A Pear Appears On Monroe Center

April 11, 2005
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GRAND RAPIDS — For much of her life, Olivia Karlis has traveled the United States extensively. But when she returned here from living in Philadelphia, she decided it was time to start a business.

So less than two weeks ago, Karlis opened the doors to A Pear, a new women's shoe store located in the renovated Peck Building at 40 Monroe Center.

"When we moved back here, we saw there was a need for more shopping, more unique boutiques, that kind of out-of-the-box style. And since I couldn't find anywhere for me to shop at, I decided to open up a shoe store," said Karlis, with a chuckle.

For her, it always was a shoe store, as Karlis said she never considered doing any other type of retail. And she never considered any other location for her shop than downtown.

"Our favorite restaurants are downtown. They all have that unique style that you don't find on 28th Street or anywhere else. And I wanted to be part of the downtown scene," said Karlis.

"Grand Rapids has so much potential. We need to see more retail down here, so I just decided to jump in and do it."

Karlis has stocked her shelves with quality lines she said were relatively new to the city, brand names such as Royal Elastics, Charles by Charles David, Irregular Choice, Miss Sixty, Fornarina and Faryl Robin.

"They're unusual, for women who don't want to look like every other woman, who want a little something different," she said.

"These are my beginning brands. I'll be expanding as I go because I'm always looking for new and exciting styles."

Karlis said an average pair of shoes at A Pear sells for around $90.

A Pear is open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, until 8 p.m. on Thursday, and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.

As for the name of the store, Karlis said A Pear is a play on words. Shoes come in a pair, so selling shoes in A Pear seemed to fit.

"It was one of those things that come to you in the shower, from the creative process of thinking about things that go along with shoes. And I thought of a pair of shoes."    

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