Just a casual stroll down Main Street in downtown Danville will prove that residents and neighbors of this quaint town don’t have to travel the world to shop like they did.Need a cardboard animal head? How about a collage featuring Bob Dylan in flowered tights playing a large wooden guitar? One-of-a-kind hand-painted chair? Or how about baskets imported from Africa? Homemade lotion. Ugly Dolls. Vera Bradley laundry hampers. Reversible purses. It’s all available right here in Boyle County at shops like Myrtle’s Market on Main, Saffron’s Funky Finds, Lee Stephens, A&L Accessories and Yesterday’s Potions.
Unique Spaces and Places
Alison Craig, owner of Myrtle’s Market on Main, says what makes her store unique is that she has unusual items including hand-made and recycled things that might not appeal to your conservative grandmother, but definitely your funky aunt.
“I have customers who have lived in California or New York and say this store reminds them of places they used to shop in the much bigger cities,” Craig says. “I have some of the exact same items you’d think you could only find in a big city.”
Kathy Wilson owns Saffron’s Funky Finds and says the name of her store pretty much sums it up. She also carries one-of-a-kind artisan pieces, as well as Mexican abstract folk art, bohemian-style clothes and colorful blown glass vases.
She says in addition to her selections, another key attribute to her store is being a bit off the beaten path and not actually in the downtown district.
“People say this shop reminds them of the little shops in the Highlands area in Louisville,” she says. “I think it’s kind of a surprise how fun this little shop is out in the middle of nowhere.”
Debbie Revell, owner of Yesterday’s Potions, started making her own lotions out of her home in 2008 and has grown the business to include an expanded product line of homemade items such as body rubs and candles.
They’re Still Standing
It’s no secret that the recent economic conditions have forced hard times on even the biggest of retailers. Many of the smaller ones in Boyle County feel they’ve adapted a bit and have weathered the worst of the storm, which shows that people do still like to shop small and shop local.
Ann Clay Harris, owner of A&L Accessories, says people are catching on that there are some great shops and restaurants in downtown Danville.
"We are on a good track of improvement in our downtown," she says. "The goal is to remind people to shop locally and we are headed in the right direction."
Kathy Wilson says aside from great retailers, there's a whole other reason to stay in town and shop.
“With gas prices the way they’ve been, our sales haven’t dropped dramatically with the economy and I think that’s partly because people are staying local to shop,” she says.
In addition to great products and even better customer service, Craig says the local store owners have a good community and open lines of communication, which benefits everyone.
“Two doors down there is a store that is a little more traditional than mine, so if I see someone struggling to find what they want here, I won’t hesitate to send them down there and she does the same for me,” she says.