For gifts or home décor that no one else may have even thought of, Southern Unique is the place to shop. The small shop in downtown Eatonton stocks distinct handcrafted or repurposed items of all sizes and shapes. Co-owner Shannon Minche said she is proud of the reasonable prices.
“We try to bring to the table something the big stores do not have,” she said. “So, everything is unique, but the prices are low and they are good little gifts.”
Minche and business partner Marci Day have wanted to open a gift shop for several years. They first met when their children were in the same kindergarten class; but became close friends when their daughters wanted to be in Girl Scouts and there were no troop leaders, “so she and I became troop leaders,” Day said.
“Shannon does a lot of repurposing/restoring furniture and other items, and we prayed really hard and thought a long time before we did it,” she added.
They and their family members spent three months remodeling the building, which was most recently a propane shop, and formerly an eyeglass store.
The facility may be small, but there is no shortage of merchandise. From décor for every room of the house to teacher, baby and pet gifts, each item is unique, just as the business name says. One popular item that quickly sold and Minche has received more requests for is a swinging bed made from pallets.
“One customer didn’t want it to be hanging, so I added a headboard on it for her; I will do anything anybody wants, if I’m able. If they’ll buy it, I’ll make it,” Minche said.
Although not handcrafted or repurposed, other products popular with customers include Aden+Anais baby items, Southern T-shirts, Van & Co. upcycled leather, and Snap jewelry.
“We’ve sold so much of the jewelry,” Day noted. “It makes a great gift because you can keep adding to it.”
When Day wanted to stock the jewelry, Minche disagreed, saying it would never sell.
“And it’s sold like crazy,” Minche said. “We’ve sold out and restocked several times.”
An old fishing reel made into a decorative place to hang photos and notes, tire swings painted any color, candles that are scented like sweet tea or gun powder, beer six-pack gift cards, natural body conditioning products – the choices seem endless.
“And everything is for sale – the shelves, the chandelier, the display tables, even the mirror in the bathroom,” Minche said. “I think it’s hard for that idea to sink in for customers.”
As she spoke, customers Ralph and Tammy Floyd, from Milledgeville, walked into the store for a repeat visit. Ralph said they first came into the store to pick up an item he had purchased on social media, and fell in love with it.
“I loved it and went back and told everybody at work about it,” Tammy said. “I took back their business cards and passed out to everyone. The prices are good, and it’s a very good place to get gifts because you can’t find stuff like this in regular stores.”
The Floyd’s said they had just eaten at Frisk’s restaurant around the corner, because the Southern Unique ladies told them about it.
“We will be back to eat there, and to shop here,” Ralph said, noting his wife liked the Snap bracelets.
Southern Unique is located at 122 W. Marion Street, right across from the main entrance to the Putnam County Courthouse. It is open from noon until 6 p.m. on Wednesday, and 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday.