Sep/Oct
2012

How Sweet It Is

Written by Janette Dragvold
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how-sweet-it-isOn a crisp autumn day, as the leaves begin to fall, there are few places more pleasant to meander than picturesque Lanesboro. Among its many gems is the Bittersweet Boutique and Antiques, an imaginative, eclectic store whose treasures fill the nooks and crannies of its warm, inviting walls.

Sassy socks and stylish service
Owners Val and Bruce Gilfillan opened Bittersweet in April 2011 because Val has always loved fashion and design and wanted a place where people could have fun, find their own style and buy quality clothing.

“I’ve always been artistic and creative,” Val says. “This shop allows me to do that daily.”

To the Gilfillans their store is a passion, not a job, and they strive to fill it with exceptional, varied items from antique furniture in the back to fun, sophisticated clothing made from natural, high-quality fabrics. Val carries Fair Trade clothing and lines made in the U.S. in various styles and
prices “for those that dare to be different,” she says.

“We encourage our customers to enjoy their shopping experience at Bittersweet: laugh, try on items that are totally out of your comfort level and see how that look makes you feel,” Val says enthusiastically. “If you aren’t comfortable in your clothing selections you will never wear them.”

Among Bittersweet’s collections are playful socks, vintage hats, funky bracelets, classic handbags and jewelry and knits Val makes herself. Val encourages customers to play with different combinations and get a little crazy. If you need assistance putting it all together, Val or one of her dedicated employees (Melanie, Betsy and Jennifer) are there to help.

“We try to offer a personalized service and have made great relationships with customers along the way,” explains Val.

For the antique lover
The antique section in the back of the store is primarily Bruce’s domain and is filled with dressers, trunks, pictures and other exciting finds that flow throughout the store. A quaint vintage bicycle casually propped against the fitting room wall lends an air of whimsical ease to the shop.

Creating an enjoyable and welcoming atmosphere in their store is a must for the Gilfillans and their staff. They want all their customers to be confident, courageous and experience that feel-good factor. It’s a philosophy that must be working because many of their customers are repeat shoppers from the local area as well as those from out of state.

Bittersweet Boutique and Antiques is open seasonally from April first until Christmas Eve, seven days a week at 10 a.m., so next time you are in Lanesboro, stop in and visit with Val and Bruce. Perhaps you will find something uniquely your own to take home in one of Bittersweet’s signature orange bags.