Retail Therapy: Boutique brings bit of Paris to Fresno shoppers

The Fresno BeeMarch 1, 2014 

Locally owned Authentique home and garden boutique sells gifts and home decor, its colors changing with the seasons. The store is in the Woodward Village shopping center at First Street and Nees Avenue. Owner Janice Helman. Photo by Bethany Clough

BETHANY CLOUGH — The Fresno Bee

A Fresno home and garden boutique is bringing a little bit of Paris and a lot of color to a northeast Fresno shopping center.

Authentique home and garden boutique has been quietly trucking along on word of mouth since it opened in late September. The shop is at 7751 N. First St., in the same shopping center as Vons.

The store sells gifts and home decor, including candles, little change purses in the shape of cat faces, soaps, live plants and other items to decorate walls and tables.

Right now the store is decked out in spring green — everything from moss-covered baskets to ornate picture frames in a pastel green.

Lots of retailers change out seasonal inventory, but Authentique owner Janice Helman overhauls her entire store.

"In the five months I've been open, I pretty much have transformed the store five times," she says. Next up, pink and green for Easter.

You'll also find the Eiffel Tower on tote bags, and other Paris-influenced items around the store.

"I love it," Helman says of Paris. "I'm a Francophile."

The chipper and chatty store owner may be a familiar face to some Fresnans. Helman and her sister ran French clothing store Alain Manoukian, which became Mimi Rouge in Fig Garden Village in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Some of the "bits and bobs" in the new store came from Helman's trips to Paris. Others came from estate sales or antique shops. Some are new, but vintage-inspired.

A few Fresno artisans also sell their goods at the shop.

Alan Farsakian makes cutting boards out of wine crates that still feature the wineries' names. Lori Davis has a few photographs of flowers for sale. Helman makes beaded necklaces and bracelets. And retired social worker Vicki Halpern makes adjustable rings from buttons and other baubles for $20.

The store carries lots of affordable items — $2 Paris magnets and $15 leather bracelets — in addition to more elaborate and pricier decor. Being in a shopping center that's more affordable than River Park or Fig Garden allows her to offer lower prices, she says.

The store is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays. More details are available at Authentique's Facebook page or www.authentiqueboutique.com.

 

The columnist can be reached at (559) 441-6431, bclough@fresnobee.com or @BethanyClough on Twitter. Read her blog on fresnobeehive.com.

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