Downtown Marion’s newest boutique features a welcoming environment with a variety of charming, interesting, and stylish home decor items on its shelves.
Spruce and Sparrow, owned by Jenny Lust, is located at 194 W. Center St. next to the Marion Area Convention and Visitors Bureau and across the street from Charleston Place. Spruce and Sparrow is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. The store is closed on Monday.
Lust, who works for Ridgedale Local Schools, said she has dreamed of owning her own business for many years. She has previous experience working in retail and also worked in the banking industry.
“I’ve always talked about opening a business someday. I’ve always wanted to,” she said. “Just anything, really — coffee shop, restaurant. When I really started thinking about doing it, I thought about a bookstore, because I love to read, but I didn’t think that just having a bookstore would be enough. So then I talked to (downtown real estate developer) Luke Henry and he said there was a need for a home decor store in Marion. And I love that also.”
Lust said she consulted with a friend who owns a home decor store in Powell for advice and insight about how to get started and what did worked for her shop.
“She encouraged me to go ahead and do it,” Lust said.
As an avid reader, Lust has incorporated a selection of books into the lineup of merchandise available at Spruce and Sparrow. Customers can also find candles, wall hangings, apparel, jewelry, coffee mugs, and other home decor items.
“Our main focus is the home decor, which is spread throughout the store, but we have a little bit of everything that we love throughout the store,” Lust said. “We have items from a few artists and makers, but most of it is what I buy through wholesale providers. We have signs that I get from a guy in Bellefontaine, so a lot of our stuff is from local people, but then we do have some that is sourced out. I look for Ohio-made items and we also have some things from (neighboring states).”
Lust’s longtime friend Maria Williams is the store manager. Williams also has previous retail experience and formerly worked in the box office at the Palace Theatre in downtown Marion.
“We worked together to come up with ideas for the store. We came up with the name together,” Lust said. “Spruce is for sprucing up your home. And then we needed to add something to it because there’s already lots if ‘spruce‘ stores. We always say, ‘Put a bird on it,’ so we added sparrow. And I like the alliteration. So that’s how we came up with that.”
Lust and Williams met about 15 years ago while attending the MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group at Cornerstone Alliance Church in Marion. They became fast friends and have been close ever since.
“We’ve collaborated on other projects at church and outside of church,” Williams said. “This is just a fun time to have some time to ourselves.”
“We don’t feel like we’re working,” Lust added. “We love coming here and playing store. That’s what we say we’re doing.”
Williams said she and Lust are cultivating a friendly atmosphere at Spruce and Sparrow where everyone can feel comfortable.
“Everyone who comes through the door, it’s like they’re our friends, whether we’ve met them or not,” Williams said. “I like to say I’ve never met a stranger.”
Lust and Williams noted that the customer reaction to Spruce and Sparrow has been very encouraging and exciting.
“We’ve had a really great response. Everyone who has come in has said Marion really needed a store like this,” Lust said. “We’ve had comments about our store hours because we do stay open until (7 p.m.) on weekdays and 12 to 5 on Sundays. We don’t always have a lot of customers, but the ones who come are very glad we’re open. And I think the more people that find out that we are open those hours, maybe more people will come.
“Whenever I would come downtown to shop, everything was closed, so I wanted to be open for those people who work and then want to come shop after work in the evening.”
Lust said she’s happy to see a resurgence of retail and dining in downtown Marion and is glad to help promote it.
“Just being part of this whole downtown being redone and re-energized, it’s been really exciting to be part of that,” Lust said.
Email: [email protected] | Twitter: @AndrewACCarter