A black-and-white striped ribbon stretched across the new entrance to Cultivated on Friday morning, the boutique’s door marked by a massive, silver lion’s head knocker, a small crowd outside in the inner hall of the Winchester Exchange building in downtown Westminster.
“This store was not built by one woman alone — it was built by the hands and thoughts and prayers of many people in this community,” Tiombe Paige, the shop’s owner said, at the ceremony celebrating the shop’s new location. “This is everyone’s Cultivated.”
A small boutique offering everything from home decor to designer apparel, Cultivated first opened three years ago near the Boys & Girls Club of Westminster on East Main Street, but quickly outgrew that space.
“We started out in a small location to see if the concept of this store would work, and it did,” Paige said. “Then we were like, ‘We’re outgrowing this space,’ and we ended up here.”
The new, larger space on the first floor of the Winchester Exchange features a wide array of eclectic items, including specialty cocktail mixers, table centerpieces and quirky items like “Really Big Face and Body Wipes.”
“We really source hard to find items in this area,” Paige said. “The idea is you are coming to a place that is ‘cultivated,’ that you see on Instragram.”
“We have everything. I think Tiombe did an excellent job. She is very creative with displaying things and buying things,” Cultivated sales associate Nicky Smelser added. “I think if we had more shops like this in downtown Westminster, we would be more like Bel Air.”
The fact that Cultivated is growing into a new space in Westminster, and not Bel Air or Frederick, is part of what makes the reopening so exciting to Mike McMullin, president of the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce, who was on hand Friday with a giant pair of ceremonial shears for the ribbon-cutting.
“I’ve heard folks say, ‘Boy, this is the sort of store that should be in Fells Point, in Ellicott City,’ ” McMullin said. “Why did she open up here? Because she believes in Main Street. She believes in Westminster. I think it’s huge for a store like this to open up here.”
Paige, too, heard from people who suggested moving Cultivated to Baltimore, or Columbia, where she used to work at Nordstrom.
“I’ve lived here for 30 years, and so I thought, the answer is not to do it somewhere else where it could be popular; the answer is to be the first person to do it here,” she said.
And in doing so, McMullin said, Paige could help other entrepreneurs decide to open up shop in downtown Westminster, all in turn helping existing merchants and businesses.
“Tiombe in and of herself is looked at as such an ambassador for the Main Street area, and I think it’s such a great thing for the business community to have someone open up a shop like this,” he said. “We need more places like this on Main Street to attract people down here.”
Right now, there’s no other place Paige would rather be.
“There are cool people here with good ideas. You’ve got Run Moore. You have Downtown Yoga,” she said. “I’m happy to be part of this wave of people that are like, ‘We’re not going to go anywhere, we’re not going to go to Frederick. We’re going to stay right where where we live and make where we live better.’ ”