Jodi Stevens’ gift store oozes Southern charm, right down to its name: Bless Your Heart.
“I like it because it means a lot of different things,” said Stevens, who moved to Holly Springs from Chicago a decade ago and hasn’t looked back.
“I’m not from here, but we got here as fast as we could,” she said. “I could never move back now.”
Bless Your Heart opened in November, offering a variety of gifts, jewelry and clothing, most of which can be personalized. Monogramming and vinyl appliqués are done in house.
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Monogramming, which had fallen out of fashion for awhile, has made a comeback, Stevens said.
“I think people like the personalized touch,” she said.
Although this is Stevens’ first storefront, she is not a newcomer to retail. For more than four years, she ran a successful children’s clothing business out of her home.
“I tinkered with the idea of opening a store,” she said. “Last year I was at a conference and it hit me. When I get an idea, it’s done. That’s my personality.”
She realized that by expanding beyond children’s items, she could broaden her market considerably.
“I want to be the place that you stop on the way to a party to run in and pick up a gift,” she said.
Bless Your Heart’s unique gift and fashion items are suitable for brides, sororities, teachers, new parents and everyone in between.
“The great thing is we have every price point in gifts and things you would want for yourself,” said Angie Abromitis, an employee at Bless Your Heart.
Charles River rain jackets have been flying off the shelves, she said.
Abromitis holds up a shirt emblazoned with the words “A little bit Yankee, A little bit y’all.”
“We have a great sense of humor,” she said.
“Y’all” has become somewhat of a tagline for the store and a nod to Stevens’ adopted home.
“After five years in the South, they let you say ‘y’all,’ ” she quips. “I say it sometimes. … I don’t say ‘You guys’ anymore.”
The location for Bless Your Heart was well thought out.
“I knew I wanted to be in Holly Springs,” she said. “It’s where we live and where I wanted to be.”
She settled on a space in a strip center anchored by Lowe’s Foods. The 1,600-square-foot store has a separate room for the monogramming work as well as a classroom. Stevens expects the classroom to be particularly well used during the store’s slower months.
“We want to be different,” she said.
With four children, ages 9 and under, Stevens said the new venture has meant an adjustment in her family life. She is learning to rely on employees so she can balance her home and work obligations.
“I have lots of plans,” she waid. “I am just trying to fit it all in.”
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About Bless Your Heart, Monograms & Gifts
Location: 636-A Holly Springs Road, Holly Springs
Contact: 919-586-7943, firstname.lastname@example.org, facebook.com/monogramityall
Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Monday through Friday; 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Saturday