Clarksville's Positive Images Gallery curates handmade artisan gifts, jewelry

Co-owners Dennis and Deborah LaBonte choose the pieces they sell together.

Co-owners Dennis and Deborah LaBonte choose the pieces they sell together.

Positive Images Gallery Some artists have been working with Positive Images Gallery to sell their work since the store opened 24 years ago.[/caption]

The owners of Positive Images Gallery said they do not want their Clarksville-area store to be known as just a clothing store, jewelry store or a boutique.

“We’re a lifestyle store,” said co-owner Deborah LaBonte, who has owned Positive Images Gallery for 24 years with her husband, Dennis LaBonte.

Featuring a selection of handmade and artisan jewelry, clothing, accessories, gifts, trinkets and home decor, Positive Images Gallery is open seven days a week and includes work from more than 200 artists, some of whom have been working with the LaBontes since they opened the store.

The LaBontes hand-pick each item, traveling to trade shows around the country every year and selecting pieces they find unique, from driftwood bird carvings to gold, silver and stone jewelry.

“I just like to buy what’s beautiful and timeless,” Deborah said. “I’m looking for something that has a different point of view.”

When she and Dennis first opened the store in 1993, she said they did not have a business plan or a target demographic, but they were successful.

“It is hard work to curate a collection like this,” Deborah said, referring to the store’s products.

Today—for many small, independently owned businesses—it is a challenge competing with the online market, she said.

“Small retail is endangered everywhere, including Austin,” Dennis said.

Positive Images Gallery The gallery contains display cases of unique jewelry from more than 60 artists.[/caption]

And although Positive Images Gallery has an active Facebook page, the owners said they prefer to handle each transaction in person.

Dennis said he enjoys having conversations with people who walk through the store’s pink door. He greets each customer with a big smile and a cheerful “How are you doing?” and he said he usually receives a positive response.

“We really tried to make this an environment where people feel good,” Deborah said.


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