing and accessories with expressive designs, bold color, and fun, flirty styles.

“I’m wearing a Christine Alexander jacket right now,” said Amireh-Leach, 45, when we spoke to her. “She’s one of our best-selling lines. She has denim jackets and pants, twill jackets, brocade jackets — all embellished with Swarovski crystals. Just gorgeous!”

vitaladyPersonal service is paramount, Amireh-Leach said, and Vita’s staff is happy to help customers tone it down or crank it up, depending on their confidence level.

Selection: Day dresses, jackets with matching shells, dressy pants, Not Your Daughter’s Jeans (one of Oprah’s faves), Spanx body-shaping undergarments, jewelry, artsy T-shirts, resort wear, license plates purses (including Cleveland Indians and Cleveland Browns),Timmy Woods purses.

How to get there: On the second floor of the Hartville MarketPlace on state Route 619.

Where to buy

The Repository
Select Rite Aid Stores
Spee-D Foods
Buehler's Fresh Foods
Fishers Foods, including 44th Street NW, Tuscarawas St. W, Fulton Drive, Lincoln Way E. and Cleveland Ave. NW locations
Aultman Hospital Gift Shop
Mercy Medical Center Gift Shop
Gervasi Vineyard Marketplace
Carpe Diem Coffee Shop, downtown Canton and Belden Village Mall locations
News Depot
Avenue Arts Marketplace
Yum Yum Tree Alliance
Grapes in a Glass