Michele Strine opened her new storefront on North Beaver Street on First Friday, June 4, 2010. She painted, decorated, glittered and opened the door to her new retail space called “Shimmer” shortly after Sunrise Soap Company vacated the space. Sunrise Soap Company, owned by Christina Clarke, moved into the former Studio & Art Bar Space which Strine co-owned for seven years in downtown York. Of the move, Michele said “It worked very well for both of us. We were thrilled to be able to maintain our businesses on Beaver Street.”
Strine is a self-taught mosaic artist. She left the field of Social Work over ten years ago to follow her passion for art and creativity and hasn’t looked back. She began selling her craft in York’s Central Market, then joined with a small group of artisans to open The Studio & Art Bar on Philadelphia Street in 2002. She taught workshops in mosaic art, and with her partner Andrea Linebaugh, featured the creations of over 50 regional artisans.
The Studio & Art Bar closed its doors at 29 North Beaver Street on April 24, 2010. Strine says she wanted to stay on Beaver Street and continue to sell handmade art and “Pretty Little Things” as her tagline suggests. “I can’t picture myself in a strip mall or shopping center”, she said, “There’s something about being in the mix here on Beaver Street.”
Strine walked me around her cozy little space and told me about each of the 15 some artists and crafters she features at Shimmer. It’s a sweet space, tastefully adorned in the feminine spirit, with pink glittered walls and the famous image of Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s behind the counter.
As we walked through the space and explored numerous Pretty Little Things, I noticed that many of the pieces in Shimmer bear words; canvases with words, bracelets with words, boxes and plates with words. Strine said that she is drawn to “…happy things; things that leave you feeling better than you were before.” Strine pointed to a statue rendering of a lady by artist Kelly Rae Roberts and read the words to me from top to bottom. “Without the words, she’s just a lady standing there. She’s got something to say.”, said Strine.
Brightly colored little dishes by Karissa Chase, Sassy greeting cards by Allison Strine and earthy pottery by Connie Rae fill the shelves of Shimmer. “I wanted to fill my space with things that make people’s hearts sing. I want to dazzle people when they look in the window.”
Shimmer’s window on Beaver Street is sure to dazzle as Strine has filled it with the most graceful and feminine items including a four- tier mosaic birthday cake, sparkly jewels and a gown fit for a princess.
Strine is at home on Beaver Street in downtown York City. She says she has seen an increase in organization and unity among the merchants on Beaver Street in the past few years. “There’s enthusiasm; everybody here wants to see something good happen and they’re willing to do something to that end.” Strine referenced the Sunday this Spring that volunteers came in to repaint the massive green doors of Central Market. “All of these things together make for significant change and increase the quality of business downtown. It’s going to keep getting better.” said Strine.
Visit Shimmer at 49 North Beaver Street, York, PA
Photos by Matthew F. Davis