Sip, Shop and Soak at Étagère
Spend an hour or spend a day at this eclectic Amherst boutique
Tucked along Route 101A in Amherst, Étagère is part coffee shop, part beauty bar and part tea room — a whimsical escape from the mundane day-to-day, and a step into a “Chronicles of Narnia” wardrobe that leads to a place of relaxation and pampering.
Co-owners and mother-daughter duo Joy and Brook Martello opened Étagère in 2020 with the goal of pursuing their own passions and inviting the local community to join them. “Our hope is to not only be a place for our guests to visit but a destination where they can bring their friends and family and get away for a whole day,” says Joy.
In 2014, Joy and Brook began talking about combining their talents — Joy’s baking skills and Brook’s experience in the beauty industry — and opening an eclectic boutique together. “Joy has almost always baked and cooked, and even owned a few of her own bakeries and sandwich shops throughout her life,” says Brook. “All of us kids are grown up now, and we both started thinking that it was time for us to work together and do something fun and new.”
The first idea was a shop where Joy would handle pastries and coffee and Brook would have space for a nail and makeup studio, but it wasn’t long until their idea evolved and finally began to look like the present-day Étagère. “It was time that really allowed our idea to grow,” recalls Brook. “It ended up taking us four years to find a location big enough to fit what we wanted to do.”
One of the reasons they needed a larger location was due to a crucial piece of décor that ended up as the grounding piece that shaped the shop — an old gazebo. “I had been buying and collecting a variety of things for years prior to opening Étagère,” says Joy. “We had all of those items that needed space to be displayed, but we also drove to California together to buy a gazebo that ended up becoming a staple of the boutique. And we needed a place with ceilings to fit it!”
Joy’s “Salvatore Dali brain,” as Brook calls it, can be seen throughout Étagère’s décor, from the gazebo and hanging wheelbarrows to classic school desks used as shelving support for an old barback now repurposed as the café’s order window. Each piece tells its own story, as do all of the antiques for sale scattered around the shop.
“For us, the purpose of selling antiques is to be able to give someone else the opportunity to be as unique with them as we have,” says Joy. “We want people to be comfortable with using the item that they buy, like using a bowl for bobby pins or a plant. I had a woman come in a few weeks ago to purchase a 100-year-old Bavarian bowl to use for a salad for a housewarming party. Now that item can be enjoyed instead of sitting in a cupboard and collecting dust. The idea is to take your time and savor the experience of picking an item that you can use for years to come.”
The beauty bar is eccentric — but effective — way to de-stress, and includes four pedicure chairs, two manicure tables and a group of couches to relax in. “We designed the beauty bar to be an experience just like every other area of the shop,” says Brook. “We wanted to make it so that you could come alone and enjoy any one of our services, or come in with a group of 12 and all of you could be together hanging out in the same room.” Their full-service menu includes a variety of facials, pedicures, manicures, foot soaks and full-body treatments. Whether you and your mom want to treat yourselves to a spa day or host a baby shower, bridal shower or group special events, Brook and Joy love hosting any and all celebrations, especially when they include high tea.
Afternoon high tea was made fashionable in the early 19th century as a way to fill the time between lunch and dinner, and Brook and Joy put their own spin on the tradition.
“We serve eight tables that are scattered throughout the shop once a day at 12 p.m.,” says Joy. “We wanted it to be quaint and intimate, so people are separated from others and can immerse themselves in their own conversation without being interrupted by those around them.”
The seasonal menu changes every eight to 10 weeks, and Joy creates everything from scratch. As of press time, the current menu includes a scone, spring green mix salad with blueberries and bacon, tomato basil with sharp cheddar cheese soup and a variety of entrées like caramelized onion and gorgonzola quiche, curried egg salad sandwiches and a selection of pastries for dessert. The meal is served on elaborate tiered trays, canapé-style, with small bites in shot glasses, and you can plan for 90 minutes from start to finish.
“Our focus is not about turning tables over, it is about giving guests as much time as they want to enjoy time with the people they’re with. The longest someone has stayed was three hours and 40 minutes. We want you to take your time and enjoy your surroundings while you’re here.”
Built from a foundation of family and tradition, Joy and Brook hope that those who visit Étagère will leave feeling more at peace than when they arrived, and perhaps with new memories and traditions all their own.
“We want to capture our local community that’s dropping in for a quick cup of coffee and the group that’s coming from different areas to meet for the day,” says Joy. “Creating a space to relax is our heart behind the shop, and we hope that people will find it as their home away from home as much as it is for us.”
114B Rte. 101A, Amherst