Love Local: 12.5.18
T&S is all about supporting local businesses, especially since we are one! In this column, we spotlight some of the countless area retailers that provide friendly service and unique products.
Considering the scope of merchandise at Christopher’s, you could get a lot of your holiday shopping done here. It has been in business across from the farmers’ market for more than 20 years and offers unique home décor; apparel; body and beauty products; stationery; books; and a large selection of holiday ornaments. At Christmas, the store twinkles with trees and is perfumed by piney candles and potpourri; in the summer, it’s full of great entertaining ideas. Whatever the occasion, Christopher’s is a one-stop shop. “We are the place for that hard-to-find, one-of-akind gift,” says owner Mark Coulter. Indeed, the store has “a little bit of everything for the home, for the body, for the memories.” Coulter says a popular feature is the open-air European Christmas market behind the store.
Hot gifting tip or trend: Coulter has seen an increase in sales of stocking stuffer items and small toys such as Silly Putty and playing cards.
dream play recreation
Husband-and-wife team Tim and Traci Albers opened Dream Play Recreation in 1991 with a small indoor showroom. For 27 years, they have expanded the variety of residential play equipment offered. Tim Albers says the Chesterfield showroom features displays of 19 play systems, nine basketball goals and four trampolines, from brands like Rainbow Play Systems, Goalsetter, Goalrilla and Springfree Trampoline. At the showroom, families can climb and explore rock walls, slides and play sets on display, and practice free throws and dunks on the prosize basketball hoop. “The shopping experience here is truly like no other,” Albers says. “We are proud to be part of this community, and the quality of our products is a reflection of that.”
Hot gifting tip or trend: Tim Albers recommends holiday gifts that encourage kids to get outside and stay active.
Sasha Nicholas is a St. Louis-based luxury goods company that carries several European brands and specializes in custom monogrammed dinnerware. The boutique carries items from Herend, Moser, Mauviel, Waterford, Casa Fina, Raynaud and Richard Ginori. These pieces are a way of dressing your home with the same appeal and sophistication as cultural institutions in fashion and art. Sasha Nicholas’ designs and online registry attract buyers from around the country.
Hot gifting tip or trend: For the holiday giving season, start your own gift registry to guide friends and family. This will help them select a gift you’ll treasure for years to come.
Shoppers who want to find unique items and support local artisans will enjoy Craft Alliance Center of Art and Design in the Delmar Loop. The nonprofit has grown significantly since it began as a cooperative gallery in 1964. It offers exhibitions, art and craft classes, artist residencies and community programs. Its Delmar gallery offers a wide selection of products ranging from jewelry and housewares to purses and scarves, and everything is handmade. “Your gift shopping makes a truly local impact at Craft Alliance,” says gallery manager Will Rimel. “Not only are you supporting individual artists, you also are helping to fund community programs.” The nonprofit helps people of all ages get involved with craft arts.
Hot gifting tip or trend: Rimel says each Thursday from 4 to 6 p.m., shoppers can enjoy complimentary cocktails while they browse for gifts.
glenn betz jewelers
Glenn Betz Jewelers has been on Manchester Road in Des Peres for 13 years, but the company has more than 50 years of experience serving St. Louis. After decades moonlighting and working for others, Glenn Betz struck out on his own in 1965 and founded his namesake company. Craig, his son, is now the owner. “There’s immeasurable value in dealing with a truly family-owned and locally operated jewelry company,” Craig Betz says. The store is a full service business offering loose diamonds, gemstones, custom design, engagement rings, wedding bands, watches and gifts, and it has a repair shop on the premises. The company’s professional staff has more than 100 years of combined experience. “We are committed to integrity, quality of design, craftsmanship and superior customer service,” Betz says.
Hot gifting tip or trend: If you’re thinking of getting engaged over the holidays, the company offers a custom ring design center.
Shoppers searching for beautiful, truly personal holiday gifts can find what they’re looking for at Summa Jewelers in Kirkwood. The store has been in its current location since 1998, but owner Jim Summa started the business 18 years earlier. Summa, a certified gemologist appraiser and graduate of the Gemological Institute of America, has been interested in stones and metal since he was very young. As a child, he spent summers in Minnesota hunting for rocks and agates with his cousin, and when he was 14, he fashioned a ring for his girlfriend. She loved it so much that he began selling similar rings in high school. Now, the metals in his care include platinum and gold, but Summa Jewelers isn’t just about rings, necklaces and earrings. Appraisals are a significant part of the business, as are repairs and restorations.
Hot gifting tip or trend: Summa recommends looking for truly one-of-a-kind pieces that gift recipients will treasure.
At Paperdolls Boutique locations, women of all ages can find everything from fashion to jewelry and other accessories. Marketing coordinator Hailey Krueger says superior customer service also sets the business apart. Client feedback is used to find just the right merchandise for customers, and they can take advantage of one-on-one shopping and styling services on-site. Owner Beth Morris bought the company in 2007 after making a career move. “I always had been interested in fashion, and owning my own business has been challenging but rewarding,” she says. “I love the fact that we have great clientele and a team of aspiring professionals to help build the business.” Paperdolls has locations in Kirkwood, University City, Des Peres and Ballwin. Hot gifting tip or trend: For money saving ideas, Morris encourages customers to follow the company on Instagram (@paperdollsboutiquestl) and join its frequent-shopper reward program.
ken miesner’s flower shoppe
When it comes to floral quality and design, Ken Miesner’s Flower Shoppe has been a mainstay in the St. Louis area for decades. Now owned by David Bovier, the store started out as Henderson’s Flowers in 1952 in the Central West End, eventually making its way to its current location in Ladue. Bovier bought the company in 2016. “I always wanted to own my own business, and when the opportunity to purchase the shop arrived, I jumped right in,” he says. “It’s a dream come true for me and my family.” Besides offering decorative floral arrangements by experienced designers, Miesner’s carries antiques, candles, pillows and more. Hot gifting tip or trend: Bovier says there is a trend toward using any favorite color palette in holiday decor, not just the typical red, green, gold or plaid.
mister guy men’s & mister guy women’s
Established in 1962, Mister Guy once had 16 locations across the Midwest and South. Husband-and-wife team Terry and Carla Felumb opened the first St. Louis location, and in 1992, they bought all shares in the company. Today, the couple operates a men’s shop and a women’s shop, both on Clayton Road. Mister Guy Men’s features the Peter Millar Crown and Collection lines. The retailer’s knowledgeable stylists can help you achieve the perfect look, and there is complimentary tailoring on most items. The same services are offered at Mister Guy Women’s, which also hosts exclusive trunk shows. Staff is dedicated to creating a VIP shopping experience at both locations, offering unique collections of clothing and accessories that help customers build quality wardrobes. The retailer’s specialized services and products have enabled it to build a loyal following. Hot gifting tip or trend: Mister Guy offers gift-wrap services to make holiday packages extra special.