On a Lark: Store offers unique merchandise
As he entered Larks & Vines on Lorain Road, Fairview Park resident Michael Sweeney was on a mission to buy some decorative pillows for his wife, Nell. He ended up buying several other items, a common occurrence.
“I love it,” Sweeney said, enthusiastically. “This is a great store.”’
Around the new gift shop are locally made items like colorful bowls, cutting boards, coasters, bags and pretty much everything you can imagine.
“Love” is a common word used in describing the store. Carolyn freely uses it when asked.
““I love working here,” she said. “It’s really a pleasure. We get fresh things all the time. Things are always changing. The customers have been great.”
Leslie Choma’s dream store opened in January, but the grand opening will be March 4-5. She wanted to open last June, but various issues delayed the opening.
Larks & Vines is unique to Fairview Park
“I try to source fairtrade, things from women-owned companies and local artisans,” Choma said. “There’s a couple of websites that are kind of clearing houses for small makers and small business stores. They’re kind of the go-between person between small makers and small stores.
“People asked me why I didn’t open this somewhere else,” she said. “A lot of other cities have stores like this. Lakewood, Rocky River have stores like this. I thought that Fairview should have one.”
It’s not a huge location. Locals will recall a shoe repair shop there, while older residents will remember Oswald’s, a place that had rotisserie chickens in the front window.
In fact, Choma wants to find old photos of both businesses and have a wall dedicated to those previous stores’ memories.
The store does have a website (https://larkandvines.com/), but it does not allow internet purchases. That should come in the near future.
Opening a store was Choma’s dream, but it had to wait as she raised her family.
“I couldn’t work those strange retail hours,” Choma said. “Now that my son is a freshman in high school, we decided this had to be the time.”
The most common questions she gets are about the store’s name and where to park.
“Lark is from my initials,” she said. “They are LRC. A lark is the first bird in the morning.” Vines came from two plants in her house, which are now in the store.
“One was from a cutting from my mother and the other was from a cutting from my grandmother,” she said. “That’s the Vine.”
As for where to park? Behind the store at 21964 Lorain or behind the retail businesses to the east.
By Brian Love, Feb. 23, 2022