OWENWS-08-01-21 JULEP

Elizabeth Wilson, left, and her mother, Sharon Wilson, are pictured inside the new Julep Home and Gift in the former Excursions location in Wesleyan Park Plaza.

Sharon Wilson and her daughter, Elizabeth Wilson, a dentist at the Center for Cosmetic & General Dentistry, were looking for a business they could do together.

What they came up with was Julep Home and Gift, which they opened in the former Excursions location in Wesleyan Park Plaza on May 5.

Sharon Wilson said, “I’m originally from Campbellsville. My parents had a hardware store on Main Street before the big box stores came in. They sold everything. And my mother had a little gift shop in one corner. That planted the seed for this.”

The store’s name is a nod toward her mother and another daughter, Wilson said.

“My mother was a home economics professor at Campbellsville University,” she said. “Mint julep cups were her favorite gifts to give and it’s a Southern tradition. In 2009, my oldest daughter started an online magazine called Julep that she ran for a couple of years.”

The store is building its clientele of new brides.

Kendall Moore Jagoe was the first bride to use the store’s registry.

And she stayed on to become the first of Julep’s five employees.

Wilson said, “We have a lot of handmade merchandise that is heirloom quality, things that are unique. We want our customers to buy things they can pass down to other family members.”

She said, “We look for companies that are owned by women and Southern-owned companies. And we buy from some European companies.”

Wilson said, “We have a lot of price points. Quality doesn’t have to mean expensive. We want it to be affordable.”

The store offers a wide selection of tableware, some clothing, bed and bath products and more.

“We can do custom orders on sheets, robes and towels,” Wilson said.

China, she says, is meant to be used, not stored.

“Porcelain is more durable than regular dishware,” Wilson said. “We tell customers how to take care of it. You need to use it all the time.”

She said, “We’re hoping brides will become a big part of our business. So far, the community has been very responsive.”

The store gift wraps and delivers

Lots of weddings were postponed in 2020 because of the pandemic.

“More than half of the ones we’ve had so far were postponed,” Wilson said. “Some had a smaller ceremony last year and are having big receptions this year.”

When Studio Slant closed earlier this year, she said, “We aquired some of their lines and social media and we’ve tried to keep their customers.”

The store is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.

“We stay open later for wedding registrations,” Wilson said.

She said she and her daughter are happy with Wesleyan Park Plaza.

“This center is coming back to life,” Wilson said. “There are a lot of young business owners.”

Work is going on inside the former Mark’s Hallmark store next door, preparing it for two tenants.

And rumors persist about a new occupant coming soon to what’s left of the former Kmart space.

Wilson said her employees are “one of the strengths of our store.”

“They’re great,” she said. “They’re all from Owensboro and know so many people.”

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