Grove City Town Center: Grove Sheek Boutique offers variety of chic items
One of the latest businesses to open in Grove City's Town Center sports a wide array of merchandise, but it isn't a quaint general store.
The sale items at Valerie Heiby's "rustic" store are more chic than sundry.
Grove Sheek Boutique, which opened in March at 3937 Broadway, offers everything from fashion and home decor to jewelry and gifts, specialty foods and coffee, as well as skin-care and wellness products.
Her store is designed to carry a variety of items, any one of which might catch one's eye while strolling past her display window, Heiby said.
The store's interior includes decorative touches to give the boutique "a rustic feel," she said.
"We've got cowboy hats and other things hanging up to give it a downhome appeal," she said.
Heiby, who has lived in Grove City for more than three decades, decided to open her own business after her job as a fundraiser for a nonprofit organization was eliminated.
"I have a business degree in finance (from the University of Phoenix), but I worked in the corporate world for about 25 years," she said.
All during that time, Heiby said, she harbored an interest in starting her own business.
Her first self-owned endeavor was a catering business, but it didn't quite deliver the personal satisfaction she was looking for, she said.
Then she hit upon the idea of opening a boutique store in the Town Center.
"I thought it would offer something unique for the district," Heiby said.
Grove Sheek Boutique began as an online business in January 2020, and Heiby's plan was to open her storefront in March 2020.
Then the pandemic hit, and her plans were shelved for the time being.
The online business continued until Heiby signed a lease for the current location, which previously was occupied by the Honey House.
"It wasn't the original location I was going to open in, but it's worked out great," Heiby said. "The Honey House downsized and opened a vendor space in the antiques store next door."
After such a long delay, she said, she was eager to open her store.
"People would tell me, 'I can't believe you're opening a store in the middle of a pandemic,' but it was almost like the pandemic didn't exist for me," given her level of excitement, Heiby said.
"What I really love is interacting with people," she said. "That's been really fun."
The best aspect is that she gets to meet people in person who have been online customers of Grove Sheek Boutique, Heiby said.
"It's a chance to put a face to the name," she said.
With all the clothing, accessories, gifts and decor items available at the store, Heiby said one of the items customers seem to especially like are more tasty than tasteful.
"People really seem to enjoy the hand-painted chocolate truffles," she said. "It's something to satisfy your sweet tooth."
The candies are supplied by Lohcally Artisan Chocolates, owned by Lewis Center resident Denise Steele, who makes and paints her chocolate treats in her home kitchen.
Steele said she uses cocoa butter to give each truffle its own design.
"Painting them by hand really makes the colors stand out and capture your eyes," she said. "It's a more vibrant look than you can get with a chocolate that's manufactured by a machine."
The truffles make a nice gift for someone special or an indulgent treat for oneself, Steele said.
Steele worked as a small-business analyst before concentrating on raising her three children.
Along the way, she said, she worked various part-time jobs and dreamed about opening her own business.
"I've always had an interest in opening a chocolate business. My Mom worked at a candy store that's still there (in Hartville), where I grew up," Steele said. "I just really liked the idea of being able to make people happy by giving them chocolate."
Steele enrolled in the Ecole Chocolat professional chocolatier program, which trains people on the art and business of being a chocolatier.
"I originally thought about wanting to make chocolate turtles and things like that, but attending that program really opened my eyes to what the consumer trends are in chocolate making," she said.
Along with truffles, Lohcally Artisan Chocolates also sells its homemade caramels and barks.
Steele sells her products at several central Ohio outlets and as a pop-up retailer at special events, farmers markets and summer festivals.
Grove Sheek Boutique opens at 11 a.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and closes at 9 p.m. Tuesdays and Fridays and 6 p.m. on other days. The store is closed Sundays and Mondays.