When Carrie Anne Del Cioppo opened her new gift shop at 4th and Northampton streets in the summer of 2011, she was eager about starting a new venture and hopeful that her line of unusual gift items (folk art, natural soaps, clothing and high-end chocolates) would appeal to the local populace.
Her biggest concern was to make sure her store wouldn’t end up as just another failed business statistic in Easton’s checkered history.
By February 2012, after numerous ups and downs, her fear seemed a distinct possibility and things were looking pretty bleak for the neophyte store owner.
“I was seriously thinking about not renewing my lease,” Del Cioppo said.
Instead, she decided to adapt.
“My mother had been an antiques dealer and I always had an interest, so when the few items I had in the store sold very quickly, that’s when the light went on over my head," Del Cioppo said.
After tinkering with her product line to include more second-hand furniture and antiques, the family-run business began to see a marked improvement. In fact, the once ailing gift shop had a complete turnaround for the better.
As her business began to flourish, Carrie realized that she was rapidly outgrowing her modest 1,000-square-foot storefront at 4th and Northampton, and needed to expand into a larger space.
With the help of the Easton Main Street Initiative, she discovered the empty former Sherwood’s store off the circle at 20 S. Third St. and knew she’d found a new home and that it was time to move.
The initiative also assisted her in finding someone to sublet her old space -- Jennifer Crayton, whose boutique, Crayton’s Creations, will sell handmade jewelry, hats, scarves and handbags.
Because of her lease agreement and time constraints, Carrie expects to be operating out of both locations until the end of the year, at which point she’ll give up the Northampton Street shop and concentrate fully on her new Third St. space.
“We’ll share the old space with Jennifer through the holiday, so people can be directed to our new location,” Carrie said of her plans, “and then Jennifer will take over completely at the start of the New Year.”
The 6,000-square-foot ground floor space, which is six times as large as her old store and served as the temporary indoor Farmers' Market last year, suits Carrie’s needs perfectly, though she allows there was plenty of painting and renovating to do.
So, what is she going to do with all that interior space?
“I have a lot of back stock that I can now display, plus I’ll be able to feature my furnishings as if they were in proper room settings so people can see the merchandise in a more creative fashion.”
In addition to new and more spacious digs, which situates her directly across the street from Crayola and the parking garage, the move also gives Carrie even larger display windows in which to show off her wares.
“We’ll basically be doing a larger version of what we have done at the old store,” said Carrie of her intent to continue her tradition of having beautiful holiday window displays. The upper floors in her new location are home to numerous artists’ studios with whom she hopes to interact in a creative way. “I definitely want to work with them.”
Currently she and her family are racing to get the new store in shape for the public to visit during the Peace Candle lighting events in the circle on Nov. 23. A formal Grand Reopening is planned after the holidays.
Carrie Anne's is the second downtown Easton business to move in the last month. The Game Gallery, which sells used video games, recently moved into a new storefront on Northampton Street.