Retail: New boutique Violets coming to Cary’s Waverly Place

jmgiglio@newsobserver.comJanuary 23, 2014 

A unique boutique is coming to Cary.

Violets, a store that will sell everything from clothes and candles to art and barware, is opening at Waverly Place in April.

Owner Hannah Ellis aims to create a cool shop that will fill a void in Cary.

“I just really felt like there was a gigantic need for something unique and contemporary in Cary,” Ellis said. “I’ve lived here almost 10 years, and there aren’t a lot of options as far as finding fun gifts and one-of-a-kind jewelry and special items. So I thought I’d do it myself.”

The store will carry bags and purses, along with small lines of women’s clothes such as jeans, tops, sundresses, blouses and T-shirts by designers that include Free People and Wildfox.

Violets’ unique, high-end jewelry will come from designers such as Chan Luu, Ronnie Kappos and Dogeared. Ellis, whose sister Jennifer Donner owns Dolly’s vintage boutique in Durham, said she also plans to work with local designers to create pieces for the store.

Violets will carry gifts and household items that include candles, martini shakers, soaps, glassware and picture frames. The store will also offer some vintage clothes and jewelry and have a bar stocked with candy.

Prices are expected to range from about $40 to $200 for jewelry and from about $40 to $300 for clothes.

Violets will be at 301 Colonades Way, Suite 211-D.

In addition to Violets, Waverly Place is adding three other retailers. Vom Fass, a gourmet food franchise that carries oils, vinegars and spices, has opened at 316 Colonades Way, Suite 209-C. ... Color Me Mine, a paint-it-yourself ceramics studio chain, will open in May at 316 Colonades Way, Suite 215-C. ... T.Mac Sports Grill, a restaurant that sells wings, burgers, tacos and craft beer, is expected to open this summer at 100 Colonades Way, Suite 100-E.

Happymess Art, a 3-year-old Durham art studio that offers classes, is expanding and adding a retail space that opens Feb. 9.

The store, which will carry art supplies such as brushes, paints, canvases and charcoals, will focus on selling ecofriendly and locally made products whenever possible.

“I want to get it back to a grass-roots kind of thing,” owner Holly Phelan Johnson said.

Phelan Johnson hopes to work with local artists on canvas stretching, and Durham clothing and accessories company jenjen will make the store’s tote bags.

The owner also plans to sell kids’ paints that are powdered pigments mixed with water and made from ground berries, along with M. Graham’s solvent-free paints.

Happymess’ sketch books will be made from recycled paper and post-consumer waste. While most products will come from North America, Phelan Johnson will have to order paint brushes from other parts of the world, including Japan.

“There is not one manufacturer that makes (paint) brushes in North America,” Phelan Johnson said. “They are all outsourced.”

Phelan Johnson hopes to attract customers by having monthly events and offering products at a lower price than other retailers. The store also plans to have a section with discounted wholesale and one-of-a-kind items.

“My goal is to pass along savings to the consumer,” Phelan Johnson said. “I’ll find products as cheaply as possible and pass along those savings.”

Phelan Johnson also offers classes such as painting, encaustic wax and batik classes. Two-hour classes are $35; three-hours classes are $45.

Happymess Art’s studio, which has been at the former Outsiders Gallery space since 2011, is expanding from the building’s upstairs to the downstairs and kitchen area. The new setup is about 2,000 square feet, compared with its original 900-square-foot space.

Happymess is at 718 Iredell St.

TROSA Thrift & Frame Store, which aims to help men and women recovering from substance abuse, is having a grand opening from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday.

During the event, customers will get 10 percent off all purchases and have a chance to win gift certificates.

The store sells gently used, quality furniture, art, housewares, home decor, clothes and offers custom picture-framing services.

TROSA is run by Triangle Residential Options for Substance Abusers, a nonprofit organization that offers substance abusers treatment, vocational training, education and a residential program.

TROSA Thrift & Frame Store is at 1703 Geer St. in Durham.

Clothes Mentor, an upscale resale fashion chain for women, is opening Jan. 30 in Chapel Hill.

The shop, which co-owner Kim Vassiliadis said is more of a “consignment store than a thrift store,” pays sellers cash for clothes, bags, shoes, purses and accessories and then resells the items. The store also offers new jewelry.

Vassiliadis’ husband and co-owner Chris Tovell said the store aims to sell like-new, name-brand items that are about 1 or 2 years old.

The store offers brands such as Coach, Kate Spade, Dolce & Gabbana, Old Navy, Isaac Mizrahi for Target, Ann Taylor and Talbots. Sizes range from 0 to 26, along with maternity and athletic wear.

Prices for items the store purchases are generated through a corporate computer program that takes into account factors such as age, condition and brand. And the couple is selective about what it will take from sellers.

“We inspect every item that we purchase,” Vassiliadis said. “Sometimes it kills us that we have to pass on something because there’s a tiny little mark. ... It has to be in good condition.”

Clothes Mentor is at 241 S. Elliott Road in Chapel Hill, next to Red Lotus.

Orangetheory Fitness, a workout studio that mixes strength and cardio training into 60-minute classes, is having an open house from 5 to 8 p.m. Jan. 30. The gym opens the next day at 1112 Market Center Drive in the Park West Village shopping center.

Giglio: 919-829-4649 or; Twitter: @shoptalk_nando

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