February Shop Talk

A guide to retail therapy from Main Street storefronts to backroad boutiques.So What’s NewMake a Date AblazeWhy not go on a date and undress together? Ablaze, apparel for men and women, 115 Water St., is the hot new place for the hip couple to shop. Affordable, higher-end designer threads in classy cosmopolitan-themed boutique. 115 Water St., Exeter(603) 778-1975Selfish AbandonmentPlunge into another world, sip tea and play dress up at the Renaissance Room. Dreamy, romantic one-of-a-kind top designer fashions and accessories make this shop a fantastic girls’ trip destination. Think you had a past life? Or do you secretly wish to wrap yourself in silk and fly off to a lover in Paris? Shop creator Jacquie Perry will guard all your stories, dreams and secrets. 20 Depot St., Peterborough, (603) 924-7935It’s All About You!Revitalize wind-chilled cheeks and aching feet at Lotions and Potions with a large selection of soothing aromatic lotions and creams from this pampering shop. Bring your own wine and nibblies and schedule a night of pedicures and foot massages with friends. 25 N. Main St., Concord, (603) 226-8883Living Color “It’s all about sophisticated and practical,” says owner Renee Hamel, who operates Cottage Designs Furniture, which specializes in slipcover furniture in fabulous bold and colorful fabrics and hardwood furniture. Demand is growing for custom-built entertainment centers from choosy customers who don’t consider flat-screen TVs wall art. 73 Hanover St., Manchester, (603) 668-0700Heard on the StreetLet’s just say the “East Kingston Trio” has a new hit. Friends and biz buddies Cheryl Bourque, Laurel Blackett and Andrea Perrelle have just returned from the New York Accessories Show, where their Oh! Snap designs of reversible and interchangeable bags and belts had many of the buyers salivating. Snap them out at myohsnap.com.Flashy FlowersRoses for Valentine’s Day? Not so fast. Floral designer extraordinaire Morgan Perrone, owner of Valley Flower Company in West Lebanon, doesn’t like roses, especially for V-Day. Perrone and her accomplice Mitchel Lyndes are redefining floral drama with soft elegance, inspirational quirkiness and just plain fun. Valley Flower Company has been in business for three years in the Glen Road Plaza, but recently moved down a few doors to a cozier space.So what’s wrong with roses?”I honestly try to talk people out of a dozen roses. I go for dramatic, off-the-wall designs that are unusual and contemporary.” Perrone, who is known to put black in a bride’s bouquet, mixes colors with textures and uncommon garden goodies. Her shop pops with bursting blooms of contrasting and competing colors and textures. Her loyal following takes her lead. “They love purples and green. The most popular color in our store is green.”Is that a Dartmouth thing?”No, not at all. It is the natural green, chartreuse or flowers that are fresh and fun looking, natural and not dyed – never! There are about 50 different green flowers, such as bells of Ireland, spider mums, hydrangeas and tons more.”So, for Valentine’s Day, what whispers love?”Orchids, they say love. They are exotic and sexy in a weird way.” Tropical flowers are also steamy. “I have some beauties, such as birds of paradise or heart-shaped anthuriums, which are really lovely.”Sounds a bit pricey. No?”Everything is priced per stem, so you could buy one flower for $3 and that can be enough. All bouquets are custom made, so for $20 to $30 dollars, in here, you can really get a bang for the buck.”Note to Martha Stewart: Look out. Morgan Perrone has one up on you and she’s way cooler.Valley Flower Company1 Glen Rd., West Lebanon(603) 298-3370