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Brian and Eileen Petri of Springboro and their daughters Bridget and Allie recently opened The Blue Butterfly, a store offering home décor and items of personal comfort, at the former location of Urban Gypsy on Dayton Street. (Photo by Carol Simmons)

Brian and Eileen Petri of Springboro and their daughters Bridget and Allie recently opened The Blue Butterfly, a store offering home décor and items of personal comfort, at the former location of Urban Gypsy on Dayton Street. (Photo by Carol Simmons)

Comfort, self-care at Blue Butterfly

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“Take time to make your soul happy.”

Written in chalk on a small blackboard outside the recently opened Blue Butterfly boutique on Dayton Street, the message captures the new shop’s thematic focus on home décor and personal items that offer self-care or emotional comfort.

Candles, incense and soaps, along with potted plants, framed inspirational sayings, objets d’art and ornamental household accessories are among the merchandise displayed throughout the space nestled between Starflower Natural Foods and Atomic Fox and previously occupied by Urban Gypsy, which is moving down the street to a larger location.

“This is a family effort,” co-owners Eileen and Brian Petri, of Springboro, said of the new enterprise, which opened for business Labor Day weekend. That effort includes contributions by the couple’s two daughters, Bridget, 24, and Allie, 21.

But while the whole family is involved, the dream behind The Blue Butterfly was Eileen’s, who had an interior design business and shop in Springboro from 1996 to 2010 and more recently has, like Brian, worked in sales.

Her friend Brenda Kennedy, proprietor of Urban Gypsy, knew that Eileen missed having a shop, so when Kennedy decided to relocate, she let the Petris know the space would be available.

That was in early June, Brian said. They grabbed the opportunity and spent the summer filling up their garage with the furniture finds that would be the store’s decorative and display pieces.

“I wanted something light and bright,” Eileen said of the furnishings. While the display tables and cabinets are painted white, the walls, flooring and ornamental motifs are blue.

The blue coloring is meant not only to reflect the store’s name, but also to create a calm and soothing ambiance.

The store name has a deeply personal significance for Eileen. 

“My mother passed away this past December, and she visits me as a blue butterfly,” Eileen said. “I thought it was cool to name (the shop) for her.”

As a blue butterfly’s visitation brings her comfort, Eileen wants the shop to offer personal items that provide comfort as well.

“Good, positive things,” she said. “Things that make your heart happy.”

At the same time, the home décor elements reflect Eileen’s background in interior design, she said. They hope the store’s merchandise serves Yellow Springs visitors and residents.

“We came out to Yellow Springs for years,” Eileen said of the family’s attraction to the village. And they’re thrilled to be able to play a part in the community’s life.

Yellow Springs was the only place they wanted to open a shop. “We wouldn’t have done it anywhere else, just for the foot traffic,” Brian said.

And the traffic has been brisk, they said.   “We get a lot of activity from the health food store,” Eileen said. “And the farmers market,” Brian added.

Four-legged visitors are welcome as well. “We’re pet-friendly,” Eileen said. A bowl of dog treats on the counter and a water bowl outside the tree-shaded door attest  to the open invitation.

Currently the store is open Wednesdays and weekends. “It’s a side adventure for us right now,” Eileen said, as the couple continue their sales work — she for a home décor and gift wholesaler and he for a garden and lawn equipment supplier. 

Their daughters, who share an apartment in downtown Dayton, have primary occupations as well. Allie, who staffs the store on Wednesdays, is a registered veterinary technician. “Wednesday is her day off,” Eileen said. Bridget, who recently earned a master’s in clinical mental health counseling, works at an area behavioral health center. She fills in in the shop when her schedule allows. “We’re going to kind of tag-team it,” Eileen said of their schedule at the store.

Their daughters also “help find stuff and give input on all the decisions,” their mother added. And they maintain the store’s Facebook page and Instagram account that highlights the shop’s wares.

A popular item with store patrons this past weekend were handmade bracelets created by a Dayton-based artisan that feature inspirational quotes.

Eileen said that moon-glow necklaces have also been popular.

The couple also pointed out such nature-based products as “bee-line candles,” made from bee’s wax, where some of the proceeds go toward sustaining the bee population; and goat-milk soaps, made by a woman in Kentucky who raises her own goats.

The soap has been so well-received, “I had to reorder after only a week,” Eileen said.

The Petris said they would like eventually to expand their days of operation, perhaps hire an employee and start selling some of their merchandise online.

But for now, “we’re seeing how it goes,” Brian said. 

“We’re taking it one day at a time,” Eileen agreed.

And they’re relishing the adventure.

“People have been so friendly,” Eileen said.

And the couple, who recently celebrated their 29th anniversary, are enjoying their time in the village.

“We get lunch from Tom’s, and we eat dinner Friday nights at the Trail Tavern,” Brian said.  “And we like the Brewery,” he added with a chuckle.

“We’re a good team,” Eileen said.

Contact: csimmons@ysnews.com

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