Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Uptown Westerville is a Place to Enrich, Enlighten, Enhance and Enjoy

Read this week's feature on Encircle, 30 & 34 N. State, in ThisWeek Community Newspapers Westerville:

Community support leads to success for Encircle

Wednesday, December 9, 2009 12:48 PM

ThisWeek Staff Writer

Editor's note: This story is the second in a five-part series examining what makes Uptown Westerville unique and highlighting selected businesses there.

Amy Heath is the owner of Encircle, located at 30 N. State St. in Uptown WestHeath said she credits the Westerville community with for the success of her business, which sells American-made crafts and clothing.

When Amy Heath purchased The Bibelot Shop, an American craft gallery in Uptown Westerville, she knew she was taking a leap.

"I saw The Bibelot Shop for sale, and I just did it -- a leap of faith," said Heath, who was then employed as a case worker.

In the seven years since, Heath has turned The Bibelot Shop into Encircle, 30 N. State St., which she expanded into two Uptown storefronts two years ago.
She said she credits the Westerville community with making her business, along with the many others in Uptown, successful.

"It's definitely the people in Westerville," Heath said. "They want to support downtown. They're always up here."

The two stores in one at Encircle sell only American-made craft goods. One side of the shop features crafts to wear -- such as jewelry and sweaters -- while the other features crafts for the home.

Some of the artists presented in the store are holdovers from its days as The Bibelot Shop, Heath said. But she said she's modernized and brought in works by many new artists.

Some artists whose work Encircle sells work on a larger scale, she said, but some are local artists whose work she sells on consignment.

Which items are the biggest sellers for the stores changes with the seasons, Heath said. As the holiday approaches and the winter chill begins to set in, she said candles and sweaters become the hot items.

"It's cyclical. It's always changing," she said. "Sometimes it's jewelry and sometimes it's pottery and sometimes it's glass."

One thing that doesn't change is the type of items available in her store, Heath said. She said all are meant to be works of art that are high-quality, useful and affordable.

"I really focus on quality and cost," Heath said. "I focus on functional art pieces of good quality that are affordable."

Heath said Uptown Westerville has been the right place for her shop because of the small-town feel and the support she sees from the customers.

"Uptown Westerville is very nice, and I love, love Westerville," she said. "The people in Westerville are wonderful, and they support their downtown. It's like a small town, but we're in the city."

The support of customers is growing, Heath said, as is evident from people determined to shop locally during the recession, even if they're spending less and purchasing smaller items.

"We're getting a lot of people this year saying, 'We don't want to shop in the mall any more,'" Heath said. "(The recession's) not hitting us that hard. There's certainly a difference, but it's not that hard."

Click here for the online article in ThisWeek.

Read Part 1: Amish Originals Furniture Co., click here.

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