After a year of operating its second location behind Tsunami on South Buchanan Street in Downtown Lafayette, the Silver Suitcase will be moving into the old Teche Gift Shoppe at 501 Jefferson St. later this week.
Owner Crystal Rogers says she had been planning to move the business into its new location since deciding to expand the business Downtown last year. While Rogers says she originally settled on the South Buchanan location she always wanted to have the business in the old Teche Gift Shoppe, which closed late last year.
“I moved because of the location, and I wanted to be here from day one; it’s just been my No. 1 location,” says Rogers. “I’m moving here now because it finally became available. It’s been a little process, but it’s been completely worth the wait.”
The original Silver Suitcase, which offers a range of gifts from Tyler Candles and Bath Bombs to locally crafted jewelry and crawfish pots, was opened by Diane Cardinale at 4409 Ambassador Caffery Parkway in the River Marketplace back in 2003. Rogers says she had been working there for about a year before she and her husband, Joseph, decided to buy the store from Cardinale in 2009. Rogers says Cardinale has been like a mentor to her and is still involved with the business.
“I love my space on Buchanan, but I always saw myself here whenever I had the idea to open up in this area because this is a market I haven’t really been able to get to because I’m all the way [on Ambassador]," Rogers says. "I’ve been able to really meet a whole new slew of customers, and I love it."
Rogers says that she is already getting a warm welcome from her new neighbors and fellow Downtown business owners.
“Just being in this area is completely different than the Ambassador location only because it’s more of a community,” she says. “We’ve just been talking so much with other business owners here, and everyone’s excited and everyone kind of helps everyone else here, so it’s been really cool.”
The Silver Suitcase will also have more space at its new location than both of its previous locations combined, which Rogers says she’ll take advantage of to welcome customers from the Downtown area’s litany of community events including the upcoming ArtWalk on Dec. 12.
“The area is such a really cool connected community with festivals and ArtWalk,” she says. “I love doing ArtWalk.”
Rogers admits that moving the business now is a risk with the current economic downturn in Acadiana, but she remains optimistic.
“Everyone’s kind of struggling with the economy right now, so it’s a risk that I’m taking but I know it’s going to be worth it just with everything that goes on Downtown,” she says. “I’ve been in the Downtown area for a year, so I’ve gotten to know people. I’ve already had people that I recognize walk by, and I go out and talk to them and they’re all excited about me being in this spot. So I think it’s just going to be a really good move for the business.”