Joan Horton and Joel Levin have scoured the four corners of the earth looking for fine things to sell in their new store.
But when it came to picking a location for the store, they decided there is no place like Madison. They plan to open their new fine goods and lifestyle stores, called Lily Juliet and Lily Juliet, Too, on Memorial Day weekend, at 14 Wall Street, the corner of Wall Street and the Boston Post Road, and 20 Wall Street, right behind 14 Wall Street.
The retail space that has held enterprises as diverse as a real estate company and a bike shop is now home to colorful straw bags and hats, long flowing scarves, dresses, jewelry, and tableware. There is bright green bag designed to hold wet bikinis after a day at the beach.There is a covered serving dish on a pedestal with two bunny ears that serve as the handle on the cover. From adorable to sophisticated, the goods are intriguing, amusing, and available in a wide range of prices, from $10 on up.
Levin, who is a designer, said both he and Horton felt like Madison, which draws shoppers from all over Connecticut, was a natural location for the new store.
"We've been talking about opening a shop for years," he said. "We knew that shoppers in Madison have an appetite, a flair, that we don't always see in other towns. You have the bookstore here, you have a movie theater across the street, so it's a destination."
Madison's sense of community was an attraction as well, he said.
"Madison has a sense of community you don't always find in other towns as well," he said. Levin said Horton, from New York City, has rented a house in Madison, and he says he hopes someday to move here as well, from his current home in West Hartford.
Danielle Andrews, of Madison, works at the store as a sales assistant and was busy earlier this week working with other store employees to ready everything for the opening Memorial Day weekend.
She said the lifestyle store will stock products made by artisans all over the world, many of them made with sustainable and/or renewable materials. Products will including clothing, home accessories, gifts, and there will be a small section dedicated to products made for men.
Andrews said the selection of items available will change from time to time, to reflect what is available, and what seems most popular with Madison shoppers.
Levin said the store will also be a community of designers and a place to tell stories.
"Each designer has a story," he said. "Whether they are from Brooklyn, NY or Italy."