Walking into Alchemy, a new store located downtown in the 400 block of East Market Street and this week's Friday Find, is like stepping into a different world. The storefront tells you it is a “Marvelous Magical Olde World Emporium”, but even that doesn’t prepare you for the interior. Not only does the place smell delicious, but decorations, potions (well… bath products and drink mixes), books and curiosities reach high into the rooms dramatically tall ceilings. Completing the sensory experience was Gene Wilder’s voice singing “Pure Imagination” from the original Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. In fact Willy Wonka, Albus Dumbledore, The Wicked Witch of the West and Hansel and Gretel all seem like they would be frequent patrons of the store if given the chance.
While I seriously wanted to buy the entire store, I settled on a copy of Neil Gaiman’s The Dangerous Alphabet and a block of caramel from Spokandy, a 100-year-old candy maker from Spokane, Washington. The near life size Kangaroo stuffed animals made a very strong case though, and could be on some kiddos’ Christmas lists this year.
Currently the store is very holiday heavy, so it will be exciting to see how their merchandise transitions in the New Year. But I do think this type of store is something Louisville needs. It fits with the nearby quirky NuLu clientele, yet has the quality to rival other fine home décor stores. Prices range from very affordable to comfortably pricey, making you question whether you should stretch your budget and spend $82 on a replica of the Tales of Beedle the Bard (if you aren’t familiar with this title, you should be).
This Friday Find provided great inspiration for winter themed dinner parties and holiday gift exchanges. I can clearly see a magical forest themed Christmas brunch complete with fantastical woodland animals and boutique brands of syrup. The only downside to the store is parking. Construction on Market Street makes it very easy to miss, and parking is a little tricky. That being said we hope people will buy buy buy; this store is too much of a treasure to loose. Bottom line, while my imagination is thrilled to visit Alchemy again, my wallet is getting nervous!