The holidays are fast approaching. During a time that is supposed to bring peace and joy, I often find myself hopelessly overwhelmed. Sure, this time of the year is exciting, but there is so much planning to be done: I still need to create a dinner menu, decorate the house and – my least favorite – pick out the perfect gifts. Unfortunately, I have become known as the gift-carder in my family. I have never had a knack for finding a piece that just screams “grandma” or “auntie Sue” or whomever I am buying for.
This is where Barrington’s Grasmere comes into play. Described by owners Jörg-Peter Gresch and Beth Siqueland-Gresch as a lifestyle store, Grasmere offers unique and handcrafted products. Walking into the store, my senses came alive. I could smell the holidays – which turned out to be a combination of German incense and cider. The displays were grand and beautiful. It was obvious that the owners had an eye for detail.
Grasmere is specifically known for its dry floral arrangements that are done in-house and preserved with glycerin. Peter says the arrangements last for several years and are “a wonderful alternative to fresh flowers.” These are perfect for the indecisive shopper like myself. Peter and Beth act as design consultants to their customers. All a customer needs to do is explain who and what the product is for, and Peter and Beth will create the perfect custom arrangement. You can even bring your own container.
Flowers are not the only product you will find in this cozy store. Grasmere offers a wide variety of product lines, including ornaments, custom wreaths, jewelry, scarves and vintage pottery. All of the products are sourced from independent designers using Fair Trade practices. Peter’s expertise lies specifically in the antique products that the couple imports from northern Europe.
The couple is very passionate about a customer’s experience at Grasmere. They explain that the store is about taking the time to find the perfect piece, stating that many customers will spend up to an hour in the store searching for the right gift. This is a task the couple is happy to help with. “Part of our expertise is knowing the people that they are buying for and steering the buyer toward the perfect gift,” says Peter. I guess my days of gift cards are over.