To make a visit to Bleu 32's new location on W. 7th Street is an experience for the senses - a delightful melange of colors, textures and art, from vibrant and rustic to subdued and refined. Here you will find everything from farmhouse furniture, artwork, boutique clothing and jewelry, to upscale interior design pieces, and of course antiques. What's old is new and what is new is old, but all of it works and especially on this grand scale.
Making its grand opening Labor Day weekend, owner Bonnie Esslinger relocated her store from a 1,200 square foot historic cottage on Walker Street, vastly expanding it to include an assortment of goods from 30 vendors in a 7,000 square foot building in the heart of downtown Columbia's historic Square. Formerly Columbia Office Supply, the two-story building boasts its original wood floors, soaring ceilings and a mezzanine level for a full vintage shopping experience.
"I amthrilled to be downtown!" says Bonnie. "The public has already embraced us, and there is an energy in this building that is just wonderful. It's a combination of its history, the architecture and all the beautiful things we have displayed."
While Bonnie has (rightfully) laid claim to the front of the vintage marketplace, the other vendors have set up booths all the way to the back door and right up to very top of the second level. Each of the vendor's space has its own eclectic sense of style and goods -- some are whimsical and vintage style, while others are a bit more reserved and of the Veranda ilk.
Many of the vendors are local, including our own photographer Cara Danae Smith along with her mother who have "Blue Moon Vintage." Some of the vendors are even of national notoriety, such as Jenni Bowlin who travels the country showing and promoting her JBS Mercantile line of vintage goods and crafts.
As Bonnie says: "Our vendors all brought their A-game for me! You just wander from booth to booth enchanted at each one's collection and presentation. There is such a vast mix of styles! We have everything from antiques, to art, to boutique clothing: literally, something for everyone. They all combine to make Bleu 32 a magical place."
All of this adds up to a truly wonderful shopping or just browsing experience that is equivalent taking to step back in time, when things were a little simpler and more wholesome. If you were one of the lucky ones to attend the Friday night Preview Party or last weekend's grand opening of Bleu 32's new location at 108 W. 7th, we know, without a shadow of a doubt, that you will be back ... again and again.
And that also goes for those who haven't yet made their way to the eclectic marketplace.
In fact, I dare venture to predict that people will come from near and far to shop at Bleu 32 Vintage Marketplace. Kudos Bonnie!