GOSHEN — The shops in downtown Goshen are considered special gifts to Michele Fanfair-Steury and she’s the proud owner of one of them.
The Gift of G.A.B., Goshen’s Alternative Boutique, has been open for business since 2001.
She likes to shop for the one-of-a-kind items not found in the larger retail stores.
“I asked my husband (Paul Steury) where the cute boutique stores were located and he took me to Grape Road (in Mishawaka) where the big stores are,” Fanfair-Steury said, “No. I wanted the little stores where you go to find that one-of-a-kind cute something.”
After she moved to Goshen in 2000, Fanfair-Steury said she worked long hours at Goshen College and would unwind at home by creating jewelry.
“Some people would buy it and when there was sidewalk days, I would set up a place on the courtyard lawn,” she added.
She says a year after the couple was married, they found out a shop on the corner of Douglas and Main streets in Goshen was for rent. One thing led to another and she’s still in business 12 years later.
“My intent is to create my things and for other artists to put (their) things in the store,” Fanfair-Steury said. “I enjoy it. I’ve hosted more than 300 artists through the years, which is the hardest part (of being a store owner). I love the aspect of having other artists. It presents another look and avenue to the store. I’m trying to find balance.”
And the name of the boutique came about during a road trip with her husband.
“Paul and I were calling out names and I said ‘The Gift of Gab, Goshen’s alternative boutique,’ “ she said, smiling. “The name just fit.”
What sparks her creativity? She goes to auctions or sales. Fanfair-Steury uses vintage fabric to recreate pieces of furniture or redo throw pillows “to make them come alive or more exciting.”