Terese Towey and her husband moved across the country to fulfill her dream of opening a gift shop, officially starting business in September on Bay Street. This new store, Laurel Canyon, is the perfect stop for handcrafted jewelry, candles, soaps, and so much more.
The name Laurel Canyon came from the same canyon Towey drove through everyday in California, and it was a way to take some of home with her. “When we decided to come here, we just gave everything away,” Towey said. “We had bought a house before a few years ago that we kept coming out to visit, and we just fell more and more in love with Savannah. But we still wanted to take a little piece of where we came from. Laurel Canyon is filled with a lot of nature, and it’s just so beautiful.”
After passing up Bluffton and Hilton Head, Towey decided on Savannah for its “intoxicating energy,” and started to shop around for locations. They finally found the perfect location on the last day of their search, an old antique store on the river side of Bay street. “We walked in and at first it was really dark and dingy,” Towey said. “But we saw the light coming through the windows, and we looked at each other, and we just felt it.”
The location has a beautiful view of the river, with the sunlight streaming in during the day as the large tankers pass by the windows, or with the Westin all lit up at night.
Towey spent a couple months refurbishing the space and contacting artists and craftsmen to feature in the shop. The whole process was a great learning experience for Towey, who came from a corporate background and wasn’t sure about the whole process of running this type of store. So she decided the best place to start would be to call the people who made the things that she liked, and hoped that others liked them too.
“I learned a lot from the representatives I was meeting,” said Towey. “They were really so helpful and so nice and really guided me along. It’s kind of scary because you don’t know if it’s going to sell, but I was able to find these women who really guided me, and that was just really lovely.”
Several of the lines featured here are unique collections of jewelry, including artist Kara Michelle from Fairhope Alabama; Wishnest, a great line of nature inspired pieces; Chavez for Charity, whose proceeds go to different charities of choice; and Dogeared, a fine line from Los Angeles.
Laurel Canyon is also a haven for all scent aficionados, with different lines of candles, soaps, sprays, and lotions. Towey gathered great brands both big and small, such as Simple Sugars, Caldrea, Thymes, Archipelago, and Rewined (a company that makes candles from old wine bottles).
For all dog lovers there is also a great line of dog products called Dogs Rock, and a line of products for cat lovers in the works as well!
While Towey wanted to bring some of her native California to the south, as well as offer authentic southern flavor with local artists, she also has several international lines featured in the store. There’s a line of products from Ireland called Inish, whose sprays and lotions are infused with the energy of the sea, as well as a line of stuffed animals called Jellycat, based in London.
Towey seemed to be completely thrilled and at peace in her new store, and it definitely resonates in the atmosphere of the space. “I’m still learning about the South,” Towey said. “We’re just trying to get the word out that we’re not just for tourists, we’re for locals as well. But we’re having fun, and we’re really enjoying every minute of it.”
Located on 202 E Bay St, Savannah, GA 31401
For more information, call (912) 721-7689.