Blooming Bungalow blossoms on Center Street


MOTHER-DAUGHTER DUO Allie (l) and Ellen (r) Walter stand in their new venture: Blooming Bungalow boutique on Center Street in downtown Brandon. As a companion to their Blue Moon clothing boutique across the street, Blooming Bungalow will focus on gifts, housewares, and plants. Allie also plans to offer art classes on the lower level. Photos by Steven Jupiter

BRANDON—The storefront had been inactive for a while.  Right next to what is now The River Pub & Grill on Center Street, it had been at various times Liza Myers’s art gallery, the Vermont Sandwich Shop, and the Pale Horse tattoo and piercing parlor.  And now it’s the Blooming Bungalow, a new gift-and-housewares offering from Ellen and Allie Walter, the mother-and-daughter duo who have run Blue Moon Boutique right across the street for years.

“We were getting really crowded over there,” said Ellen last Friday, the new boutique’s first official day of business.  She was referring to Blue Moon, which had clothing and accessories on the first floor and gifts on the second.  “We were getting so busy and needed more room.  I kept looking over at this place and saw it was available.”  Ellen will continue to run Blue Moon as a clothing and accessories boutique while Allie manages the new venture.

What had been a dark storefront is now bright and airy, filled with charming gifts, housewares, and plants.  In fact, the name—Blooming Bungalow—refers to Allie’s own living spaces, which have always been bursting with botanicals.  An artist herself—some of her pottery is for sale in the boutique—Allie plans to paint a floral-themed mural on the side of building that faces Green Park.

More than that, she’s also planning to turn the basement level, which opens out onto the park, into an art studio where folks can come learn pottery, stained glass, and more.

THE STORE WILL soon have its name in big letters on the front façade and a floral mural, painted by Allie Walter, on the side of the building facing the adjacent park.

“Young people are always looking for something to do in Brandon besides going out to eat,” Allie said.  “This will be a fun way to spend an afternoon or evening.”  Allie plans to offer single-session workshops where people with no experience can come in, learn the basics, and leave with a finished project.  

“I thought it was so cool that Brandon is called ‘the art and soul of Vermont,’” said Allie.  But even with the prominence of the Brandon Artists Guild and the Vermont Folk Art Gallery, “there was nowhere for people to take art classes.”

The studio space is still in progress.  Allie hopes to have it open for classes by late spring or early summer.

A tour of the first-floor boutique reveals a lot of the same sort of charming, eclectic inventory that made Blue Moon a favorite with locals and tourists alike.

“When we had gifts upstairs at Blue Moon, people sometimes didn’t even realize we carried them,” said Allie.

Blue Moon closed for a brief spell last summer, when Allie left to work at a nonprofit and Ellen sampled retirement.  But retail is in their blood and they both found themselves hankering to get back into the store.  So, Ellen re-opened Blue Moon and soon after floated the idea of a new store to Allie, who wasted no time signing on.

Mother and daughter have the kind of rapport that comes not only from spending a lot of time together but from truly understanding what makes each other tick.

“We play off each other well,” said Ellen.

“It feels full circle,” said Allie.  “Crafts are more my passion than clothing, so this feels natural.  And I really missed being part of the community.  I was feeling really removed.”

Ellen smiles and adds, “There’s so much community here.  Brandon really has it going on now.”

The addition of Blooming Bungalow to the Center Street retail lineup—Blue Moon, Carr’s Gifts, the Artists Guild, and Across the Street Antiques—will reinforce Brandon’s growing reputation as a day-trip destination for those looking to shop and dine.

Though the store is open for business already, a “grand opening” event will be held the weekend of April 12 – 14.  In the meantime, come check out the carefully selected goods and welcome Allie back to Center Street.

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