David Leech from Pelham Puppets continues the Hidden Gems of Stone series of articles about the many independent traders in the town. Please use the comments below to tell us if there’s any business you’d like us to cover.
Part 2: Boo-tique
As a young child I recall enjoying the simple game of hide’n’seek and remember on one occasion my sister coming up behind me in what I thought was a good hiding place and surprising me with a loud “BOO!”
“Boo!” is a term that is derived from the French word “beau” meaning beautiful. In 18th century England it meant an admirer and is sometimes used as a term of endearment and affection used to identify your perfect counterpart.
Once you enter BOO-tique in Radford Street words such as beautiful and admire will immediately spring to mind upon discovering this little hidden gem. “Little girls especially, love the shop,” explained Danita who has always wanted to open a children’s clothes shop.” Of course there are lots of things for little boys too. “I select and hand pick everything myself,” she continued, “I never actually thought I’d manage to open a shop even though I had been thinking of doing so for a long time, so when the opportunity arose last November, I thought, if I don’t do it now I never will!”
Remember the first time you were taken into a toy shop by your parents or grandparents and you experienced the sense of excitement at seeing all the wonderful things on display? Well, although such a sense of excitement is usually reserved for visits to toy shops, Danita’s infectious enthusiasm for everything in BOO-tique is captivating – even for small children who are brought in, perhaps reluctantly at first (because little boys do not want to dress up smartly for auntie’s wedding,) but very soon any such reticence disappears once Danita welcomes them inside.
You will also discover that there is a ‘quiet corner’ where the children can sit and look at some books while mum (and dad) browse through the wide range of children’s clothing and accessories including items from Sarah Louise – classic hand finished blouses and shirts that can’t be bought online anywhere and other popular quality brands such as Ben Sherman and French Connection. You’ll find everything from socks and hats to shoes and knitted cardigans and petti-skirts to hair-bands too, all contributing to a wide range of styles and prices for babies and children up to seven years of age.
Danita is thinking of extending the age range to ten years later in the year and not only does her enthusiasm shine through for her own shop Danita is also very passionate about Stone as well. “I do feel that the town would benefit greatly from a wider variety of shops than exist at the moment although the weekly and Farmer’s markets are good and provide a nice buzz for the town and they do tend to draw people in from out of town as well.”
In fact, she says that many of her customers are from out of town since they spot the shop as they are driving by on the ring road.
“It’s good that there is a car park nearby but I also feel it would help many of the shops in the town if the supermarkets extended their free parking from two to three hours. This would give people more time to look around and discover what Stone really does have to offer.”
Having lived in Stone for just over seventeen years, she began trading on both Stone and Stafford markets each week offering a range of children’s wear and accessories. “I love being able to provide a good, personal service and offer busy mums and grandparents lots of beautiful things for their little ones. I’ve always wanted to open the kind of shop that I would have liked when my own children were little.”
Her daughters, Kelsie and Rianna have both been very supportive in her venture – although her son Tommy is more interested in football and playing the drums than in baby clothes. Rianna is currently studying Textile at A-Level and sometimes helps with decorating the lovely variety of head-bands and hats adding that unique personal touch that cannot be found in larger, out of town department stores.
It was at this point during the interview that Stephanie from Cheadle came into the shop with her seven month old daughter, Evie Rose. “I’ve been looking everywhere without success for an attractive headband for Evie to wear for a wedding,” she explained to Danita, “I was told by a friend you would be able to help.”
After browsing through a selection of headbands on show, Evie Rose was more than happy to pose for a photograph to show off her latest acquisition and both mother and daughter left very happy having found what they wanted along with a cheerful and personal service.
Certainly, since Danita open the shop seven moths ago, everything on offer has been well received. In fact she has doubled the range of goods on offer by reinvesting each week’s takings into new stock. “I’ve just ordered a range of stunning Christening gowns that include classic and modern styles of beautiful quality that cannot be obtained anywhere else locally.”
She always strives to have in stock what people want although she says that she doesn’t choose anything she wouldn’t put on her own children or as a gift for someone else. This is probably the secret of her success and by managing to rekindle that childhood sense of excitement and enthusiasm in everything she does.
So next time you’re in town pop up into Radford Street and like the simple game of hide’n’seek, you may find another hidden gem in Stone and you too may be pleasantly surprised and discover something you didn’t expect to find.
2c Radford Street,
Tel: 01785 815200
Tuesday to Saturday 9.30am to 5pm
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