Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Take a left onto Grants Ferry off Lakeland Drive, and tucked in the back of a small plaza, inside a tobacco store, treasures await those who appreciate a bargain, value handmade beauty and cannot stand a 24-hour period without some kind of shopping. I swing open the door, and a bright, smiling face greets me.
Ashu Aggarwal, 41, always knew she wanted to sell beautiful jewelry from all over the world. She came to the United States from India when she was just 16, and after years of raising two sons and a daughter, a brief career in real estate led her to this spot at 671 Grants Ferry Rd., where Ashu and her husband acquired the tobacco store from its previous owner. This was her chance to sell more than just beautiful jewelry.
"Business is good," Aggarwal says of her gorgeous selection of handcrafted goods from India and all across the United States.
Aggarwal's store is stocked with so many unique goods that are unlike anything else around the area; exquisite silk blouses, smocked cotton nightgowns, magnificent hand-decorated table runners, stunning skirts of all kinds, shoes that look more like miniature works of art for your feet, any kind of antique-style jewelry you can imagine and dozens more unique gifts lining tabletops that span the length of the store. A case filled with colorful blown glass sits near the back, and more clothes, shoes and goodies cover one wall.
"My customers are my no. 1 priority," Aggarwal says—and I know that she means it. As I talk with her and scope out the items I'm coming back for on payday, customers come in and out, and Aggarwal seems to know each one as they chitchat about everything from the flu as an explanation for one customer's absence for the past few days, to laughing about one young man's clumsiness with his glass-blown creation he bought at the store last week.
Aside from the refreshing art, culture and friendly conversation, you'll also find that Aggarwal's prices are hard to beat—seriously hard to beat.