Brighton resident and brand new downtown storeowner Annette Jacoby said that she decided to leave behind a nursing career when she noticed that all of the small gift stores in downtown Brighton had closed thier doors during the past couple of years.
Jacoby decided a gift store was exactly the kind of store downtown Brighton truly needed — so she decided to open one - and began looking at buildings along Main Street in March.
"I'm still working with people — they're just well people now, which is nice," she said.
Along the way, she asked her longtime friend of 11 years, Cathy Dedakis, to become her partner. Dedakis, who works from home with her company, Here Come the Brides Bridal Show, agreed.
"Annette kept calling and asking my opinion on things, and then one day, she just asked me to do it with her," Dedakis said. "We kept getting the warnings — if you're friends, it can ruin your friendship — but so far, we've had nothing but fun. We love being together — even through the stressful times."
And Sassafrass Gifts was born. The gift store opened Dec. 4 on Main Street, next door to Bar and Grill.
"We wanted it to be a fun name that people would remember and liked to say," Dedakis said about the store's unusual name. "We didn't want it too confusing where they wouldn't remember — and you can't forget Sassafrass."
"We also wanted it to make people wonder what was in here, so they would come inside and check it out," Jacoby added.
Jacoby said they want to focus on gifts that people can buy for all occasions and holidays, including Christmas, Mother's Day, Father's Day, birthdays, baby showers and more.
The store carries handmade ornaments, glasses, handbags, scarves, candles, vintage jewelry and much more.
"We searched high and low for items that we thought were cute and unique — items that you don't find everywhere," Jacoby said.
Jacoby and Dedakis are Brighton residents with children in the Brighton Area School District, so they both said they wouldn't have opened their store anywhere but Brighton.
Jacoby said Sassafrass Gifts has gotten a lot of interest so far.
"Our goal was to open Saturday (Dec. 3), but we weren't quite ready — our charge machine wasn't working, and not all of our items were in the system," Jacoby said. "But people were walking in, wanting to buy things. So we told them we would take cash or check — and they started buying things. It was really exciting."
Sassafrass Gifts is open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m.-6 p.m. For more information, visit the store's Facebook page.