Debbie Bateman decided to open her small brick-and-mortar retail space, Cherry Blossom Boutique, in March after selling gifts and jewelry for the past five years at the Joppatowne Flea Market.
“It’s a beautiful inside,” says the 57-year-old Bel Air resident of the space that features hardwood floors and light, neutral-hued walls. “It’s a nice place to display your products. Just having a nice space is great.”
Bateman’s boutique on Lee Street in downtown Bel Air occupies 800 square feet on the lower level of the former Pink Silhouette. That business, which is owned by mother-daughter team Susan and Christina Patti, moved across the street and next to B. Fabulous, which they also own.
In the fall, Bateman says, she plans to expand her boutique to the additional 150-square-feet second-floor space above her business. A white staircase in the middle of the store connects the two levels.
“I’ll have more clothes there,” she says.
Bateman sells accessories, handmade jewelry — charm bracelets, necklaces and earrings that she makes — and clothing that includes an array of sundresses, separates and lingerie from designers such as Betsey Johnson and Kate Spade.
“Most of the people like the jewelry,” she says.
Merchandise ranges from $5 to $120 for some dresses, but most of the items average about $15 to $20, she says.
Bateman is most proud of her offerings from Betsey Johnson.
“She’s one of my favorite designers,” she says. “I love her leggings. I wear them every day. They are nice and soft. It’s very good quality. … She’s just fun. I’m kind of a fun person.”
The boutique also offers a small collection of gifts and home goods such as throw blankets and bath towels.
The boutique is a welcome addition to Bel Air, according to Christine McPherson, executive director of the Bel Air Downtown Alliance.
"Creating a vibrant downtown is one of our main goals and in doing so, having the right retail and restaurant mix is very important. Having a strong downtown creates a place for people to want to live, work, and play," she says. “We want to create an inclusive shopping experience for visitors. Having boutiques with different styles and price points creates a shopping experience for everyone to shop in downtown.”