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On the north side of Cascade Square (Placer Street between California and Market streets) hangs a new blue awning – the likes of which might well have attracted the eyes of regular passerby. Enjoy the Store, whose parent company, InHouse Marketing, publishes the local monthly Enjoy magazine, opened Oct. 25.
The magazine is free, so what’s inside the store?
It’s a retail shop, catering specifically to products of the Northern California locale. At 1475 Placer St., next to InHouse’s recently acquired headquarters, Enjoy the Store features, well, a little bit of everything: various blends of wild rice from Fall River Mills, olive oil and balsamic vinegar from Corning, honey from multiple local vendors, and California Habanero hot sauce from Chico are just the beginning.
“I barbecued my chicken in the chili lime sauce this weekend,” said employee Britanie Stratton. “It was hot, but I like spicy stuff.”
Enjoy the Store, the brainchild of InHouse co-founder James Mazzotta, was created as a venue to “focus on and highlight regional producers and create awareness about their products,” Mazzotta said. Since many local artisans primarily sell their wares through online portals like www.etsy.com, the brick and mortar affords them a place to showcase their goods.
There are tables and vases made by local woodworkers; handmade jewelry; alpaca socks, scarves and yarn; handmade pottery; and a small line of pet specialty items like old suitcases turned into dog beds, bars of dog shampoo called Shampoochie, dog skin salve and hand sewn doggie sweaters.
Tuesday afternoon (the store is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday) there were a handful of customers in and out of the store. “The store looks great,” said first-time customer Dean Miller. “There’s a lot of local stuff; that’s what drew me in.”
Taking the community into mind, Enjoy the Store features personalized touches like, for example, the communi-trees. Right now, the decorative trees work to hang promotions and merchandise. But the goal, Mazzotta said, is for philanthropy. How it is likely to work: the store adopts a class of students, or a few individual students with needs, and has them make some personalized material (like tracing one’s hand and coloring it like a leaf). The leaves would then be available to store customers in exchange for a donation, the proceeds of which would be used to buy the class/students the materials they need.
Further, through an interrelated endeavor, Enjoy the Store will work with regional producers to brand certain products like calendars, wines, clothing etc. (the line of which will be tagged “Made to Enjoy”, see the theme?). The net revenue from the branded products will go toward matching customers’ communi-tree donations. While money going back into the community is a plus, but the store is driven by it’s gifting concept.
“The whole store premise is really designed to do gift-giving, not just for Christmas, but all year round,” Mazzotta said. He called on the BYOB (build your own box) – customizable gift boxes built by Phillips Brothers mill in Oak Run to be filled with your choice of goodies. (Fun fact: Phillips Brothers, an 1800s mill, is the last mill in the country completely powered by steam.)
Soon to launch will be the store’s Web site, where with one-click shopping, site visitors can choose their gift box selections from their computers, and the store staff will pull and package the gift boxes. The store also has a gifting station, complete with gifting necessities.
Judging by new inventory being delivered to the store daily, this after only a week, it’s apparent local vendors see potential in the store. Saturday drew a steady crowd all day, affirming there is interest in and a market for shopping locally.
“They seem to be coming in waves,” Mazzotta said. “But I think we’re doing what we thought we would do.”
Vendors have a few options to get their wares on the shelves – sell it to the store, sell it on consignment, or a trade out for advertising in the magazine. “We’d love to hear from you if you’re a producer of a product,” Mazzotta said. “We’ll find a way to get your products in the store.” Call 246-4687 x101 for more information.
What: Enjoy the Store.
Contact: 246-4687. 1475 Placer St.
Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
Specialty: Local wares and fare.
Photos by Brent Van Auken
Joshua Corbelli likes to write stuff on paper, and that makes him a happy little jellybean. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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