Along with Heidi and Melissa Chouinard, Marie Barron has opened a new store on Boston Street featuring artwork, refinished furniture, jewelry, stonework, sculptures and other items — almost all handmade by local artists.
“If people want something unique, handmade from local people, that’s what we’re all about,” Barron said.
Barron, the former owner of MVP Sports, has a long background in retail and bought the property two years ago. She said “I knew I always wanted to open a store like this.”
With Heidi and Melissa creating most of the artwork, their uncle Michael often buys furniture at auction or even picks it up by the roadside for refurbishing and selling. People can either purchase original artwork or prints beginning at $25.
“Something we wanted to emphasize was all kinds of price ranges,” Barron said. “We can really cater to everybody. And we’re trying not to be mass-manufactured, putting a bit more quality into our gifts.”
Working full-time, all three women feel an attachment to both the store and its merchandise. The Chouinards grew up in a very artistic environment, and Barron and her sister have always been making arts and crafts. Michael is Barron's boyfriend, and she calls Heidi and Melissa her neices since they are all so close.
“We love it when one of the things we made sells,” Barron said. “It’s personal. We can take just about any object and fix it and make it new for someone. Sometimes we try to keep things old and beautiful or sometimes take it and make it modern and cool. Anything that’s in here can go into any type of home.”
Barron says that even though the shop is not downtown, Boston Street has a lot of traffic and they are enjoying a steady stream of customers. To draw them in, the store is painted bright yellow with a big wooden crow standing on the sidewalk.
For all the last-minute shoppers out there, Nightingale will have a special open house holiday sale Christmas Eve from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Holiday items include handmade scarves, Christmas stockings and of course, ornaments.
Their website www.nightingalearts.com is not up yet, but the shop can be found on Facebook.