TROY — Four people have brought two companies together in one storefront on Market Street to bring unique home goods and clothing to Troy.
That two-in-one store is Ark & Echõ.
Kellie Szakal is co-owner of Echõ Boutique. She explained that her co-owner, Sheila Kesling worked at Troy Christian Schools together this past year. Unbeknownst to either one of them, both had a dream of opening a boutique that offered high-quality clothing and accessories that were exclusive, beautiful and trendy.
“We were actually talking to our principal and we both shared it one day that we wanted to open a boutique,” she said. “We had never shared it with each other before and one day we shared it and decided ‘Let’s do it.’”
She explained that Echo’s name came from the verse Hebrew 6:19, and that echo is taken from the Greek word for “hope.”
“Our faith inspires us in that we choose and want clothes that are fun but also modest,” she said.
The fashions are all over the board with a broad appeal to women of all ages and sizes and are meant to be inspirational, to make the wearer feel her best.
Echo has also recently added a kid’s line, Zelma, which is an acronym of their daughters’ names — Emma, Lily and Amelia are Szakal’s daughters, while Zoe and McKenna are Kesling’s daughters.
“It’s going to inspire our girls’ personality,” she said. “You’ll see sporty to sparkles and rhinestones. We’re going to let our kids pick it out.”
On the other side of the store is ArkHOUSE.
Jennifer Smith is the co-owner of ArkHOUSE alongside her husband Kevin. About 10 years ago the Smiths owned a similar small shop in Oakwood, and decided to open a store where they lived in Troy.
“We’re trying to give them (the customers) a broad range of items, a lot of giftware and gifts for your home,” she said. “We have a lot of candles and great gift ideas for others, and some jewelry.”
Smith said they wanted to sell inspirational items that are Christian-based.
“The Ark in ArkHOUSE stands for ‘acts of random kindness.’ So we wanted to build the whole store on more than just selling,” she said.
ArkHOUSE will have a monthly theme for a random act of kindness. If a customer promises and then performs an act of random kindness, Smith will give them a discount in the store.
“So for the month of June, we’re asking everyone to tell someone to have a good day,” she said. “If they do that they get a discount. Every month will have a different theme.”
Ark & Echõ is located at 101 S. Market St. in Troy. Clothing and inventory can be viewed online at www.echoboutique.org.