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Bristol duo launches tandem clothing shops

 
BRISTOL — Tuesday marked the grand opening of two businesses sharing the same building at 22 Main St. in Bristol: The Enchanted Closet, Cathleen Forand’s resale and consignment store, and Selvage Yard, Julie Clark’s reclamation crafts, custom mending and repairs business.
“It was something that was always in the back of my mind,” Forand said, leaning against the counter on a quick break from her busy opening day at the consignment shop. “It was something that I always heard, just through word on the street, that people really wanted in Bristol.”
Forand and her husband acquired the building three years ago. He is a Bristol native; the couple met in college at Northeastern University in Massachusetts. They moved to Bristol 10 years ago and are raising their three children in the village.
“It seemed like the perfect fit,” Forand said. “It’s a really large space, and a big space is what this kind of store needs. It has great windows, too.”
In the back of the 22 Main St. space is a room that hosts Julie Clark’s Selvage Yard.
For Clark, Selvage Yard has been in the works since she was around 12 years old.
“I always wanted to have a little shop,” said Clark, whose love of fabric started at an early age. She learned how to sew young, on her father’s sewing machine. He was in the army, and repaired uniforms.
“People had to buy their own uniforms,” she said. “So he would make a little extra money fixing them, and they would save a little bit of money not having to buy new ones.”
As a girl, Clark took hand-me-downs from older siblings and cousins and transformed them to fit her own style.
Her passion for crafts and fabrics continued throughout her life. As a student at Sterling College in Craftsbury, Vt., she studied the environment, and believes that in a state where many are concerned with supporting local economies and eating local foods, being conscious about where our clothing comes from is the next step.
“Often, our clothing is made so far away by people who are paid very little, unmentionably little,” Clark said.
She has been operating Selvage Yard out of her Bristol home, and a stand at the Bristol Farmers’ Market, for two years. Her partnership with Forand was a natural expansion.
“I was outgrowing the space,” Clark said.
Sharing their new homes has been easy.
“We’ve become fast friends,” Forand said.
Forand has received positive feedback from the community so far. She hosted a sidewalk sale during the Harvest Festival in September and opened for a couple of days in the first week of November to accept consignments and donations. Now, racks of clothing line the storefront — and Forand still has bags of clothing to sort through.
While Forand knows that the store would have to be profitable in order to keep the doors open, she has also found a way to give back to the community: 10 percent of the proceeds from the Enchanted Closet will be given to an Addison County charity.
From now until January, the donation will go to Have a Heart food shelf. Forand will rotate the charity every three months.
“We want to keep it local,” she said. “We want to do our part. It’s a feel-good thing, and then everybody can feel good about consigning here because they’ll be helping too.”

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