Along the Sterling Highway in Soldotna at the Kobuk Street intersection a recently renovated building is the new home to three local shops — Chez Moi Boutique, Northern Roots Salon and Orange Poppy.
While the Shops Around the Corner stores —a clothing boutique, a hair salon and a home décor store — all provide different services and sell different items, they are all cohesive with one another.
From one shop to the next, the décor is comfortable and relaxing and the shopkeepers are friendly and inviting.
Shop owner Tammy Davis opened Chez Moi, a women’s clothing boutique, in Soldotna seven years ago. When Davis was notified that California-based Aventine Development Corporation would be leveling her store space at the Soldotna “Y,” she was excited about the new opportunity.
“To be honest, I was kind of looking for a new spot,” Davis said. … “So time wise I needed to move, but this was exactly what I was looking for.”
While her loyal customers have followed Davis down the highway, she said at her new location she gets more walk-by shoppers who pop into the store.
“My seasonal traffic is finding me much faster than they would have if I’d moved to a different part of town,” she said.
Davis said she tries to reach women of all ages with the selection clothing and accessories she sells.
“My goal is to be able to dress … the high schoolers, their moms and even their grandmas,” Davis said.
Davis focuses on classic, flattering pieces as well as climate appropriate clothing. while bringing in pops of fashion trends like colors.
Coral and turquoise are popular choices that are continuing into fall she said, but they’re a little “too punchy” to wear in Alaska in November. However, they can work in a scarf or purse in the fall here.
While Davis has 15-20 core brands that she buys from nearly every season including Miss Me, Rock Revival and NIC+ZOE, the products still has to impress her at tradeshows.
This fall, Davis will also be stocking 3-4 new brands at Chez Moi, including one that balances between athletic and boutique wear.
Thirteen years ago Janey Skuse talked Summer Durst into going to beauty school with her. After working in other salons, in April, the two opened Northern Roots together.
“It’s been our dream,” Durst said about opening a salon with Skuse.
Skuse heard about the space from one of her clients. When she discussed opening the salon with Durst, she said it had to feel right.
“I had all these ideas in my head of what my salon is going to be and we had the same thought,” Skuse said.
It was a “little scary” opening the new salon and wondering if it would work out, but business has been good so far.
“Honestly, we’re in it to have fun,” Durst said. “We’re not really in it to make millions. It’s something we enjoy to do.”
Skuse said they were worried about the narrowness of the space and they wanted to make sure clients were comfortable. With two cutting and styling stations on one side of the room, two dryers on the other and pops of turquoise and distressed décor, Northern Roots is cozy, but not cramped.
Durst said the space and location is perfect.
Durst and Skuse’s previous clients made the move with them and the duo takes referrals and walk-ins. Durst said their customers range from children to men and women.
“We’re a fun salon, we’re happy and we do good hair,” Durst said.
Before opening her home décor store, Kenda Blanning was a hair stylist working out of her home, but always loved helping people decorate their homes.
“I never thought that I was going to be opening a shop,” Blanning said. “I always had a dream of doing something like this but I just wasn’t thinking that I would.”
While visiting a shop in Oregon last June, Blanning decided to open her own, and asked the owner how to get started. Less than one year later, she opened Orange Poppy. Now she splits her time between the shop and working as a hair stylist.
While she meets new customers in her shop everyday, most of them are local, she said. Since opening in April, the store has acquired regulars Blanning is beginning to know by name.
She describes the style of furniture, wall-décor, kitchenware, lighting fixtures and knickknacks as urban-farm. While the two words seem to be antonyms, the pops of color, exposed metal and distressed finishes of items combine to create cohesion between rural and city styles.
Blanning, her husband and brother-in-law build and rework old furniture into new items to sell in the store. Customers can request customized pieces. Before opening the shop, Blanning used to refinish items for herself and as gifts.
She also sells work via consignment from Alaskan artists — most of who are based on the Kenai Peninsula.
“I try to find really more unique things, and I don’t usually get a lot of one item,” she said.