WATERTOWN >> Sunlight streams into The Plaid Poppy, located at 705 Main Street, on a mid-autumn afternoon, warming the interior of the shop and illuminating the many and varied items placed about the gift boutique.
Owner Lisa Correa is chatting with her mom, Geneva Correa, near the checkout counter. Lisa offers a visitor a cup of tea, the friendly norm when you visit the shop, and then sits on the arm rest of a comfortable sofa, a smile on her face.
“We are all about welcoming our customers and friends and creating a relaxed, warm atmosphere,” says the owner, who moved The Plaid Poppy to its present location about a year and a half ago after operating a bit more towards the Oakville section of town for five-and-a-half years.
Indeed, Correa’s shop, which contains myriad items ranging from a section for items for babies and infants to period furniture “and everything in between,”, grabs visitors in an eclectic embrace, the various offerings arranged so as to interest and delight the eye and invite you to stay awhile.
“We came up with the name because I love plaid. It is such a classic pattern, and the poppy is a fun flower,” says Correa, who is also assisted by her sister Gina Correa-Ash, a cardiologist, and her father, Pete Correa, who does odd jobs around the shop. ”It really is a family enterprise,” says the owner with a smile. “My mom handles a lot of the book keeping end of the business. She’s good at it. We don’t butt heads like some families do, even though we have our own opinions on things. It’s so wonderful to work with my family. I love what I do.”
Lisa Correa has had a long career in retail. She began with the former Howland Hughes department store in Waterbury and then worked for Pottery One in Waterbury for 20 years. After the latter store closed, she decided to finally live out her dream, venture out on her own, and open a shop.
“It’s something that I always wanted to do, have my own store. We acquired a nice following at the first store and my customers followed me here. This is such a nicer location. We get a lot of foot traffic and there is a genuine synergy between the various stores in this section of town, which helps business. The building we are in (replete with an original tin ceiling and molding) is around 100-years-old and that lends to the classic, cozy atmosphere of the space.”
The Plaid Poppy bills itself as a shop where one can find unique home accessories and gifts. Correa offers free gift wrapping year round and prides herself on constantly changing up her inventory and the shop’s look to keep it fresh and keep customers interested and coming back.
“We always like to change the store, bringing in new items and arranging them in fun ways,” said Correa, who lives in Morris. “I’m always on the lookout for items that my customers might find interesting and that we personally like. Some of my loyal customers have moved away but they still order from me and I’ll gladly ship them what they buy.” Correa says her shop draws customers from Waterbury, Watertown and surrounding communities, while also luring in tourists who visit town during the warm weather.
Prices at The Plaid Poppy are more than reasonable and you can spend anywhere from five or six dollars on cocktail napkins to several hundred dollars for a piece of furniture. Some antiques are tastefully mixed in with the wide assortment of items.
“We recently introduced clothing to our shop,” says Correa. “I deal with hundreds of vendors. For instance, we have tea from Harney & Sons, candles, ornaments, and even locally-made cookies. We offer everyone who comes in a cup of tea and ask them to sit and relax. It’s not just about selling stuff. I want my customers to feel like they are in my home. This is a great spot. There are about two dozen small stores in this section of Main Street, such as a bridal boutique and a popular deli next door. Someone may leave the bridal boutique and come in here looking for special gifts for the wedding party and the reception.”
If someone is searching for a special item and she doesn’t have it in the shop, Correa will find it for them.
Says the owner, “People can follow me and the shop on Facebook, and social media has worked well for us. It’s a nice way to keep in touch with your customers and let them know what’s in the store.”
The busiest times of the year usually center around the holidays and summer and the Correas were busy getting prepared for the Christmas season.
“This is our busiest time of the year and an exciting time for us,” says the Correa. “This is a perfect shop for people to find something unusual to give as a Christmas gift and they don’t have to spend a ton of money to do so. We are open seven days a week during December and it’s an especially fun and hectic time of the year.”
The Plaid Poppy will be open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday and Monday from 10 a.m to 4 p.m. during the month of December. After Jan. 1, the hours will revert back to Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., closed Sundays.
The Plaid Poppy maintains a Facebook page on which individuals can peruse items for sale and access contact information.