LOCATION: Gore, OK
SQUARE FOOTAGE: 3200
EMPLOYEES: Three full-time, three part-time
By Jessica Harlan
When Julie Cotherman bought the 100-year-old building that houses her boutique, Anne-Paige, she envisioned it as a studio where she would make and sell her handmade jewelry, but the store took on a life of its own, evolving into a thriving gift boutique that stocks everything from home decor and kitchenware to clothing, handbags and jewelry. While she no longer makes the jewelry she sells, Julie has found creating beautiful displays is among her creative talents as is refinishing furniture for store fixtures and curating a selection of merchandise that wows her customers.
What makes your store unique?
Visiting Anne-Paige is personal. My mom is 81, and she comes to work with me every day. Everyone loves to visit with her.
Our customers have become some of our dearest friends over the last 12 years. They know when they come to the store, we’re going to be there for them.
How would you describe the atmosphere of your store?
We try to make each display personal. If I’m displaying Bohemian blankets, I’ll have a brightly colored fixture to go with it. A lot of my fixtures were finished with Annie Sloan chalk paint, which we also sell in the store.
How do you promote your store?
We’re only seven miles from Tenkiller Lake, so I advertise around the lake a lot, with the Chamber of Commerce, neighborhood associations and the state parks. I send out emails every week, and, of course, I post on Facebook and Instagram all the time.
What has been your most successful recent event?
I do several events throughout the year: Mother’s Day, a fall festival and a Christmas open house, but one of our favorites is the birthday celebration for Anne-Paige the week before the Fourth of July. The celebration is at the height
of our summer season. We serve yummy beverages and snacks — and, of course, birthday cake —and have sales throughout the store.
What is your favorite new product line?
I picked up the Consuela line of handbags a year ago in January, and it’s done great.
It’s a happy, colorful product and after the pandemic, people really want happy things.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted your business?
When we shut down, I sent everyone home — including my mom — and I
stayed at the store, assembling call-in orders and delivering them to people’s
car trunks. All the other staff were putting everything we owned onto our
website. Anything that had been in our store, and maybe had been neglected
or not selling… it got put on our site. Building my website really helped me
during the pandemic, so I could pay my employees but still keep them safe.
And now, I’m still getting online orders from all over . . . I have the United States shopping with me!
This article was originally published in the May 2021 issue of Giftbeat.