Friday, April 18, 2008

Willy Street Updates

This shopping district known for some offbeat shops (Cosmic Object; Rick’s Olde Gold; that leather goods shop that I don’t know the name of that sells, er, biker stuff, fishnets and miniskirts) has some changes afoot. First of all, Cosmic Object, sadly, is closing. I was going to include Cosmic Object in a piece I wrote about quirky businesses (page 46 in our May 2008 issue) until I found out about its demise. I admit I was totally intrigued by its Technicolor sign with a UFO in its logo. I investigated the shop one day and found out it sells much of the same as Sunshine Daydream on State Street: pipes, tie-dyed stuff, incense and other assorted niche objects. But I digress.

Three new shops and one salon have opened. One biz has also revamped its product selection.

First, the new stuff. The Green Parasol (1370 Williamson) is a beautiful and quaint little shop that sells new and vintage clothing and jewelry. Owner Laurie Rossbach plans on selling more of her one-of-a-kind designs as she makes them. The vibe of the store was comfy and soothing and Rossbach was very friendly to talk to. Rossbach said the space was a former religious bookstore.

Almost next door to The Green Parasol is El Kiosco (1348 Williamson). I didn’t get a chance to stop in (the owners appeared to be packing up for the day) but I surely didn’t miss the life-size Egyptian sculpture and smaller assorted statues that were sitting out in front of the shop (woman with a parasol and more). I peeked in the windows and also spied a large decorative giraffe, among other objects. The shop’s flyer says “A hand picked collection of the unique and unusual from across the Americas—featuring: folk art, traditional crafts, antique furnishings, architectural salvage, vintage toys and house wares and ironwork and outdoor sculpture.” Interesting. I’ll let you know when I stop in again what I see.

Indus Beads’s (1148 Williamson) name says it all: they’ve got tons of really cool beads to make any kind of beaded thing you could fancy. Personally I favored some origami-looking gold beads that looked like mini sculptures (they were around $15 apiece!) but was dazzled by the hundreds of other types of beads sold, all priced per bead. It appears as though the shop will also host bead-making classes by the looks of the table in front.

I was surprised to see Cha Cha at 921 Williamson St. At first I thought they had closed down the 121 East Mifflin St. salon and relocated. I called and, to my surprise, they’ve opened a second location. The interior looks hot. Check it out.

Pick More Daisies (1216 Williamson) has revamped its product selection to add more new items such as bath and body products, jewelry and home goods. This adorable shop has always charmed me with the sweet vignettes of vintage and new goods owner Dawn Hellenbrand has set up. “We closed for six days during this changeover. We completely updated our retail and are just carrying a lot more fun things,” says Hellenbrand. “We restocked our jewelry and are trying to find new wholesalers. We’re carrying the tag line a little more intensely. We repainted and we’re keeping up with the reupholstered, vintage furniture and that seems to be coming and in and out all of the time.
“It’s just a fresh, new vibe. It’s been over ten years and we needed a facelift. We’ve actually been open twelve years. When we turned ten, I totally bypassed it because I never felt like the store was everything it needed to be and could be. This year we’re definitely celebrating our ten year and doing it with a bang.”

The Green Parasol 1370 Williamson St. 204-7434.
El Kiosco 1348 Williamson St. 449-4943

Indus Beads 1148 Williamson St. 251-2323

Cha Cha Beauty Parlor and Haircut Lounge, 121 E. Mifflin St., 251-2191. 921 Williamson St., 204-3988.

Pick More Daisies 1216 Williamson St. 255-7090

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