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Greensburg's Aw Else Boutique is mixing good deeds with good designs

| Monday, Nov. 26, 2012, 9:08 p.m.
Tribune-Review
Owl inspired rings at Else Boutique in Hempfield Twp. near Greensburg on November 13, 2012.
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Danielle Shaffer of Aw Else Boutique in Hempfield Twp. near Greensburg, poses for a portrait on November 13, 2012. Sean Stipp | Tribune-Review
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Bridgewater Candle Company's tag supports the 'Light a Candle, Feed A Child' campaign. The candles are available at Aw Else Boutique in Hempfield Twp. near Greensburg. Sean Stipp | Tribune-Review
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Items available at Aw Else Boutique in Hempfield Twp. near Greensburg, poses for a portrait on November 13, 2012. Sean Stipp | Tribune-Review
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Marcia Cook of Fox Chapel shops for a purse at Else Boutique in Hempfield Twp. near Greensburg. Sean Stipp | Tribune-Review

A Bridgewater candle purchased from Aw Else Boutique illuminates.

It also helps shed light on the hunger of orphaned children around the world.

Store co-owner Danielle Shaffer witnessed firsthand the impact one candle has on this crisis in a recent visit to Honduras. She was selected by the candle company to accompany Bridgewater president Bob Caldwell Jr. on a journey to the Good Shepherd Children's Home, which sits on a 60-acre farm.

“The thing that excited me most about the trip was to have an everlasting impression of what it means to serve others first-hand and to have the opportunity to share with customers how the purchases they are making are impacting others,” Shaffer says.

Her Greensburg store was selected by Bridgewater, a candle and home fragrance manufacturer based in Spartanburg, S.C., to participate in a special brand-experience orphanage-service project. Four dealers from across the country were chosen through a nomination process and received an all-expense-paid trip, which included a tour of the manufacturing facility before flying to the orphanage for infants to children aged 17 to deliver much-needed supplies.

Bridgewater is committed to sharing its blessings, warmth and hospitality with the rest of the world through the Light a Candle Feed a Child program. In 2010, the company partnered with Rice Bowls, a nonprofit that feeds and nurtures orphans in developing countries.

For every jar sold, Bridgewater makes a donation to feed a child for a day.

“This was by far the most humbling experience one can endure in one's lifetime,” Shaffer says. “I believe you are placed in pathways for a reason.”

Being able to carry a company's product that helps others is important to Shaffer and co-owner Mark White when selecting vendors.

They like being able to pay it forward, she says. The fashionable women's store also features accessories and gifts designed or handmade in the United States. Some of the brands available are John Wind, Sorrelli, Big Buddha, Ham Dag, Chocolate New York and Cinda B. Jewelry; pricing starts at $49.99 with handbags at $69.99.

“You can take what you already own and dress it up with accessories from this store,” Shaffer says. “Accessories can change an outfit in a snap.”

Customer Marcia Cook from Fox Chapel agrees.

“This store is unique, and you don't see yourself coming and going,” Cook says. “You can take something simple and accessorize it, and it looks wonderful. I stopped in here the first day it opened, and I keep coming back because I always find something I like.”

After working in corporate America, Shaffer decided to make a career change to retail.

“This store gives me the opportunity to get into the community,” she says. “Our vision is to bring premier lines from New York and Las Vegas to Greensburg. We want to bring some high end and upscale pieces to this area.”

The owners designed the space to resemble different rooms for each product. There is a special area for the candles.

“Once you see the child who has been impacted by these candles … I can't even put it into words,” Shaffer says. “That impression does not go away. I can't find words to describe it. I understand why soldiers don't talk about what they saw and experienced when they come back from war. There is no way to explain what I experienced.”

Aw Else Boutique, 1020-4 Towne Square Drive, Greensburg. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, until 7 p.m. Wednesday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. During the holiday season, hours are noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays. Details: 724-420-5236 or www.awelseboutique.com

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