Contributed by VisitKenosha.com
Part of the charm of Downtown Kenosha is its many fun and one-of-a-kind specialty stores, which are literally operated by moms and pops who are following a dream, telling a story, or otherwise sharing a part of themselves. To say Peacetree Originals is no different is actually saying it too is a true Downtown Kenosha original. The shop is owned by former “traveling jewelry girl” Bridgit Rallo, a wife and mother of two young daughters: Cicely and Delany. She grew up collecting stones on Kenosha's Lake Michigan beaches, received an art degree at Kenosha's UW-Parkside, and kept it local by translating her appreciation of stones and art into a storefront.
Peacetree Originals opened in 2001; and is now at its fourth location. Each location has been Downtown; Bridgit jokes she hasn't made it past (west of) Sheridan Road. Now located at 4721 Seventh Avenue, the building was originally a house, built in 1913. At Peacetree Originals, you can find everything from cloth diapers and dream catchers to healing stones and hemp jewelry. Bridgit is quick to point out that while the shop has a bit of a Bohemian and hippie flair with a touch of Grateful Dead and The Beatles, it is not a head shop. Rather, it is a family-friendly shop. So much so, that one or both of her daughters can be found helping the customers.
Jewelry is a big portion of the business - both custom creations and small repair work. She creates jewelry for wedding parties, and does sentimental jobs. As an example, Bridgit can create separate pieces from great grandma's pearls for the seven great-granddaughters. In some instances, customers can choose from a variety of gems and then wait and watch while Bridgit creates the piece. She'll host jewelry-making birthday parties. Also, people can come in at any time and create their own customized bracelet or necklace. Bridgit also points out that she can repair, re-string, change the clasp, and so on for jewelry purchased at home jewelry parties.
Peacetree Originals sells items Bridgit makes, pieces by local artisans, and fair trade items. Bridgit describes fair trade items as being the opposite of factory-made products. Through friends and word-of-mouth, she'll come across items from such places as Africa and South America. She often supports women's co-ops.
Clothing, a large collection of semi-precious stones, aromatherapy/incense items, natural body products including soaps and a custom line of oils, tie-dye scarves, pottery, art, candles handmade by disabled adults in Wisconsin, and much more are offered. There's also an under $20 showcase with stones and jewelry on display in one place. It's recommended for customers to save money and turn something old into something beautiful by bringing in old stained shirts to become a custom tie-dye piece.
Bridgit recently redid her display cases to correspond her stone selection to the seven main chakras, or energy centers in the body. To stay in good health, it's believed the chakras should be in balance. To balance the chakras, some believe in healing stones. Each chakra coordinates with a color, for instance the solar plexus chakra goes with yellow. People wear the stones, or keep them in their pocket. Bridgit says everything in the world, including stones has energy.
HOW PEACETREE ORIGINALS CAME TO BE
Bridgit, who grew up in Kenosha not far from Lake Michigan, ultimately opened her own business because “I wanted to have a job that did not feel like work.” Bridgit came up with the name Peacetree about four years before the storefront opened - she did a sketch of a tree with the peace sign in the middle and decided that would be her logo.
“I grew up right on First Avenue so I spent a lot of time by the lake and I started collecting stones and shells and driftwood at a young age,” she shares. “So this really kind of carries over from my childhood, what I love to do. I like the outdoors a lot so you can see I bring a lot of that into my store.”
She earned an art degree from UW-Parkside, so that combined with her love for rocks influences the store. Before opening a storefront, Bridgit was a “traveling jewelry girl” for a couple of years, selling her jewelry at art fairs.
One of her goals is to make sure customers leave the store feeling better than when they came in. And if they come in already feeling good, she wants them to leave “feeling awesome.” She smiles at everyone, remembers their names, and gives them personal attention. She wants her customers to feel like they are remembered.
Be sure to visit Peacetree Originals - whether for a special gift, a treat for yourself, or just to be smiled at! You'll feel happier!
VisitKenosha.com | March 2015