Archive for Thursday, August 2, 2001

Judi’s Gifts the latest downtown addition

August 2, 2001

As of July 24, 709 Main St. looks quite a bit different. Gone is the rustic, bare-bones atmosphere of the flea market once on the site.

Customers to Ms. Judi's Gifts and Home Dr set tinkling wind chimes into motion when coming in the door. The aroma from scores of candles permeates the plush interior owner Judy Smith created with fresh coats of paint, wallpaper and hanging lace.

"Ninety-nine percent are things that I just like," she said, pointing out a rack of personalized notepads, which she uses, and cookie cutters she bakes with at home.

"I wish I could have named it What I Like," she said of the gift shop that moved from Ottawa to downtown Eudora late last month.

Before opening the shop, Smith worked at Kansas University in accounts receivable.

"It's something I always wanted to do," Smith said. "I like all these pretties. You can't have them all in your home at the same time."

Last Thursday afternoon, two customers roamed around the shop, often stopping to smell the fragrant candles that vary from chocolate cherry to Mediterranean fig.

"We do not have a bad candle in here," Smith said.

She boasts the line of candles from Private Gardens, a shop on Kansas City, Mo.'s, Country Club Plaza. Smith's store also carries the Camille Beckman line of toiletries, which the company allows only one business per town to carry.

Conscientious shoppers will notice the discrepancy in the spellings of Judi on the sign outside and the Judy who works behind the counter.

"I just thought it would look classier and draw attention," Smith said of the spelling change.

As a resident of Eudora, Smith said she looked forward to moving the four-year-old store from Ottawa to spend more time at home.

"Yesterday someone from Ottawa called to see if we're open," Smith said of her loyal customer base.

With the Eudora Chamber of Commerce and Eudora Planning Commission concerned about the future of downtown, Smith said she had some qualms about relocating.

"I was just nervous about leaving my shop," she said. "I'm sure that once people get to know we're here, we'll be alright. I'm happy to be here."

With the Westminster Tea Room opening in September and retail clothing business slated for empty buildings, Smith is hopeful about downtown's future.

"The more you have open, the more (business) you have," she said.

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