A new boutique in Old Town Clovis has its roots in an unexpected place: With an artsy young woman in Ohio.
That’s where the owner of newly opened the Urban Umbrella is from. Her boutique selling home decor, handmade items and more opened earlier this month at 519 Fourth St., just west of Pollasky Avenue.
Look for the machine blowing bubbles on the sidewalk at the entrance and inside is owner Amy Cortell, 25.
She has a degree in fashion merchandising and marketing and has been making tables and headboards with the help of her handy grandpa for years. She’s helped friends decorate dorm rooms and apartments and eventually that hobby turned into a business.
Cortell came to the Valley with her husband, Brian, an F-18 pilot based in Lemoore.
She’d post pictures of her creations online or have friends over and people would say, “Oh my gosh, you should sell this,” she says.
So she did.
Through the Urban Umbrella on Instagram, she started selling hand-painted signs that say “Our nest” and wooden blocks with silhouettes of painted farm animals.
After falling in love with Old Town Clovis, she decided to open a shop there.
Cortell is the sole employee at the shop, which features many items she made. She sews, paints, builds and can customize many of the products in the shop. (Her husband helps build big projects like the big display table.)
One product is inspired by her marriage: a love note from her husband enlarged to become a wall hanging. Customers can have notes or letters of their own re-created as wall art in the person’s handwriting. Cortell makes them by projecting the note onto the wall and painting over the handwriting with a paint pen.
She also makes Scrabble tiles that are about 4 inches by 4 inches and can be hung on the wall to spell out words like “home” or customized to spell out family names and other words.
A few of the things for sale at the Urban Umbrella were purchased from large companies, but if they’re not made by Cortell, chances are they are handmade by other women Cortell knows.
Soaps and “bath bombs” for the bathtub are from Hanford-based the Soaking Tub and made by Kalish Morrow, who is running for a spot on Hanford’s city council.
Local artist and Navy wife Emily May also has paintings for sale at the shop.
The Urban Umbrella also offers classes. One will be led by the Propagation Station on Sept. 11, teaching participants to paint a Mason jar to look like a pineapple with succulents planted to look like the top of the fruit.
The store is open Tuesday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Fridays during the Clovis Farmers Market, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and from noon to 4 p.m. Sundays.