I love to travel. I love the adventure of discovering new places and meeting new people. If I had to choose my favorite part of the entire experience it would be keeping it local. When my husband and I travel we seek out locally owned businesses. We stay, eat and shop local.
It doesn’t take long to figure out you have met someone who is following the desires of their heart. All you have to do is ask a simple question about their business. Their eyes light up and they almost bubble over with enthusiasm over the simplest request. I understand that big box companies serve a need in communities…but small businesses draw communities together and they are what make America great!
On a recent trip through the Ozarks we stopped in Hot Springs, Arkansas. The weather was perfect for a little pedestrian activity. Hot Springs is known for their…well, Hot Springs! In the early 1900’s a beautiful row of stone bath houses were constructed. The remaining structures are now part of a National Historic Landmark District and represent the grandest bath houses in North America.
After walking through the bath houses we decided to do a little local shopping. Directly across the street from bathhouse row I discovered the perfectly placed Bathhouse Soapery & Caldarium. The place was buzzing with activity. I was about to get my shopping therapy on….
As I meandered around the displays touching and smelling all of the soaps and lotions I eavesdropped on a few conversations…now before you go judging me…it was only so I could get a feel for how people felt about the product.
I discovered most of the patrons were regulars…although this business is strategically located to capture the tourist dollar, most of the people in the store on this busy Saturday were repeat customers.
At first I was drawn in by the simple window display and the activity going on inside. The soft color palette of the walls, the chandeliers and fixtures were visually appealing. The depth of the color of the soaps and scrubs reminded me of the display case at my favorite Gelato shop. Finally, the girls working in the store were genuinely friendly and exceedingly helpful.
Needless to say, my shopping experience was memorable. I selected a half-dozen luxurious handmade soaps; cloud, Moroccan vanilla, peppermint rosemary, honey almond and vanilla oatmeal. They were individually wrapped in pretty paper and hand labeled. I created my own blend of scrubs, dripping pear and Cleopatra. They were mixed and packed in sweet little jars and labeled. I love that each item was labeled so I can re-order my favorites. Maybe even join the soap of the month club…well I don’t think they have one but I could start my own.
Soon, I will plan my own personal spa day, complete with luxurious soaps, scrubs, scented candles, a cup of tea and a terry bathrobe. All purchased on my travels across America, made by true artisans, sold in locally owned shops.