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East End Gifts is new draw in Ellsworth

CJ Young (left) and Kayleen Jakes are opening East End Gifts between their two businesses, Country Fit and Brush Strokes. The gift shop offers items from local vendors. Rebecca Mariscal / RiverTown Multimedia

A new surprise is waiting amid the workout zone and creative space for visitors to the shared Brush Strokes and Country Fit building.

East End Gifts, located between the two businesses in their building at 273 N. Morse St., is operated together by the separate owners, Kayleen Jakes and CJ Young.

The gift shop offers a variety of home decor and homemade items, all from local vendors.

"Multiples bringing different kinds of tastes and price points so we can get a nice wide range of items," Jakes said.

The idea for the shop came together quickly between the two owners after it was first proposed.

"We had space for it," Young said.

Young first opened Country Fit in September 2017, while Jakes came in with Brush Strokes in April of this year. The two have developed a community within their shared walls, and East End Gifts is an expansion on that.

The new gift shop is like a hidden gem, Jakes said, for regular guests who know the place well, and new visitors making the first trip.

Young said the shops provides another reason for people to walk through the door.

The two want the store to be a place to draw in the local community, and with a location next to the Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery, tourists as well.

The building already has a lot to offer between the two businesses. Young's Country Fit features fitness classes and nutrition training, along with a smoothie bar. Jakes' Brush Strokes offers painting parties and art supplies, as well as a gallery with a local artist on display.

Jakes said she is looking forward to having people in the door.

"I'm excited about people's reactions to what actually is in there," Jakes said.

East End Gifts is supplied by 12 vendors, all hailing from within a half hour of the area.

"We wanted local arts and crafts to have a place to sell," Jakes said.

Finding local vendors wasn't difficult, Jakes said. Many came forward wanting to sell in the shop, though Jakes and Young had to limit to avoid overfilling the shop.

"They come out of the woodwork," Jakes said.

Shopping local means supporting local families, the ones seen every day throughout the community, Jakes said.

"You're really supporting your own community by shopping here," she said.

With the new shop, Jakes and Young hope they have provided the community with a new way to shop local.

"Not just us either," Jakes said, speaking of the vendors. "Shop local, all kinds of local."

A grand opening for East End Gifts will be held Friday, Oct. 26 and Saturday, Oct. 27.

Rebecca Mariscal

Rebecca Mariscal joined the Hudson Star Observer as a reporter in 2016. She graduated from the University of St. Thomas with a degree in communication and journalism. 

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