Dec 17, 2010 Katrina Koerting Uncategorized
Stephanie Boivin chats to customers, asking them about their lives and remembering details from the last time they visited her store. Around her, an assortment of jewelry, Christmas trees, hair pieces and furniture add character to her quaint, new store, Sissy’s Vintage & Nouveau Boutique.
Opened this past June, Sissy’s sells a wide variety of items ranging from specialty gifts and jewelry to home furnishings and specialty furniture. Prices range from a few pieces for under $10 to the specialty furniture, which costs more than $1,000, said Boivin, the owner of the store.
“There’s an eclectic mix that really gives people the chance to come and find something special,” she said.
The merchandise sold is chosen from shows, catalogues, talking to representatives and from Boivin traveling around and out of the area to find new pieces that people wouldn’t normally see. If a customer comes in looking for something the store doesn’t carry, then she said she enjoys looking for the items and finding new things.
“Everything I pick in here, I love because I have to love everything, so I can enjoy what I look at here,” she said.
Boivin also bought a lot of the things she sells for herself, family members and friends. She talks about her personal experience with customers if they are unsure who to give something to, how to style a piece of jewelry or incorporate a piece into their home.
She describes the atmosphere of the store as “a cross between sassy, elegant, shabby-chic, and fun.” She added the store is constantly changing with the weekly shipments of new merchandise.
Boivin said the selection, the feel of the store, the personal connection she has with her customers and the personal touch the store gives is what is causing her customer base to grow and continue to return.
Lisa Stewart, a returning customer from Baldwinsville, said she decided to come back because she had bought things at the store before and had liked the jewelry she saw in the e-mail sent out over the e-mail list.
“I’m glad there’s a place like this in Baldwinsville,” she said. “You don’t have to go to Skaneateles or the Armory to find things like this.”
Stewart has told other people about Sissy’s, including her daughter from Syracuse who was at the store with her.
“I love it here,” Stewart said. “It’s cozy and unique. Stephanie is so nice and helpful. She takes time with you.”
Stewart said she first decided to go to Sissy’s because she had driven by the sign in front of the store and was intrigued by the store.
Like Stewart, Diane Burt and Judy Welch who were visiting Baldwinsville from Cuba, N.Y., said they decided to go in the store because of the sign out front and the items they saw through the window.
“It’s very unique and different,” Welch said. “We got a friendly greeting when we walked in, which was nice. I plan to tell people to stop by. It’s worth the drive.”
Burt added, “There’s a little something for everyone. It’s enjoyable, relaxing and aspiring.”
So far, Boivin has not faced any challenges with the store, not even the economy.
“Obviously, the economy hit everyone, but I think a place like this is a feel good store, an outlet of fun,” she said. “We have a variety of gifts so everyone can come in and get something for their price point.”
This is the first store Boivin has owned and it’s a step away from sign language, her major in college. “This is nothing that my degree was geared toward, but I’ve always had a flare for this,” she said. “I think I’m doing well because I do love it and I’ve enjoyed meeting so many people.”
Boivin began making plans to open a boutique in April, only two months before Sissy’s doors opened. She said it was like an itch that needed to be scratched. Named in honor of Boivin’s grandmother, who was also her “shopping buddy,” Sissy’s features aspects of its namesake like the portrait of Boivin’s grandmother on one of the store walls and a pillow made from something in her grandmother’s hope chest.
As the store moves into the second half of its first year, Boivin has a few hopes for Sissy’s and other local stores. “I hope to continue to be a great boutique in the village,” she said. “I hope to be in the forefront of people’s minds when they need to get gifts. I hope that, along with other Baldwinsville stores, we can come to the forefront of people’s minds when shopping and they’ll want to have lunch and shop the village.”
Sissy’s is open Tuesday through Sunday with varying hours: 2 to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. While Boivin takes care of her two young children at home, restricting her availability at the store, she plans to expand and grow soon, extending her hours and taking on a new project in January working with Elan, an interior decorating company.
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