White Begonia offers array of products
SHERRILL — The White Begonia, 622 Sherrill Road, offers a virtual garden of gifts for shoppers in the greater Sherrill area. Anne Marie Costello runs the shop with Ann Dougal, its visual merchandiser. Costello moved to Sherrill in 2004, and Dougal grew up in Sherrill. “I was actually going to this store before it was the White Begonia,” Dougal added.
White Begonia was originally Cottontails, which carried children’s clothes, and Yankee Limited, the home decor and gift shop. Costello said she opened White Begonia in October 2014 to fill the gap after the previous store closed.
“My children were getting older, and I was going through a divorce, so I wanted to keep myself busy,” Costello said. “I knew I had to get back into the workforce with the children going back to school, and this opportunity opened up. Sherrill was used to having a gift shop, and they were missing it.”
Since opening, Costello and Dougal said the community has treated them well.
“It’s steady throughout the year,” Dougal said. “And we get a lot of new customers from around the area who have never heard of us who come in during the holidays and keep shopping with us throughout the year,” Costello said. Customers from Utica, New Hartford, Whitesboro, Rome, and even Syracuse have stopped by the White Begonia to see what’s in store.
What sets White Begonia apart from other stores is its stock of pieces from local artists.
These include Amy Debricque, author of the book “em.bold.en,” Julie Christmas of Tug Hill Botanic Art, Lisa Sipp-Vallee Photography, Angela Corolla of Gypsy Souls Artisan, Karissa Jones of Simply Natural, Mark Papa of Industrial Loft, and even Dougal stocks her homemade pillows through Annie’s Accents.
There’s clothing, jewelry, accessories, home decor, and other items. “We carry a little bit of everything,” Costello said. “And it really pulls people in because they want to support our local artists and artisans.”
One of White Begonia’s newest additions is a line of baby and children’s clothes and accessories. “It’s been about six months since we started the children’s side, but we’re trying to figure out the best way forward, like where to stop with age group and size,” Costello said. “I’d like it to be more of a gift-type of children’s boutique so people that want to buy something for a baby shower, newborn, or birthday gift — instead of everyday shopping for children.”
Dougal said that from what she’s heard from customers, no other places in the area offer special or unique gifts for a baby.
When asked about White Begonia’s future, Costello and Dougal said their current focus is the children’s section, with plans to finalize the store’s website. “The website wasn’t anything I really wanted to get into, because I like that idea of an old-school brick and mortar location that’s one-on-one,” Costello said. “But with the way things are today, the website is a big draw.
Regardless of the future, Costello and Dougal are doing what they can to offer the best experience to the customer.
“Anne Marie and I have different tastes in colors and styles, so we end up attracting different customers,” Dougal said.
“Ann helps me get out of my box, I think,” Costello said. “And Anne gets me out of mine,” Dougal said. “We compliment each other.” White Begonia will host a fashion show from 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, June 27, at the Oneida Community Golf Course.
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