Owner Christopher Randall and his partner Michael Meyer run Chuck and Alice, a home décor boutique located at 136 S. 6th St. It opened on Aug. 22 and carries décor and gift items. ALIYA HALL/THE CHRONICLE
SPRINGFIELD – Throughout the home décor boutique, tokens from the shop’s namesake are hung on the walls: Canvas photographs of the couple, Chuck and Alice; a woven deer tapestry that hung in their living room; a photo of Chuck playing guitar barefoot in the snow.
These are just a few of the pieces that Christopher Randall included from his grandparents, for whom he named his shop. Located at 136 S. 6th St., Chuck and Alice opened its doors on Aug. 22 and sells unique, fun and different décor items.
”I describe it as kitsch with just adorable things that you probably want but don’t need,” Randall said in a Facebook post.
Randall has a history in retail. He has run and opened multiple stores and big box companies over the years, but when he moved back to his hometown of Springfield he told his partner, Michael Meyer, ”Let’s open up a boutique.”
”It’s all I know,” he explained. ”Some of it was because my mom was sick and going through chemo; I thought she would sit with me and hang out with me, which would be perfect, but she passed away two months ago. She couldn’t be part of this, but we’re still doing this and I love it.”
The majority of what Randall finds is from trade shows; however, going forward he wants to get more local vendors to contribute to the shop’s eclectic nature.
”It’s stuff that I would put in my house – and half of the stuff is probably in my house,” he said. ”It’s a take on all my favorite Portland stores I’d go to. Now you don’t have to go to Portland because we have one of those stores right here.”
Meyers said one of the biggest misconceptions customers will have is that the store is an antiques shop, and it isn’t. Although there are antique fixtures, Randall said those aren’t for sale and are meant to hold the new merchandise.
”I wanted to make it interesting,” he added. ”What you buy yourself here you won’t find it at other stores.”
Some of Randall’s favorite items are the ”heads will roll” bracelet that is fastened from a bike tire and Barbie head – yes, the Barbie body is included, as well as tiny skeleton figurines in various yoga poses. Chuck and Alice has its Halloween and holiday décor already available, as well as an Americana and summer camping-style section.
The shop also sells jewelry and cards that were crafted by African and South American survivors of human sex trafficking and genocide.
”People that come in love it,” Randall said. ”A lot of local businesses have been very supportive. They give advice and invite me to meetings, and the Chamber of Commerce has been great.”
Down the line, Randall said he plans to offer small events in the shop that would include food and wine, as well as a store discount. He wants to give back to the community and potentially hire high school students to work a few hours.
He added that the shop has been one way of meeting his neighbors. They live six blocks away from the shop and he said that he loves meeting all the people who have come in.
”I love talking to all these people. I try not to bother them too much, but I can’t help it – I love them,” he said. ”If there’s music on, I turn it up or put on a record based off what I think people would like. We listen to records and have a great time; and if people show up, that’s better; and if they buy something, that’s the best.”
Both Randall and Meyer are happy to be back in Springfield, and Randall said he loves having a tribute to his grandparents. He said that Alice taught him how to sew pillows and quilts, and at her wake, he gave family members pillows he had made from her unfinished sewing projects; he also plans on selling his homemade pillows at the store.
”The family has all supported me and this venture,” he said. ”It’s all about the family.”
One last tribune to Alice that he was sure to include is a tiny green snake hidden in the logo on the business card and store signs. He said whenever Alice would embroider shirts, she would always hide a little green snake for the children to find.
”I didn’t realize it as a kid, but she was truly an artist in her sewing and quilt making,” he said. ”(The green snake) is another tribute to Grandma.”