The chalkboard hanging on the wall behind Cody Dishong, owner of the Plush Gift Shop, reads “It’s time to be happy again.” It’s a theme that can be felt through the various handmade pieces of jewelry and colorful wall wreaths made from paper.
But it’s more than just a slogan used to sell handmade goods, it’s a sentiment from Dishong on how the store transformed an old, closed down building in downtown Ely into a vibrant, fresh new business.
“There wasn’t anything really like it in Ely. We wanted something bright, something without taxidermy on the walls,” Dishong said.
Sitting at the edge of downtown Ely, across Aultman Street from the Garnet Mercantile, Plush first opened its doors back in March. In that time, Dishong, and the store’s only other employee Rachel Escamilla, have become known for their chalkboards.
They’ve become so popular, in fact, that the store just began taking special orders for customers who would like to order their own, custom chalkboard and frame. According to Dishong, the chalkboards are just another way to express herself and make home decor more personalized.
“This store is a good creative outlet. We make stuff, our customers make stuff. I’ve been told by a lot of our customers that they just find it peaceful,” the owner said.
When it comes to their customers making things, Dishong and Escamilla want to help teach them how. At the end of July, the two held their first workshop at the store teaching customers how to make mini chalkboards. Due to the high level of interest and participation from their first class, Dishong said the store will make the classes a monthly occurrence.
“We are going to teach a class on how to make some of the paper wreaths that we sell in the store on Aug. 29,” the owner said. The class will cost $20 and run from 6-7:30 p.m.
To Escamilla, the store is more than just the sum of its handcrafted parts however. In her eyes, the store, with its purple walls and aroma of fresh coffee are a sign of the revitalization of downtown Ely.
“This place is so much different than the building it was just a year ago,” Escamilla said. “It started as an image of what downtown has been come to be known for, broken down, sad, dirty and depressing. We’ve taken that and turned it into something beautiful. I think Ely deserves a glimpse back into what the heart of this city is supposed to be, with a place that you know you can go and have a nice visit and go back home in a better mood.”
The store will celebrate its sixth-month anniversary on Sept. 10 with a “Tea Party” themed celebration that will see a refresh in inventory.
For more information on the store’s classes or anniversary, call 775-296-1041 or visit the store’s Facebook page titled Plush Gift Shop.