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Eight is enough

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When it comes to surviving in today's chain-store jungle, the small businesses' greatest weapon is solidarity. That's the strength behind San Luis Obispo's newest gift shop, Le Créme, a co-op of eight local jewelers, which just opened this month at 464 Marsh St. adjacent to the San Luis Fish and BBQ.

The eight women hail from all different backgrounds - including a certified gemologist, a Cal Poly veterinary student, and a manicurist - but they all share a common passion for beautiful jewelry. And they were all searching for a place to sell their goods, but none had the resources to open a shop on her own.

Together, however, they can move mountains - or at least a formidable quantity of pearls, shells, glass, and precious and semi-precious stones. The women's diversity is reflected in the great variety of their merchandise, which ranges from very high end to very inexpensive, from the traditional to the eclectic, and all of the very highest quality, said jeweler Leslie Nelson.

Nothing else can make a woman feel as "splashy and blingy" as walking in and finding a beautiful new pair of earrings, co-owner Colleen Weist said.

Because the shop is artist owned and operated, gemologist Janett Lumpkin said, "You can come in on any day and meet one or two of the artists."

And because they are buying direct, customers will always enjoy superior service and incredibly competitive prices. Where else in San Luis Obispo can you find a pair of gorgeous freshwater pearl earrings for $15?

Le Créme's location, slightly off the main drag, also serves to keep overhead low, allowing the women to offer even better prices. And unlike upper Higuera, parking at Le Créme is never a problem, because they have their own parking lot.

Le Créme will be holding a Grand Opening on Saturday, May 28, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Light refreshments will be served, and a portion of the day's proceeds will be donated to the San Luis Obispo Women's Shelter. For more info, call 541-2736.

 

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Staff Writer Jeff Hornaday compiles New Times' Strokes & Plugs. E-mail him at jhornaday@newtimesslo.com. 

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