Alisa Koken says “Small business has always been near and dear to my heart.” Her grandfather opened W.C. Cole Furniture Company in Cullman, and she began to learn all about business from an early age. As an Army brat, she describes herself as “being from everywhere,” but she graduated from Bob Jones High School in Madison, and her husband, Rip, graduated from Ardmore High. Limestone County is home, and Alisa has goals for Elkmont, which I’ll talk about in a bit. Her shop, Owl Creek Boutique, is right across from Belle Chevre, and she represented the shop at last weekend’s Southern Reinvention/ Running with the Goats at the Creamery.
Alisa has three passions: interior decorating and re-purposing furniture, photography, and real estate. She took the photos for my new head shot for the Publisher’s Point column, and as a result I am a raving fan. She is also going to paint one of my favorite bookcases, and I was impressed by the questions she asked me in order to make sure I got exactly what I want. Her ideas are endless, and in the short time she has been at 18820 Upper Fort Hampton Road in Elkmont, she has assembled a team of 13 vendors and artisans who have their displays throughout the store.
There is a baby room, that has furniture, accessories, nursery décor, and the room will also serve as the photography studio. I can say from experience that the rocking chairs are comfy, and the room is dear and inviting. One vendor crochets baby blankets and booties. Alisa crochets scarves, baby hats, headbands and pacifier clips. There will be baby clothing arriving soon, and like everything else in the store, will have its own personal flair.
While it’s true that these days re-purposing furniture is all the rage, and no one would have ever dreamed that pallet furniture would become the hot item for several years in a row, one of the most unique items in the store is a wine rack made from a pallet. Alisa was interested in having copies of Athens Now on display in the shop, and we brainstormed for awhile as to what would be a clever way to make them eye-catching and readily available to patrons. “I’ll take care of it,” she said, and my hunch is that she will have one of the vendors design something that will be a perfect rack for the paper. If recent history is any indicator, I am sure her idea will be just right.
Regarding furniture, Alisa says, “We will refinish everyone’s stuff.” She has a real knack for finding well made pieces, as well as re-purposing them. For example, a pet bed was made out of a square drawer, with 4 feet on the bottom, and a square pillow for the pooch or pussycat to rest in comfort. A large cable table was stained and used for 2 layers of display space. A bureau was painted a warm chocolate brown, with beige for the accent tones, and then a flock of birds in both colors painted on the front of the drawers. It was charming, and I think in a way Alisa will be sad to see it go.
There is custom made jewelry, featuring one-of-a-kind pieces, and there is also string art in painted frames. One vendor makes handmade cards, one does water colors, and a third paints in acrylics. Another makes body care products, and like the others, the items are all handmade. Alisa will also have a display of essential oils. Alisa’s sister-in-law, Lisa Rives is going to feature women’s clothing. Most of it is going to be ethnic, with the option to have it customized with embroidery.
Alisa told me that she has a vision for the continued revival of downtown Elkmont. Her personal goal is to have official Department of Transportation signs placed on the side of the road on I-65 that mention the unusual shops that can be found in a truly charming town. We talked about the potential that Elkmont has to become the next Sausalito or Monterrey, and Alisa, Rip and their family are planning to be a part of that for many years to come.
Come and explore Owl Creek Boutique, and let Alisa and her vendors help you find just the right gift item, jewelry or furniture for your home. You’ll find that she will make sure you find exactly what you are looking for, and at prices that are more than fair.
Owl Creek Boutique
18820 Upper Fort Hampton Road, Elkmont, AL 35620
Hours: Wed-Fri 10-5, Sat 9-6
Facebook: Owl Creek Boutique
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner