Twelve years ago, when co-owners Missie Alcorn and Lesleigh Drye were trying to name their new gift and home accessories shop in downtown Salisbury, they wanted a name that was chic and French. They certainly didn’t expect to land on the French word for “poodle,” but caniche sounded so good, how could they resist?
Drye, a French major, had come up with a list of words geared more toward “shop” or “gift,” but when Alcorn heard “caniche,” she was sold. “It did have a nice ring to it, and we decided we could make it work,” Drye remembered. “It was fun figuring it out. We adopted the pink poodle as our ‘mascot’ and incorporated it into our logo.” The poodle also shows up on the mural visitors see painted on the exterior brick of the shop, located at the corner of Fisher and South Main streets.
Caniche has become a downtown destination for shoppers looking for an original gift or home item. You’ll find everything from popular jewelry and apparel lines to wedding, graduation and baby gifts. And the inventory doesn’t just cater to women – there are personalized items available for men and ample options for adding to the ambience of a tasteful “man cave.”
Overall, jewelry is one of the store’s top-selling items, especially lines by Kendra Scott, Meghan Browne and Sheila Fajl. Custom items also are among the most requested. Since Caniche offers custom embroidery and vinyl services, personalized items such as purses, glassware and cutting boards are popular choices for birthdays, Mother’s Day, graduations and weddings.
“Monograms come and go in popularity as far as people wanting them on things for themselves, but as a gift, they are always a special touch that makes people feel good about being able to give something personal,” Drye said.
Bath bombs have been one of the surprise hot sellers at the shop. The fragrant orbs come wrapped in colorful tissue paper and tend to fly out of the store almost as fast as they come in. “I wish everything sold like those – we are forever amazed,” Drye said. “I think because I take showers I’m a little surprised, but there are a lot of bath takers, and they love them. We kept expecting sales to cool off, but they never have.”
Through the years, Alcorn and Drye have tweaked their inventory and the look of the store but stayed true to their original vision of Caniche as a place where customers can count on finding just the right gift at just the right price, with outstanding personal service.
“We have said from Day One that we want everyone to feel comfortable here, and I think our customer service is where we go above and beyond. We try to provide gifts that are unique and special enough that people feel good about giving them, while still trying to cover every price point.”
Today’s customers also benefit from a “rejuvenation” in January to update the look and make the shopping experience easier and more fun. “I’ve had people say it reminds them of King Street in Charleston, which to me is the best compliment we could get,” said Drye.
Alcorn and Drye love being part of the Salisbury “gift scene” and consider similar shops partners rather than competitors since customers tend to explore all the shops during their time downtown.
“I think everybody has done a great job of differentiating themselves,” Drye explained. “There is a little bit of crossover, but I think most of us try to limit that if we can. I am so proud of downtown Salisbury. I think it’s just a great little town to walk around in, and we have great restaurants and so much to offer.”
Caniche is located at 200 S. Main St. and is open 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday. For more information, call 704-638-5522.