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Uniontown's new craft and gift store opens

| Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015, 1:24 p.m.
Tammy Boyle offers specialty products at her new shop — The Olde Red Door — in Uniontown.
FRANKLIN LACAVA I FOR TRIB TOTAL MEDIA
Tammy Boyle offers specialty products at her new shop — The Olde Red Door — in Uniontown.

The owner of Uniontown's new specialty store, The Olde Red Door Craft/Gift Shop, picked a special night to open.

Owner Tammy Boyle chose Light Up Night on Nov. 19 to open her doors. She said she picked the location at 9 S. Beeson Blvd. because it is in Uniontown's central business district.

“I'm hoping that by being downtown near restaurants and banks, we will get a lot of foot traffic,” she said. “We're fortunate to offer specialty products. For instance, we're the only local dealer for Mud Pie brand children's clothing. New Geneva Stoneware is locally made, and it's a nationally-known pottery. Maruca purses and handbags are made in Boulder, Colo., but the company's owner is from Uniontown. I was lucky to find a store downtown next to a restaurant and busy intersection.”

Boyle traces her interest in handmade items to childhood lessons from family members and elementary school projects.

“I've always been interested in crafting. My great-grandmother Mary ‘Molly' O'Hern was a seamstress and she taught me to sew,” she said. “I was always creative. Instead of playing with dolls or games like dodgeball or foursquare on the playground, I was always thinking of making something. Even today I just can't sit and watch TV. I have to be sewing or tracing a pattern.”

She recalled her fifth-grade teacher, Mildred Funk of Uniontown, who “taught us how to make paper hyacinths. I remember a pink hyacinth. When we finished them, they really did look like flowers. At the age of 10 or 11, that fascinated me.”

While Boyle concentrates on fabrics, florals and re-purposed furniture, she accepts other artisans as consigners. Mindy Bowman does woodcrafts, Micki Chisler makes scented tarts and grubbys, and Anna Grahek Zajac creates Swarovski crystal jewelry.

Zajac has been making her uniquely-designed bracelets and necklaces for “about a year and a half” and uses only Austrian crystals for her work.

“The stones are my biggest expense,” she said. “They are sought after because they don't break easily. I come up with all of the ideas for design by myself. I try to keep them affordable — necklaces are $100 and bracelets $45.”

Interestingly enough, one of the store's consigners is none other than Jack Boyle — the owner's spouse. In retirement, he took up soapmaking as a hobby.

“It was something that would add to the shop, and I thought I'd help out. Besides, I can boil a batch while a basketball or football game is on,” he said with a laugh. “It's sort of fun to make. It adds a little variety to the store. Scents like gingerbread, lavender, Christmas tree, peppermint, woodland vary with the holidays.”

Why are consumers seeking out the smaller specialty stores?

“I think that the trend is moving away from ‘Made in China' to things made by local craftspeople,” said Tammy Boyle. “Shoppers are proud to buy things made in the U.S. Handmades are quality items that don't fall apart.”

The Olde Red Door Craft/Gift Shop may be found on Facebook and is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays.

Franklin LaCava is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.

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