….That the Dayton Daily News rated the downtown Centerville area as NUMBER 1 for the most interesting and fun place to shop? And I am totally embarrassed to reveal that I have lived in the Centerville area for about 10 years and never even bothered to have a peek at some of those specialty and boutique stores. Well, my research, of course, involved a day of visiting some of these stores. Folks, I’m originally from New York, and I have to say, even I was amazed! The experience for me was like a walk through the shopping and art districts of Paris, France, Los Angeles, and New York City all put together. I learned that some of these shops are introducing what some of the proprietors calculate as products, gifts and clothing which put Dayton one, if not two years, behind the fashion curve!! Suddenly I felt this little proud and pouty little kid complex come out of me. I personally was once painfully enjoying that privileged bombardment of products and artwork whose first introduction to the world came through New Yorkers “Only”. Generally, we knew that products were first tested on New Yorkers, because, as the rule goes, if New Yorkers liked it, then your product would more than likely succeed throughout the rest of the country! How blessed I once felt! Well, I’ll be darned; I got over that quickly as I walked through some of these shops!
Allow me to name just a few of some really very unique shops like Joli Boutique, Circa Home Décor and Antiques, Asahel’s Emporium, Loralei’s Boutique, and Visceral Gallery, etc. I’d really love to introduce some extraordinary Christmas items you can find and purchase at these stores, ranging from the one of a kind for the “unique” you to the extremely reasonable and accessible!
For a listing of downtown Centerville shops go to www.heartofcenterville.com
Remember Asahel’s Emporium? Didn’t that used to be mostly a museum type place? Well, guess again, it was a mini winter wonderland of specialty gifts and crafts like greeting cards, artisan jewelry, Christmas snowmen and Santas, ornaments that can be personalized, stocking stuffers, car charms, photography, handbags, wall art, mantel signs, ceramic angels, pottery, fine art umbrellas, kitchen towels, floral nightlights, clocks made with wood that is more than 180 years old, puzzle balls, plant stakes and need I continue? A very nice benefit to your purchase here is that all proceeds go to the historical society of Centerville-Washington Township which helps to preserve the town’s history and educational programs for children. That’s kind of awesome!
Circa Home Décor and Antiques is a feast for your creative eyes. Items like Christmas ornaments and decorations that are unusually different and with unique color tones, tons of assorted Christmas Santas, French milled soaps shaped like your pets, tea towels, table cloths, authentic shell, cast iron and beaded napkin holders, Christmas socks, festive shoes, dishware and highly unusual mantel stockings. There is clothing and antique artwork, and more.
Joli Boutique was very original and the owner shared that her ideal in opening up such a store eightyears ago, was first and foremost the return of genuine and personal customer service, and yes, I experienced it and I observed everyone else experiencing it too! This store serves all ages, sizes and price ranges. There are humanity bracelets whose proceeds go to school supplies for homeless children across the nation. There’s a hat shop and they sell one of a kind gowns, vintage and modern gowns, and there is the coolest little metal black dress to die for! There’s jewelry and clothing from artists from Los Angeles to Paris. There are essential oils, soaps, popcorn shirts out of Rockport, Massachusetts, and really cool snake chains made of soft pliable metal that can be molded into whatever your little artistic fingers can design (I’m getting one of those ASAP!), dickies, leg warmers, leggings, etc. etc. All I can say about this place is for you to dare to “step outside the box”! La Shoe Boutique (same location, upstairs) carries shoes, boots, clothing, accessories; local artist boot jewelry, earrings, hats and the owners of both stores are sweet people and welcoming.
Quick synopsis of the others…
Loralei’s Boutique – Finer and designer consignment, and gently used merchandise. Some is also new, scarves, hats, authentic Gucci, Coach, Brahmin, Dooney, and Burke. Juicy bags, Ferragamo shoes, St. John knit suits, crystal chandeliers, and high end boutique items. The place is beautifully decorated. The owner is offering gift certificates of $50 for $35 and other amounts are also available.
Unique Celebrations sells things like Santa wine stoppers, unique gifts, a very special potpourri, Christmas teas, personalized hand painted ornaments and glassware, wine glasses and plates, with special messages, and you can even book parties in her sister shop called The Tea Room. Gifts are creatively wrapped at no extra charge!
Visceral Gallery – This owner was kind of special. She has been in her shop for two years, is an artist herself, andtaught art at three different levels in the Centerville schools. She specializes in elements for interiors and corporate design, fine art and unique jewelry, local and national artists (over 50 artists in-house who represent local, regional and national environments. There is silver jewelry, body adornments, silk scarves, dyed shirts, mobiles, glasswork, sculptures, framed items, Japanese clay jewelry, and even some of Bing Davis’ pottery ceramics! Bing Davis’s work was part of the show held at the Dayton Art Institute. He is an educator and artist from the area. There are even origami cards! And this doesn’t cover it all. Exhibits change monthly, and you can rent Visceral for your next event. It’s a very contemporary and classy locale. For more information, visit www.francineriley.com/visceral.html
Now let’s take a ride down the road over to Waynesville, Ohio to…
THE WAYNESVILLE SHOPS: The Antiques Capital of the Midwest!
If you don’t have a lot of time to shop and would like to have access to a slew of congregated Christmas and holiday craft and antique stores, all on one convenient street, Waynesville is apparently “the” place for you. It’s not just easy; it’s a really quaint and enchanting experience! Many of the stores appear to be inside beautifully refurbished Victorian, Queen Anne and Eduardian style homes or are surrounded by them. They are even open until 8pm on Thursday nights, and here is the link to all the shops you can shop til you drop! http://waynesvilleshops.com
Want to combine it into a walking history day? Go here: http://www.waynesvilleohio.com/Walking%20Tour.pdf
These shops are all mostly located on South Main Street in Waynesville. You can also get a free “Passport” from any of the stores, which you can use to win a $500 shopping spree supporting all the downtown Waynesville shops as well as a Waynesville, Ohio Getaway!
- December 10-12th weekend is being advertised as “Girlfriend’s Weekend” where you can shop, dine, have coffee, or lunch in Waynesville and then enjoy each of the shop’s individual promotionals!
- December 26 through January 3rd is Waynesville’s “Ring in the New Year” sidewalk sale.
When you’re finished with your Christmas and holiday shopping, hand in your free passport either to a store proprietor or to the Chamber of Commerce at 10B North Main Street in Waynesville, to be considered in the drawing for the above-mentioned $500 Shopping Spree and Getaway Weekend! The Passport period ends January 3rd so be sure to submit your passport by that day. For information, directions and a listing of shops go to www.waynesvilleohio.com
As you get ready to explore the Centerville and Waynesville area’s vast array of specialty stores, please note every one of these shops are definitely visit-worthy. They are retail shops, yes, but they are also fascinating fashion and historical experiences! Open yourself up to them and it will be a day to remember!
Happy Holidays and Happy Shopping!