MATTOON — Entrepreneur Kathy Gandolfi has marked one month of her new Birch Boutique & Gifts store being open at 1821 Broadway Ave. in downtown Mattoon.
Birch Boutique offers home décor items, clothing, jewelry and accessories, specialty coffees, teas, spices, rubs, candies and more in its storefront, located at the southeast corner of Broadway and 19th Street/U.S. Route 45.
"I wanted it to be a place where you could buy a gift for others, but I also wanted it to be somewhere you can buy a gift for yourself," Gandolfi said. For those purchasing gifts for giving, the boutique provides a wrapping service.
Gandolfi, of Charleston, said she previously worked at the Picket Fence in Mattoon for three years before owner Peggy Kepp retired and closed that east Broadway Avenue gift shop in 2017. Gandolfi subsequently partnered with Elena Davis to open and operate the All the Things holiday pop-up gift shop in Charleston in late 2020.
"When I did the pop-up, it gave me the confidence to move forward with what I had been dreaming about for five years," Gandolfi said of opening her own boutique.
The entrepreneur worked with property owner Jasper Holdings of Mattoon to find a downtown location, 1821 Broadway Ave., that offers 2,300 square feet of floor space for her shop. The recently renovated storefront was most recently the temporary post-fire location for Shores Jewelry. Gandolfi said this high-visibility location has been drawing walk-in customers.
Gandolfi, who has been the the decorator for other local businesses, said she loves to design with birch trees because they have a beautiful, natural look, so she chose this motif for her boutique. She and her husband, Mike, have decorated the sales floor with birch tree imagery and limbs, as well as a mixture of new and repurposed furnishings.
To stock Birch Boutique, Gandolfi said she started ordering merchandise in March and has been continually adding new items since then. Her sales floor has included treats from South Bend Chocolate Co., founded by an Eastern Illinois University alum; products such as olive oil from Blue Sky; hand lotion and other Capri Blue items; and a wide variety of other potential gifts.
"We wanted there to be something different every time you come in," Ganfolfi said.
More information is available by calling Birch Boutique at (217) 276-5076 or visiting https://www.facebook.com/birchboutiqueandgifts/.