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Louise Bevan, Maureen Galaska open The Lady Slipper in Easthampton

  • Merchandise for sale at The Lady Slipper, 121 Main Street, Easthampton.
  • The Lady Slipper, 121 Main Street, Easthampton.
  • Merchandise for sale at The Lady Slipper, 121 Main St., Easthampton.
  • Longtime friends Maureen Galaska and Louise Bevan, who take care in the way they display merchandise for sale, as shown here at The Lady Slipper, 121 Main St., Easthampton, said they are happy to join Easthampton's eclectic  downtown mix..
  • Merchandise for sale at The Lady Slipper, 121 Main Street, Easthampton.

— Longtime friends Maureen Galaska and Louise Bevan are now calling each other business partners, too, since they opened The Lady Slipper in a Main Street storefront Nov. 1.

The small shop at 121 Main St. sells gifts, antiques, and more, bringing together their passion for crafting and collecting, said Galaska, 57.

“It’s this and that,” she said of the inventory. “Antiques, gifts, handmade crafts, a little bit of everything.”

The storefront was occupied for years by another antique store called Remember When Antiques. Building co-owner Michel Moushabeck said it had been vacant for a little over a year since a vintage clothing store, Back to the Rack, closed.

Galaska and Bevan, both of Holyoke, have been friends since they began selling their handiwork at craft fairs about 20 years ago. They started working together on craft projects in the last few years, after Bevan closed Highland Rose, the flower shop she had owned in Holyoke, and the two decided they should go into business together.

“It just kind of happened,” said Bevan, 60.

They found the storefront, just a few doors down from Main Street’s shop row, after about a month of driving around the area looking for spaces to rent. Bevan said they had been considering naming the shop after one of her favorite flowers, the Lady Slipper, and decided it was meant to be when they passed by Lady Slipper Lane in Northampton on one of their drives.

“We’ve been watching Easthampton change,” Bevan said. “There are so many new artisans and shops here. We like the feel of it and we thought we’d give it a try.”

The approximately 700-square-foot store is filled with the items they’ve collected. That includes antique furniture, from a wooden bar cart to small tables, all covered in dishes, decorations and other small home furnishings, all for sale. The antiques that fill the store are not rare collectors items, Bevan added, but practical, affordable pieces that are in good shape.

“We just try to find something unique,” Galaska said of the store’s collection. “We try to find things that aren’t like those you can find everywhere else.”

The shop’s handmade items range from greeting cards and ornaments to bouquets of dried flowers. Bevan and Galaska do their crafting on a heavy wooden work table in the rear of the shop.

Last Monday afternoon, Bevan’s 14-year-old son, Matthew, and Galaska were bringing armfuls of white birch branches into the shop. Bevan said they would add lights and orange paper pumpkins to the branches and sell them as fall decorations.

Both women said they are excited to sell their handmade crafts, including wreaths and scented sachets. Galaska said she always prefers getting handmade gifts for the holidays, and she hopes shoppers will feel the same this December.

“We’re hoping we will do well with the holiday season coming up,” Bevan said, adding that she feels that the economy is slowly improving, too. “For Christmas, we plan to have fresh Christmas trees decorated with fruit and fresh log boxes for cemeteries.”

The Lady Slipper is open Monday through Friday noon to 5:30 p.m., Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Rebecca Everett can be reached at reverett@gazettenet.com.

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