For nearly two years many of us found ourselves peering through the windows at 4732 McPherson, wondering why it was taking so long for Enchanting Embellishments to open. During the latter part of those 24 months it was possible to get an occasional sneak peek, if the door was ajar and one of the construction crew would invite you in. While those "work in progress" sightings hinted at what was to come, no one could have imagined what CEO and CWEnder Karen Halper envisioned, until the shop finally opened two weeks ago. As the expression goes, "there was no stone left unturned," and then some! Plan on taking some time when you visit, as there is so much to see.
A few years ago Karen operated a shop by the same name in Des Peres that featured fashion, interior design services and home decor. However, she fell in love with the CWE and decided to move here. While wandering around her new neighborhood she discovered the vacant space on McPherson which she described as "a diamond in the rough." It had been shuttered for a few years following the tragic death of Mary Ann Allison (Kovac), who operated an urban antiques mall in the space. Mary Ann's son sold the building to Karen, and because they got along so famously, the new owner decided to name the tearoom after his late mother.
A large selection of special occasion dresses, casual attire and accessories, ranging in price from $20 up to $1000, fill the main room of Enchanting Embellishments. Home furnishings are sprinkled among the offerings throughout the space. On the second floor two newly-renovated apartments feature home goods in actual room settings. The apartments are not for lease, instead everything in them is for sale. (I will get back to take photos of the apartments and add them to this post soon).
It was difficult to select a sampling of items for this post, as there is a lot of wonderful merchandise to choose from. Nevertheless, the following photos showcase a few things that caught my eye:
Keep cozy this fall in a selection of 100% baby alpaca sweaters in assorted colors, $175, above.
There are many jackets and coats available at Enchanting Embellishments, including a striking lightweight black and white design by Joseph Ribcoff, $325.
A pretty special occasion dress is shown on the display above, $375.
Another dress that drew my attention is this lovely striped one, $345.
Spats, left, to dress up everyday shoes or short boots range from $36 to $54. There is also a great selection of tights (not shown) including a "magazine print," $22.95, and black and grey leopard print, $12.95.
An elegant camel-colored wrap coat with belt and shawl collar by Cartise is $485.
Mary Ann's Tearoom is situated in the completely renovated greenhouse at the back of the shop that was originally constructed for Witek's Florist. The glass roof has been replaced and a handicap accessible ramp has been added, far left. Everyone I've talked to who has tried the tearoom has raved about it, including yours truly.
Mary Ann's Tearoom is open for lunch and tea service from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. seven days a week, (314) 361-5303. The tearoom can be reserved for private functions as well.
Many of those at Duane Reed Gallery last Friday night were there to visit with the curator of "Repetition, Rhythm, Pattern," CWEnder and fiber artist Jane Sauer and fiber artist Luanne Rimel, Director of Education Programs at Craft Alliance.
I remember going over to Jane's house on Westminster Place years ago to learn how to make baskets. It quickly became apparent to our group of neighborhood friends that she was way out of our league, and the notion of basket weaving bit the dust. Now some of Jane's baskets are included in the Smithsonian American Art Museum collection.
Artist Jeanine Coupe Ryding, a professor at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, was in town for the opening of her exhibition, "Cut, Inked, Folded, and Stained" at Atrium Gallery.
Philip Slein and Jim Schmidt of Schmidt Contemporary drew a crowd to view two new exhibitions, John Zinsser's "Extension of Thought" (examples above and below) and Jeff Aeling's "New Paintings."
Mother/daughter duo Claudette and Melody Walker, bundled up against the unseasonably cool weather, are shown as they head out for Local Social events and gallery openings last Friday evening. Musician Billy Barnett, above right, entertained alongside The World Chess Hall of Fame, 4652 Maryland Avenue.
It was impossible to detect the slightest sign of life from living statue, the Silver Lady (not to be confused with the shop of the same name on McPherson), shown here alongside Left Bank Books. Musician Mango Jay is visible playing a steel drum in the background.
Acoustic duo Irie Sun performed near the Maryland Plaza fountain, above.
A fire juggler at Euclid & McPherson
Artist Erin McGrath Reike, above left and below, created her art in front of Wolfgang's Pet Stop while Mark Pagano entertained on the acoustic guitar.
Artist Cassandra Ronning, above, sketched by The Silver Lady, 4736 McPherson.
Another artist, Heny Ptasiewicz, found inspiration from the mannequins at the newly-opened Enchanting Embellishments on McPherson.
Chef Ben Herbert, left, of Mary Ann's Tearoom (inside Enchanting Embellishments) had an unusual treat to hand out on Friday - strawberry cotton candy. The chef was accompanied by the shop's Communication Specialist Linda O'Heron, right.
Late this morning a work crew sprayed STL bike route decals along Washington at Euclid and further east on Olive Street.
According to avid biker and CWEnder Mike Murray, the City of St. Louis & Great Rivers Greenway (revised link) are collaborating to extend the bike lane program throughout the city. The website has more information, including a bike route map. The site also explains why this collaboration exists: "Great Rivers Greenway trails and Bike St. Louis paths were designed to work with the existing Metro St. Louis transit system whenever possible to provide cyclists and pedestrians with more opportunities to connect throughout the region."
It's obvious by the number of bikers who travel to and from downtown on Olive Street that this is a major bike route. Until now it was hard to be aware of this designation, as the metal signs located in tree wells are difficult to see. The new signage should help tremendously.
P.S. - In the video above the workman who comes around the truck appears to be giving signals to a pitcher or a base runner, doesn't he? September in St. Louis...baseball on the brain.
Perfectly timed with the hint of fall in the air are five CWE gallery openings scheduled for this weekend. Four of them, Atrium Gallery, Philip Slein, Duane Reed and Houska Gallery are holding opening parties this evening from 6 to 8 p.m. (Duane Reed Gallery opens at 5), and The Vino Gallery, 4701 McPherson, has scheduled its September opening, Solo Exhibit for Leslie Bell, tomorrow night (Saturday) from 6 to 9 p.m. Several of the artists who are exhibiting will be at the galleries this evening.
The final Local Social of the 2014 Season is also taking place on street corners throughout CWE North this evening from 5 to 9. All the events celebrate some of the best the neighborhood has to offer, and it's all free- unless of course, one of the following catches your eye!
Atrium Gallery, 4814 Washington (just east of Euclid), is exhibiting work by Jeanine Coupe Ryding, an Adjunct Associate Professor of Printmaking at the Art Institute of Chicago.
Consider my photographs of "Cut, Inked, Folded, and Stained" as merely a tease...they hardly capture the beauty of the artist's work. Do yourself a favor and stop by.
Former and now returning (from Sante Fe) CWEnder Jane Sauer curated "Repetition, Rhythm, Pattern" atDuane Reed Gallery, 4729 McPherson. The exhibition features works by Giles Bettison, Luanne Rimel, Erica Rosenfeld, Harue Shimomoto and Katherine Glover, below,
A side view of Glover's "Fire in the Lake" made from Khadi paper (old shirts beaten into a kind of paper) from India. The artist then paints each piece before constructing her art.
Monroe Hodder's work, below, is also on view at Duane Reed Gallery.
Houska Gallery's (4728 McPherson) group show is titled "New Season" featuring L.A. artist Richard Kessler, whose mixed-media work is shown below.
A little drizzle now and then didn't put the kabosh on the outcome of the 6th CWE Flea of the 2014 season last Saturday. In an odd way it added an element of fun to the experience of bumping into a neighbor or an old friend - and uncovering a treasure or two in an artisan's or collector's booth.
Pictured above are vendors Mary Beth Bussen, lower left, of Union Studio who shared a booth with jeweler Jenny Walker, far right.
Suzanne Miller, left, stopped by with her son Rory after attending Storytime at Left Bank Books. Chad Conner of Native Pops waits to if his strawberry-lime popsicle was a hit...it definitely was!
Theresa Wangia, seated, brought her exotic line of jewelry, Beltshazzar Jewels. Theresa participates in Chicago's Randolph Street Market which is a huge deal compared to the CWE Flea. She developed a following here after participating in the late Taste of the CWE, so her local customers stopped by Saturday to shop and visit.
The booth, right, was filled with antiques from Lucy McCormac's collection called The Gilded Pineapple. Lucy will be back at the Flea October 4!
Kristen Kempton, left, who brings her hand-printed, handmade clothing line iheartfink to the Flea, is photographed visiting with India Hearn, Body by India's World. India did a brisk business with her natural body products.
CWEnders Cabanne Schlafly Howard, left, chatted with designer Amy Johnson (KayOss), right, in front of iheartfink's booth. Jorge Martinez, who also had a booth at Saturday's Flea, is shown seated far right.
The entrance to Gather Studios was lined with Karen Weidert's collection of vintage finds.
Fashion "on the avenue"...
Beth Styles, in striped dress, brings vintage clothing from her shop at 3194 S. Grand (Parsimonia) to the Flea and pops up in a vintage trailer. She reported that she had had a very good day at the CWE Flea. So did we! Beth will be back when the Flea continues Saturday, October 4 and November 1!
SAVE THE DATES!!!
CWE Flea, 9 to 2 p.m., on the parking lot at 449 N. Euclid (at Washington).
The following post is another example of the creative energy and entrepreneurial spirit that abounds in the CWE:
Synek, which has garnered notice from Time Magazine, Fast Company, ABC News, and local news sources such as the Business Journal and STL Today, is a countertop beer dispenser (see photo below) that is the brainchild of St. Louisan Steve Young, in green shirt above. Steve, a former stock analyst, was looking for a new opportunity. He was aware of the dramatic growth of craft breweries around the world and learned that lack of innovative packaging was the biggest hurdle to growing their businesses. The brewers complained that growlers, the containers used to transport beer from breweries to the home, didn't keep beer fresh for very long, as once you open the container the beer starts to lose its carbonation.
What Steve Young envisioned was a "Keurig" for beer.
In October, 2013 Steve was awarded a $30,000 St. Louis Startup Challenge grant to build a prototype of the Synek (a made-up name). The finished product, left, a pressurized and self-refrigerated container, only needs to be plugged into a wall outlet. With the use of a simple adapter, beer can be dispensed from your favorite craft brewery into a specially-made bag. The product will last a month in the Synek.
The next challenge was to develop a source of funding for production and distribution of the machine. Here's the video that launched Synek's solution, a Kickstarter Campaign:
Hoping to raise $250,000 in a month's time (June 24 to July 24), Synek became the most successful Kickstarter Campaign in St. Louis history, raising $648,535 with the support of 2,191 backers.
When I visited, shortly after the launch, I could easily have spent the day eavesdropping from the doorway to the makeshift office at TechArtista...the scene was that entertaining. Huddled over their laptops and fueled by cans of Red Bull, there were shout outs when support from as far away as Australia, Sweden and Germany hit the site. And then this: "Wow...hitting China boys!!!"
At the time of the launch the team consisted of Strategic Director CWEnder Mike Werner, second from left, St. Louisan Steven Menius, left, a SLU senior who was a summer intern, and Eric Stoddard, lower right, another SLU senior who will graduate this December instead of May 2015. Eric decided to drop one of two majors and give up Cross Country to work on this project. He has landed a full time job with Synek as Director of Community Engagement.
Mike Werner met Steve Young 1 1/2 years ago at StartLouis (a local meet-up opportunity for start ups and entrepreneurs) and their friendship fermented (sorry!) over coffee and beer (natch!). Eventually Steve, founder of Synek, asked Mike to join his Synek team. Mike is also Director of Business Development for TechArtista, so it was natural that Synek would move into the CWE co-working environment (4818 Washington) to launch the Kickstarter Campaign.
Synek has pre-orders for 2,078 (and growing!) table-top machines at a Kickstarter price of $299 each. There is still time to place your order at the introductory price. For more information visit Synek's website. Delivery is expected in April, 2015.
The press release following the completion of the successful launch states that the Synek team is "proud of tons of relationships they've created with breweries around the world," and encourages everyone to help small business by supporting craft breweries. Synek is positioned to do just that.
P.S. - Southwest Airlines is launching non-stop flights to San Francisco on Tuesday. According to a story by Maria Altman on St. Louis Public Radio (read it here), "The CEOs of 21 St. Louis-based startups will be aboard the inaugural flight..." Altman continues: "The St. Louis Regional Chamber and Washington University bought the airline tickets for the group. The goal is to help St. Louis startups tap into the Bay Area’s booming startup and investment scene."
What about a reverse trip bringing the investment scene back here? We've got it going on right here St. Louis!!!
Metro receives TIGER grant for CORTEX- CWE upgrades
U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill today announced the approval of millions of dollars in competitive federal grant funding for infrastructure projects in St. Louis and Washington, Missouri.
McCaskill said that the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) will award federal TIGER Grants to the Central Corridor Transit Enhancement and Job Access program (Cortex) in St. Louis-which will receive $10,300,000-and to the new Route 47 Missouri River Bridge in Washington, Mo.-which will receive $10,000,000.
“After seeing these projects firsthand earlier this year, I knew that new resources would mean more jobs and more economic opportunities for our state-and that’s why I’m thrilled to make this announcement,” McCaskill said. “These grants are competitive, and are awarded based on merit, so Missourians can be confident that these are worthy investments that will strengthen Missouri’s economy.”
McCaskill also cited the highly competitive nature of these infrastructure grants-noting that for this year’s round of funding, DOT received 797 applications totaling $9.5 billion, 15 times the $600 million available to be spent on the program.
McCaskill also announced that the Workforce Connex, Mid‐America Regional Council in Kansas City will receive a $1,200,000 planning grant.
The TIGER grant program-officially the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery program-targets major national and regional transportation projects that are often difficult to pursue through other government funding programs. Selected projects must foster job creation, show strong economic benefits, and promote communities that are safer, cleaner, and more livable.
Zumba Classes with Noelle Lopez at Mahler Ballroom 5:30 to 6:30 Mons., 9 to 10 Tues., a really fun workout, no dance experience necessary, $10 per class, or $8 per if you purchase a 5 or 10 class card, 4915 Washington (just west of Euclid), parking available. Click on link for more info.
CameraLove: iPhone-ography Mon. 9/22 6-7 p.m. Kristie Cromie, LPhotographie, get the most out of the camera that’s always with you, $30, (tips for android users too), 449 N. Euclid
Henhouse Prowlers at World Chess Hall of Fame Weds. 9/24 7 to 8 p.m., Chicago-based musical group, inspired by roots of bluegrass, have thrilled audiences across the US and Europe, $10, includes valet parking, seating limited, (314) 367-9243, tickets also available at door, 4652 Maryland.