Sparta gets 'Charmed'

| 30 Jun 2014 | 04:38

Combining the old and the new, Charm, recently opened a second location in Upper Lake Plaza in Sparta. After several moves to larger quarters in Newton, Charm now also has a home at the opposite end of Newton-Sparta Road in Sparta.

Starting a business
Charm is owned by Kristen Stoll of Stockholm who's marketing, literature and business administration majors in college landed her a job as an insurance broker down in Wayne after graduation. She married and when the kids came along, she became supermom with a capital "S." From taxi driver to extensive volunteer worker to class mom, she did it all for her children until one day she realized they were growing up and some income would be a good thing to help pay for their college tuitions.

Stoll started selling items at fine arts shows and then, in 2006, she was ready to have her go at owning a retail store. When the owner of an antique store, on Spring Street, retired, she saw that as her niche and opened Charm.

"People knew there were antiques at that location," she said. She brought the antiques plus a whole new genre of items to the table. The initial space was 900 square feet, and within a year, Stoll had outgrown it.

A 1,400-square-foot spot was available down the street, so she moved in next to Maxwell & Molly's Closet Pet Boutique.

About two years ago, Stoll's Charm was again becoming too big for its britches, and this time she explored options for expansion in both Newton and Sparta. One of the sites that appealed to her was in Upper Lake Plaza, in Sparta, but though the space would expand her demographic into Sparta and Jefferson, it was too small so she moved to a 2,500-foot-space back down Spring Street closer to the town square.

Her Newton store has always brought her customers from Blairstown, Hardwick, Stillwater, Hope, Andover and of course, Newton, but the idea of expanding that demographic sat in the back of her mind.

Then, the landlord from Upper Lake Plaza approached her with a interesting idea: open a second store.

Stoll was intrigued and decided to give it a try.

Sparta location
Her Sparta store opened in early 2014, and like the Newton location includes antiques, fine furniture, hand-painted furniture and higher end gift lines. She mixes in some Waterford Crystal as well as custom items including pillows, table clothes and signs. Charm also offers faux floral arrangements and bridal and baby sections.

Nora King, of Sparta, manages the new location and said that from the get-go, it was popular.

"Area residents were immediately delighted to discover the store, and were thrilled to have a store like this come to the area," King said.

King said that the towels they carry from Charm's Pamela Cassidy Designs are very popular as are the April Cornell linens and night gowns. The store is brimming with furniture, tea towels, candles, napkins, place mats, lamps, double-upholstered headboards, night stands, chairs, pillows, signs and even items with a Parisian flare.

King said the store's Bridgewater Candle line is very popular as are the custom signs boasting the names of area towns. A unique jewelry line by Joolz Hayworth is available at Charm featuring some bracelets unlike others. One even features maps of different Jersey Shore towns encased in bobble ovals.

Though Stoll doesn't go to people's homes to do interior decorating, she works with customers in both stores to accommodate their tastes and give suggestions. She also does custom painting of kitchen cabinets in people's homes.

"We really try to work with our customers," Stoll said.

In the few months it's been open, the Sparta Charm has brought in a whole new clientele. Stoll said she'd expected customers from Sparta, Jefferson and Lake Hopatcong, but was thrilled to also attract those from Bloomingdale and throughout Morris County.

"I really underestimated the response," she said.

King added, "This store is doing just great and the customers are wonderful."