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From Sonoma to the CWE: Meet the proprietors of Provisions St. Louis

Nicki's Central West End Guide Services Shop News  Visitor Assembly Provisions St. Louis Debra and Ross Hunter

Debra and Ross Hunter endured the October 2017 wildfires in northern California wine country, so when Thursday’s snowfall caused a snafu in St. Louis it was a mere inconvenience compared to what they have been through. My impression is that nothing would have prevented them from opening the doors on Friday to their new shop, Provisions St. Louis at 228 N. Euclid. When I stopped in for a preview on Wednesday there were still boxes to unpack and shelves to stock with a wide assortment of gift items, apothecary—men’s and women’s skincare and grooming items, scents, personal and home accessories, and art books.

The couple’s former shop in Sonoma County, Provisions 707 (named after the area code), was not destroyed by the wildfires, but business evaporated when the shop’s customer-base was displaced because of them. It was obvious to these seasoned retailers that it would take years to rebuild their business.

Last March, when a former customer invited them to visit Kansas City where she had moved her graphic design business, they decided to add St. Louis to their itinerary. They enjoyed Kansas City but St. Louis won them over. During their short time here they fell in love with the architecture, the parks, an obvious appreciation for the arts, and the people they met.

When their host at a B&B in U. City suggested they go to Brasserie for dinner, they wandered around the neighborhood afterwards. “This is it,” they said to each other. The Central West End was “so European and appealing.” The Hunters added that they really missed living in a city after once living in San Francisco.

They returned to Sonoma, fixed up their house which they sold right away, and returned to St. Louis where they moved into an apartment on Lindell.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Services Shop News  Visitor Assembly Provisions St. Louis Debra and Ross Hunter

When the Hunters learned that the shop space on Euclid where Fauxgerty had been located (between Insomnia Cookies and Lemon Spalon) was available, they snapped it up. (Fauxgerty’s lease was up, and they are now selling their products online.)

Over the years the Hunters have gotten to know the makers of the products they carry, most of whom are based in the U.S. There were boxes everywhere the day I visited so what I’ve photograph is just a small sampling of what is available today. There is a large selection of wooden game sets and trays, as well as handsome Hook & Albert bags, see photo above. Debra remarked that the shelves looked a little “mancentric” Wednesday, but there was still much merchandise to unpack.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Services Shop News  Visitor Assembly Provisions St. Louis Debra and Ross Hunter

Among the wonderful items that caught my eye were the brightly patterned dog coats and cookie jars, above.  Display cases (not photographed) hold Randolph Engineering eyeglasses from Maine, beautiful Il Bussetto leather goods from Italy, Bexor wallets from Texas, and handsome watches from Timex.

A complete list of merchandise (jewelry by A Blonde and her Bag, for instance) can be found on Provisions St. Louis new website, created by CWE-based Visitor Assembly.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Services Shop News  Visitor Assembly Provisions St. Louis Debra and Ross Hunter

Just a few of the really interesting art books you’ll find at Provisions St. Louis.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Services Shop News  Visitor Assembly Provisions St. Louis Debra and Ross Hunter

A section of the store is devoted to men’s skincare and grooming products.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Services Shop News  Visitor Assembly Provisions St. Louis Debra and Ross Hunter

And small-batch organic skin care products for women that are unique to St. Louis.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Services Shop News  Visitor Assembly Provisions St. Louis Debra and Ross Hunter

In an email message the Hunters added: “Our guiding force is that the shop be an inviting place with great ambience involving music, conversations, a mutually shared experience, and great service, which everyone deserves.”

“Everything we carry here has a story,” Ross said. Perhaps the biggest story comes from the proprietors of Provisions St. Louis themselves. Stop in soon and welcome the Hunters to their new city and this wonderful neighborhood.

Provisions St. Louis, 228 N. Euclid is open every day but Monday from 11 to 7ish. “We don’t know anyone here,” Debra said, “so though we will have regular shop hours, we will probably be here most of the time anyway.”

Checking in with Juno Bridal proprietor Claire Ketterer

Nicki's Central West End Guide Shop News Uncategorized  Truville wedding gowns Theia wedding gowns Leanne Marshall Laudae wedding dresses Juno Bridal Claire Ketterer    When I first met Claire Ketterer, the charming, savvy proprietor of Juno Bridal in March 2017, it was opening day and she was comfortably optimistic that her shop would be a hit.  Some might have questioned her decision to locate the business at 4432 Olive Street, several blocks removed from the CWE’s main retail/arts district, but that hasn’t stopped brides-to-be from finding her. As Ketterer laughed and said when I visited again recently, “You’re not going to walk by a bridal salon and say, ‘I think I’ll pop in and buy a wedding dress.’ ”

When Juno Bridal opened, Bowood Farms was the only other retail establishment located east of Walton Ave. on Olive. Then late this summer St. Louis Art Supply opened at 4532 Olive, and Bowood Farms has just opened “Holliday,” located across the street from Cafe Osage and the garden center. The new shop offers an expanded selection of unique goods that customers have come to love.

All signs indicate that Ketterer’s early confidence was well founded and over the last 1 3/4 years the business has grown to be a huge success. Customers find Juno Bridal on the wedding planning website The Knot, on Instagram, by word of mouth—someone’s sister or a friend is a fan, or because Juno Bridal carries a particular designer’s gowns. Coincidentally, Ketterer, a former nurse, has many clients who are nurses at BJC.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Shop News Uncategorized  Truville wedding gowns Theia wedding gowns Leanne Marshall Laudae wedding dresses Juno Bridal Claire Ketterer

Juno Bridal carries what Ketterer describes as unconventional wedding dresses, from boho-inspired styles to more classical selections created by a collection of 10 designers.  Most of the designers are based in the U. S., though one is located in Budapest and two are in Vancouver.  This is trunk show season at Juno Bridal. The website has a description of what a trunk show is and the complete schedule for the next couple of months.

It’s suggested that the search for the perfect wedding dress start about 8 months before the big day. The initial appointment at Juno Bridal lasts about 1 1/2 hours, and after the dress is chosen it takes time for the gown to be fashioned, shipped to the store, and then followed by fittings.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Shop News Uncategorized  Truville wedding gowns Theia wedding gowns Leanne Marshall Laudae wedding dresses Juno Bridal Claire Ketterer

Wedding dresses range from $1,200 up to approximately $3,500.  Ketterer pulled a few of her clients’ favorites, including Laudae’s “Jasmine,” $1,925, the petal dress shown in the opening photograph.

In the photograph above left: Leanne Marshall’s “Gabrielle,” $3,370. Marshall is the winner of Season 5’s Project Runway.

Right: More brides are asking for long-sleeved dresses such as Truville’s “Allanah,” $1,995.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Shop News Uncategorized  Truville wedding gowns Theia wedding gowns Leanne Marshall Laudae wedding dresses Juno Bridal Claire Ketterer

Left: New York-based designer Theia’s “Nima” $2,250, features a gown with a beaded bodice.  Right: There is a variety of traditional wedding veils to choose from at Juno Bridal or,

Nicki's Central West End Guide Shop News Uncategorized  Truville wedding gowns Theia wedding gowns Leanne Marshall Laudae wedding dresses Juno Bridal Claire Ketterer

a selection of rhinestone & ribbon hair vines, which range in price from $150 to $400.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Shop News Uncategorized  Truville wedding gowns Theia wedding gowns Leanne Marshall Laudae wedding dresses Juno Bridal Claire Ketterer

In addition to building her wedding dress business, Ketterer has started tinkering with scents and dabbling in making her own perfumes, $32, and candles, $16, above. She’s given “The Juno Lab” perfumes names such as Good Juju, Fig, Yeah and Love Struck—bride or not, who wouldn’t want a little spritz of that?

The other big news at Juno Bridal is that Claire is engaged.  She and her fiance are living in the neighborhood and “loving it.” The wedding is scheduled for next fall, and the bridal shop proprietor hasn’t yet decided which gown she will wear, there are too many gorgeous possibilities.

Juno Bridal is open Tues., Weds., Fri., & Sat. from 11 to 7, Sun. from 11 to 5. The shop is closed Monday and Thursday. Book appointments online or email claire@junobridal.com.

West End Grill & Pub celebrates 10th anniversary

Nicki's Central West End Guide Food and Drink Shop News  William Roth West End Grill & Pub Neill Costello Henry Arciniega Gaslight Theater Benet Schaefer Actors Studio

Any time I mention The West End Grill & Pub, people have something wonderful to say about it. Whether it’s the outstanding mussels (which I’ve been told patrons insist NEVER be pulled from the menu), or the welcoming atmosphere at the bar, WEGAP has been a favorite neighborhood haunt since it’s debut 10 years ago.

Knowing two of the four owners, CWEnders William Roth and Neill Costello (the other two are Henry Arciniega and Benet Schaeffer), it was not surprising to learn they are celebrating their 10-year anniversary by hosting a Friendsgiving next Wednesday, November 21. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, the event will benefit No Kid Hungry, a national nonprofit campaign working to solve problems of hunger and poverty in the United States and around the world.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Food and Drink Shop News  William Roth West End Grill & Pub Neill Costello Henry Arciniega Gaslight Theater Benet Schaefer Actors Studio

 

WEGAP’s Friendsgiving dinner menu includes roasted butternut squash salad, roasted fresh turkey with mashed potatoes, Brussels sprouts-bacon stuffing, cranberry relish, and pumpkin pie for dessert. The cost is $39 per person ($10 will go to No Kid Hungry).

To reserve your seat at the table, please call 314-531-4607.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Food and Drink Shop News  William Roth West End Grill & Pub Neill Costello Henry Arciniega Gaslight Theater Benet Schaefer Actors Studio

The restaurant is open daily for lunch, dinner, and brunch on Sunday. (View the menu here). When I stopped in for lunch recently, I thoroughly enjoyed the delicious house-smoked trout niçoise salad, $10.95, shown above.

The West End Grill & Pub hosts weekly events including Trivia Night on Mondays from 7:30 to 9, Steak Night on Tuesdays where each week a different cut of beef is offered at a special price, wine specials on Wednesday, and Oyster Night on Thursdays from 4 to 7 at the bar.

The restaurant adjoins the Gaslight Theater which makes it a perfect place to enjoy dinner before an Actors’ Studio or Cabaret performance, and gather at the bar afterwards to raise a glass to the performers you just watched on stage.

Succeeding in the restaurant business is extremely difficult, but it appears West End Grill & Pub has found the secret sauce. Here’s to many more anniversaries.

West End Grill & Pub, 354 N. Boyle, Open Sun. 11 a.m. to midnight, Mon. to Sat., 11 a.m. to 1:30 a.m., (314) 531-1607.