DALLAS — When Brooke and Lauren Rakowski set out to fulfill an entrepreneurial goal they had one primary objective — to provide unusual gift merchandise.
Their hunt for inventory resulted in a selection of products that includes WoodWick Candles, Funky Chunky Popcorn and Gourmet Village products to help get their business, Rustique Specialty Gifts, opened.
The new shop opened in late April at 3154 Memorial Hwy. (Route 415) in Dallas.
The Back Mountain business should not be confused with Rustique, a home decorating store located in the United Penn Plaza in Kingston.
Lauren and Brooke said they registered their company name with Pennsylvania Department of State — Bureau of Corporations and Charitable Organizations, and were not notified of any conflicts their name choice.
“It (the Kingston business) never came up when we registered with the state,” Lauren said.
The sisters-in-law worked hard to differentiate their gift shop from others in the region.
They sought out an eclectic selection of merchandise including signs made from reclaimed wood, beer bottle cap and wine cork caddies in a variety of shapes, and beer scented soaps or cupcake-shaped “bath bombs,” which are filled with skin moisturizing oils and release various scents as they dissolve in bath water.
“We have something for everyone,” Brooke said.
Now the women are looking to add some locally made items to add to their sales floor. They are featuring handmade soaps from Hunlock Creek business, Simply Soapurb Soap Company.
“We want to do more with local companies,” Brooke said.
Lauren is open to retail as well as consignment arrangements with local vendors.
Their entrepreneurial endeavor grew out of a dream fueled by Lauren’s previous employment at an area gift shop.
“I always liked gift merchandise,” Lauren said. “But I wanted to provide something different.”
The Sweet Valley native began kicking business ideas around with Brooke, who was living in Connecticut at the time.
“I was previously in the news industry for 12 years,” said Brooke, who is originally from Sweet Valley. “I really wanted to come back to the area.”
The business plan began to come together. Brooke quit her career and moved back. In the spring, the women opened the doors of their shop.
“People don’t realize we are here,” Lauren said. “Many (people) don’t realize the building is now split (between two businesses, Rustique Specialty Gifts and The Fieldhouse, a sporting goods store).”
But now with new signage up along busy Route 415, Brooke said more customers are finding their way in and are surprised at the selection of gift items.
One customer was thrilled to see Gourmet Village products, Brooke said.
“She (the customer) said she could only find them (Gourmet Village) in Canada,” Lauren said.
Reach Eileen Godin at 570-991-6387 or on Twitter @TLNews.