By Stephen and Kate
The store’s got a gutsy name. You don’t call your store something that means “to the purpose” unless you’re offering merchandise that’s both opportune and on point. But for 23 years, Apropos (411 Cloverdale Road, 334-265-9100) owner Terri Owen has been doing just that. Her newly expanded store in Old Cloverdale is widely beloved for its eclectic and tastefully curated array of gifts, scents, handbags, jewelry and clothing.
Shopping at Apropos means peeking into the back corners of shelves, looking behind things, finding a beautiful bag next to a basket of soaps perched near a clever child’s toy wrapped in a delicate scarf. It may involve finding just the right necklace draped over a diaphanous lampshade, searching for perfect chunky cocktail ring, or discovering a talented new local designed. It’s a space designed for browsing — you can circle the store several times and never notice the same set of items.
Since February, Apropos has had a brighter, bigger space. Owen annexed the space next door, bringing in more natural light and considerably more room to maneuver, and stripped the floors in the store down to the terracotta tiles underneath. A bigger shop has meant adding more merchandise. While there is more room to wander than there used to be (and try things on – there is a real changing room now, doubling as a storage space for local designers), Apropos still preserves some of the “element of the chase” shopping that has always made it a fun place to look around.
If Apropos is beloved for the quality of its wares, it is positively adored for reasonable prices. This is part of the store’s design. Owen opened the store to sell novelty gifts, jewelry and bags at good prices, and by her own accounting good prices and a relatively stable Montgomery economy have helped the store to weather multiple wars, recessions and stock market downturns. The quality of her merchandise has probably helped Apropos to thrive even in tough times. Owen stocks boutique brands like Elizabeth W, Shelley Kyle and Pré de Provence next to jewelry by Montgomery artists like Elizabeth Adams and the mother-daughter team behind Dixie Dangles.
“Montgomery has an unusually large number of talented artists, architects and designers,” says Owen, who says her store benefits tremendously from local talent. Every two months, Apropos showcases a different designer (usually an Alabamian) in a special display case. The current display features jewelry by Marie E. Majerick, whose unusual necklaces weave vintage pieces into newer materials with a sense of whimsy. I’ve never seen an octopus (or is it an anemone?) look so elegant before.
Kate and Stephen are Midtown residents with a dog, a cat, a garden, an old house and a sense of adventure. They write about life in Midtown here and about life in Montgomery at their blog Lost in Montgomery.