Liverpool locals joined in refreshments and treats at the Bella Regalo boutique store for its grand opening ceremony Tuesday May 31. But it wasn't for the free food, it was for hand-made clothing, gifts and art displayed by store owner, Tea Avalon. Avalon, from Baldwinsville, has been designing and sewing her own clothing since she was around 9 years old.
"I've been sewing since I was 8 or 9 years old. I started playing poker when I was 10 or 11. I would win the pot on Sunday, and I would take all my winnings to the fabric store [the next] Saturday," said Avalon. "That's how I started."
This store is a dream-come-true, Avalon said. Almost every item in the store is sewed, painted or produced here in Syracuse. Ninety percent of the jewelry sold is local, all of the paintings are from local artists and sixty percent of the clothing is made in Syracuse as well.
Ten percent of Bella Regalo's sales for the month of June will be donated to the CNY Ronald McDonald House charity to help families in need of a home.
"It's really great that a small business like this supports the Ronald McDonald home. For us, it a makes a big difference," said Beth Trunfio, executive director of the CNY Ronald McDonald house. "We rely on the generosity of the communities and businesses like Bella Regalo to help take care of families when they need it most."
The CNY Ronald McDonald house office here in Syracuse serves all of CNY and northern Pennsylvania.
Avalon will choose a new local charity every month to help support and will continue to donate 10 percent of the business's sales.
In-house sewing and production
Bella Regalo opened in October 2010, but due to a harsh Syracuse winter, Avalon chose to do another grand opening to get the word out about the boutique.
"Wine Street Clothing," is Avalon's special line of in-house created garments and clothing, which include scarves, purses, shirts, etc. Avalon said that certain items in the store are considered "Snooty Du Jour," meaning "This is a very special thing."
Besides Avalon, right-hand man, Joe Saraceni spends almost everyday in the shop said Avalon. Saraceni helps all the customers, and spends a lot of time helping the women customers.
"The women love him and they ask him everything," said Avalon. "He's like a puppy."