Shalimar Branches Out
With gifts and fine perfumes
From the February, 2021 issue
Pedestrians or motorists traveling down Main St. can be forgiven if they think they are seeing double.
Yes, there are now two Shalimars, next door to each other. One is the longtime Indian restaurant, and the other is a new gift shop.
In early December, Shalimar owner Samir Patel opened Perfumes & Gifts by Shalimar at 305 S. Main., in a spot that was previously occupied by Oasis, a bubble tea and smoothie shop, and the here-'today-gone-tomorrow coffee shop called BeanBerry Cafe.
Although the two businesses are linked by the Shalimar name, Patel says he is operating them separately. He was inspired to open the shop by the foot traffic that Ann Arbor's restaurants attracted last year, when Main St. was filled with outdoor dining tables, including those at his Indian restaurant.
"When restaurants are busy on Friday and Saturday nights, people are wondering what to do," Patel says. "There really isn't a candle, perfume, or this kind of store in Ann Arbor anymore."
But don't expect a South Asian lineup. The shop focuses on high-end perfumes from European labels including Armani, Creed, Yves Saint Laurent, and Versace, some of which can cost $200 and up.
Another focus is a wide variety of candles, in many shapes, sizes, and scents. Patel says one best seller is a three-wick "cereal bowl" candle at $30 that's topped with colorful confetti to mimic Froot Loops.
Other inexpensive gifts start at $5, and the store features home fragrance items like diffusers and incense, plus an assortment of other items like sunglasses, bath bombs, and whimsical decorations.
Items can be ordered online and picked up at curbside, and the store also will ship nationally.
Patel says he is eager to feature items made by local artists in Ann Arbor, Detroit, and across Michigan. He encourages jewelry and craft makers to contact him through the gift shop's website and set up an appointment.
"The plan is to get unique items into the store," Patel
says. He is not looking to replicate things already sold elsewhere downtown, like those at his neighbor, Ten Thousand Villages, or at Ann Arbor's other gift shops. "I don't want to compete with anybody."
He was pleased with the gift store's initial business. "At Christmastime, we did really great sales. People really appreciated it," he says.
Although things slowed down in January, Patel says he's optimistic for Valentine's Day business and expects more customers as pandemic restrictions loosen and the weather warms up. "I have very good expectations for the store," he says.
Perfumes & Gifts by Shalimar, 305 S. Main, (734) 369-6544. Hours as of Feb. 1: Tues.-Thurs. 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Fri.-Sun. 11 a.m.-9 p.m, Closed Mon. perfumes-gifts-by-shalimar.myshopify.com
[Originally published in February, 2021.]
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