Nature’s Emporium: 38 Years and Counting
Fair Haven boutique offers unique gifts and personal service that stand the test of time
The year was 1973. In Elmont, Secretariat won the Triple Crown. In Los Angeles, the Dolphins won the Super Bowl. In Fair Haven, artist Priscilla Bahr set out to win the heart of her community. Thirty-eight years later, she continues to do just that.
Nature’s Emporium, a boutique offering whimsical one-of-a-kind gifts, opened in what was then considered the “Black Sheep Building,” now known as River Shops. Bahr started small, occupying only a corner of what later became her expanded boutique.
“When I first started in that little corner, I sold seashells, butterflies, insects and beads,” said Bahr. “As the climate changed and business changed, I didn’t want to endanger species, so I put in vintage clothing for a while.”
Introducing fashion enhanced Bahr’s business and continues to be a popular element of Nature’s Emporium. Bahr carries many brands made in the USA and abroad, including Flax, Cutloose and Click.
“I carry easy, comfortable clothing,” said Bahr. “The lines are more casual than dressy, and each piece is practical and classically beautiful.”
Now is the time to raid Bahr’s closet. Through Feb. 26, Nature’s Emporium is holding a sale that includes 45-50% off winter clothing items. Bahr also offers customers a chance to win an extra 10% off sale items by pulling a slot machine – a ringing bell indicates instant savings.
Nature’s Emporium also offers an array of jewelry and accessories, from beaded bracelets to colorful headbands.
“Accent pieces can really jazz up an outfit,” said Bahr.
Per suggestion by the former Black Sheep owner, Bahr began selling unique greeting cards, which fill the entire back room of the shop. From romantic to humorous, even swinging (pop art cards that literally swing upon touching), Bahr’s card inventory is unlike any other.
“People come in every day for cards,” said Bahr. “They’re my bread and butter.”
Bahr’s “jam” includes fragrant candles, incense, lotion and soaps. Though her favorite spread she sells is Dr. Pete’s Mustard Glaze, which Bahr raves is a “long time favorite of many – a great, fast, easy party treat!”
Nature’s Emporium’s extensive inventory features something for customers of all ages with all interests.
“For the younger kids, I have a lot of fun things like stickers, socks, t-shirts and books,” said Bahr. “I also have a 90 year old woman that comes in all the time. I pick out things to have her try.”
Her loyal fans appreciate Bahr’s personal service, some of which have moved out of the area but still desire Nature’s Emporium items. Bahr not only personally shops for their requests, but mails their choices up and down the coast from Maine to Florida.
“My customer base constantly changes, but I do have some tried & true customers from over the years,” said Bahr. “They respect the personal service I offer.”
With Bahr’s distinctive finds and exceptional service, it’s no wonder Nature’s Emporium has been in business for 38 years. As Bahr looks around the shop and smiles, it seems her visions for 2011 and beyond are just beginning.
Nature’s Emporium is located at 769 River Rd. in Fair Haven. Shop hours are Tues-Sat 10am-5pm.