VELVET GRACE

OSWEGO DOWNTOWN Business Spotlight: VELVET GRACE

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Business: Velvet Grace
Established: 2015
Current Downtown Location: 4025 U.S. Highway 34
Business Hours: Tuesday thru Friday 10:00am-5:00pm; Saturday 10:00am-4:00pm
Phone Number: 630-636-6570
Facebook Link: https://www.facebook.com/velvetgraceoswego/

Every community has its special landmarks that visitors and residents alike identify with as distinctive to an area. Frequently these places exemplify the history of a community, whether it is through representing a past era, or a rare architectural design. When coming to Oswego, an unusual set of buildings that always catches the eye are the log cabin buildings that are currently home to Velvet Grace. The journey into this special space begins with the ancient wooden front door—upon entering, shop-goers are welcomed by unique and diverse items of home décor, jewelry, gift items, candles, and clothing framed by warm wood floors, vaulted beamed ceilings, and a formidable stone fireplace. Everything about Velvet Grace combines the blending of the antique and the new; the eclectic and the traditional.

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Owners Mary Blanchflower and Nicole Menard are focused on creating a special experience for their store clients, finding original and repurposed items from many different sources (including professional markets) and supporting local artisans and jewelry artists through showcasing their products at Velvet Grace. Both ladies have a flair for presentation, staging pieces in an inviting and pleasing manner; they also frequently change products in the store to keep the selection fresh and to appease their regular clientele. Their business began back in 2014-15 as an idea Nicole and Mary had together, to build a distinctive retail experience that included a creative space for classes and workshops. Both women have backgrounds in the creative arts and felt strongly about establishing a space to showcase their strengths and interests. Both Mary and Nicole are longtime residents of Oswego and desired to reinvest in their hometown by opening within the Village limits. After exploring several options, Mary and Nicole were both attracted by the charm of the historic log cabins and decided to choose them as the location for Velvet Grace.

Both Mary and Nicole are interested in connecting directly with their Velvet Grace customers, by creating a boutique experience that also is inclusive to all budgets. Throughout the store, there were many gift options both personal and inspirational in a range of reasonable prices, in addition to providing in-store design consultation and gift cards. Once a gift is selected, Velvet Grace offers wrapping and special presentation of your chosen item(s) so they are ready to give. Velvet Grace is also expanding their popular “Pop-Up” clothing trunk sales to become a full-time boutique clothing section (the “Velvet Grace Style Studio”) featuring various styles throughout the year. Another of the special services Velvet Grace provides for their clients is the ability to create a “Wish List” for any special occasion, such as a wedding list, Mothers’ Day, Birthday, etc. This list then is provided to families and friends wanting to purchase store merchandise (from furniture/home goods to personal items) as gifts for their loved one.

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Velvet Grace is a carrier/supplier of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, a non-toxic, water-based paint that, with little prep and time investment in application, used either to provide a fresh look for repurposed items or a modern look to new pieces. It is lead-free, EG-free, odor-free and has very low volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which makes it safe for families, and has a matte-like finish similar to a “chalk” surface. Chalk paint is also suitable for use on wood, metal, glass, brass, and almost any surface, and is durable. There are many varieties of colors available in the store for purchase, along with extra supplies needed to complete your desired finish. Velvet Grace also offers classes to teach different application techniques such as solid color, textures, distressing, and other unique looks to help their customers bring new life to old pieces. For more information on classes, please visit Velvet Grace’s website at http://www.velvetgrace.net.

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Through their creativity, knowledge, and hard work, Mary and Nicole have crafted a unique destination point in Oswego for both their current and future customers. The artistry and style present in the store truly fits their name…..Velvet Grace is definitely a “find” in our downtown Oswego area!

Photography: Wendy Greenslade from Locked In Photography
Article content: Karen Kulzer and Autumn Ramsey