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.”