She la la got off to a tough start. The clothing, jewelry and gifts store located below street level at 120 Main St. opened in May, but was flooded when the building's drains were overwhelmed in a July 15 thunderstorm, which was so intense it forced Interstate 95 to shut down.
The store reopened in September, and owner Sheila Grow has gone about creating a space that feels cozy and friendly.
"Our customers say our store has a very happy and welcoming feel, and that's what we were looking to do," Grow said.
Many of the items in the store are from local craftspeople, much of the jewelry is made by local designers, and a good deal of the furniture is one-of-a-kind.
Since she's not simply ordering merchandise from wholesalers or a corporate manufacturer, Grow has her own system of finding suppliers for her store.
"For the last six years, I've kept an ongoing list of things I like in my daily life and travels. With regards to local stuff, I've had more and more people come to me, which is wonderful," she said.
"For example, if there is a necklace I liked four years ago, if I bought it or a friend bought it, I would write down the name of the person or designer. I call it my `inspiration list.' The store is filled with stuff I really love."
The name She la la came about one night in a brainstorming session between Grow and her husband. It's a play on her first name, Sheila, and is something she thought sounded feminine, just like the store.
Walking down the stairs from its Main Street entrance, the store's initial visual impact is that it is full of merchandise from floor to ceiling. But Grow has designed and organized the space so as not to be cluttered or appear cluttered -- every available space in which to put items is used.
Rectangular pillars that hold up the building have hooks, from which hang handbags, or shelves. Tables form islands of merchandise throughout the store, and coffee tables hold lamps or toys or ornaments that are strategically placed. There is a separate spot for jewelry.
The jewelry, perhaps the biggest component of the store, has a wide price range, starting at $18 and going up to $3,000.
"You can come in and get 75 percent of all the jewelry in the store for between $50 and $150. I think it's important to recognize that different occasions call for different budgets. We don't always want to go out and spend a ton of money on a pair of earrings," Grow said.
Grow lives in Wilton, where she grew up. She went to St. Luke's School. After college, she went into marketing and then entered real estate in New Canaan, working in the industry for six years before deciding to open the store.
Happy to be running the store, Grow said she hopes to do it for a long time.
"We've been very blessed and very well received; people are so friendly and so incredibly welcoming. It's a delight to be there. I hope that only gets stronger and I hope we're there for a very long time."
For information, call 203-594-9798.
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