THREE OAKS — The Alapash New Home store in downtown Three Oaks was already full of shoppers by the time the ceremonial grand-opening ribbon was being cut at noon on Friday, July 5.
“It was pretty wild to see all these people coming in … I didn’t expect so many people at once,” said Alapash owner Marco Chavarry.
It was a pleasant surprise to be sure.
Those making their first visit to the 2,500 square foot retail space at 14 North Elm St. were greeted with a bright, colorful and spacious place to explore.
“I grew up in Peru, where the homes are humble but colorful, fun and welcoming. I always wanted my store to feel like that,” Chavarry said.
He said the remodeling project included knocking down a lot of walls, sanding a lot of glue off the floors, and getting everything re-painted and rebuilt.
“We just wanted the place to feel happy and alive, and I think we have succeeded.”
Chavarry said he thinks of Alapash New Home (both the new Three Oaks location and the original founded eight years ago at 4835 North Damen Ave. in Chicago) as “a gift shop in housewares and home decor all combined.”
“It is a very eclectic shop. I always tell people you can find a little bar of soap for $5 or a lamp for $300, or an original artwork — there’s a little bit for everyone.”
Chavarry said the inventory includes rugs, pottery and ceramics, furniture (something the Chicago store doesn’t carry), pillows, plants (terrariums, long a specialty in Chicago, are expected to arrive in Three Oaks in a few weeks), works of art and more.
He said most of the textiles offered at Alapash (including blankets from Bangladesh, Turkey and Morocco and Alpaca throws from Peru) are sourced internationally.
Chavarry said candles created by Gerri and Curt from Nicolet Candle have been especially popular in the Chicago Alapash.
“They were the first people I connected with when I opened my first shop eight years ago … We love not only their work but also their commitment to the environment. All of our candles are 100 percent soy wax and we recycle our containers. Our wicks are organic cotton.”
“The Harbor Country Chamber is pleased to see yet another new business opening in our thriving community of Three Oaks, especially one that has an international flair,” said Chamber Member Services Director Kim Wendt during a ribbon-cutting ceremony witnessed by a sizable audience.
Also present for the grand opening was “Lucy,” a mini dachsund owned by Chavarry and Thomas Allen Pauly (whose A Drawing Room studio and gallery featuring original works of race horse art opened recently across the street at 9 Noth Elm St.)
“She’s very spoiled and she only likes to work certain hours,” Chavarry noted. “It’s part of the reason that I have a shop — so I can have my dog with me.”
Alapash New Home in Three Oaks will be open Monday, Thursday and Friday from 11 a.m. to 7 p,m.; and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more, go to www.alapash.com (Chavarry also recommended following the shop on Facebook and Instagram).
“I think everybody’s having a good time,” Chavarry observed as the Three Oaks Alapash remained full long after that ribbon had been cut.
The Harbor Country Chamber of Commerce’s next ribbon-cutting ceremony is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Thursday, July 18, at The Grove, a new restaurant located within Gordon Beach Inn, 16220 Lakeshore Road, Union Pier.
The public Grand Opening event will highlight the restaurant’s unique American fare with a Latin flair, offering sample tapas and their signature sangria cocktail and a selection of three paella dishes. Fried plantains are part of the varied side dish menu along with soups and salads. The family-friendly establishment also offers a menu for children.
Originally from Cuenca, Ecuador, Chef Eduardo received his culinary training at the Culinary Institute of America in New York and gained a wealth of experience working in New York City as well as a well-known Benton Harbor, Michigan restaurant.
The Grove will be open year round within Gordon Beach Inn. For more information, please call (269) 934-9700 or visit their Facebook pag