Shop abroad – in Summit County
In a sense, Anita Halpern wants to be your personal shopper.
Halpern, along with her husband, Russ, own the new store French Kiss on Main Street in Breckenridge, which sells linens, housewares and accessories from around the world.
“The way I would describe it is if you had a personal shopper that you didn’t have to hire, that would be me,” Halpern said.
There are bed linens from France depicting gondolas and skiers, hats made from a woman in Turkey, luxurious-looking robes and pajamas, hand-poured beeswax candles (shaped in vintage and antique bottles) and artwork painted on salvaged window panes, done by a Colorado artist.
“We try to have neat, special things,” Halpern said.
The Halperns moved to Summit County from Florida two years ago with their daughters, Elana and Zoe, although “we talked about it for 25 years,” Halpern said. She and Russ used to ski here, and later on began bringing the girls.
The store wasn’t something that was on the forefront of their minds at first – although, Halpern’s mother had a nautical-themed store when Halpern was a child, which “was a lot of fun” – but something that was inspired by a December visit with friends.
“My girlfriend had all this new, cute stuff in the house,” Halpern said. The friend said she got everything from a store in Paris, which she also mentioned stocked linens with gondolas and skiers.
“The next thing we know I’m on the phone with the exporter,” Halpern laughed.
Other wares the family stocks includes books, fun T-shirts – one depicting King Kong atop the Eiffel Tower, wearing a beret and swatting away aircraft with a baguette – jewelry cuffs with Paris, London or New York metro maps; and items meant to make last-minute entertaining a breeze, like sophisticated-looking paper plates. If you’re prone to forgetting your cheese knife, Halpern sells a necklace with one hidden inside an attached charm.
“That’s the sort of stuff we’re shooting for: fun,” she said.
In the five weeks the store has been open, the Halperns say they’ve gotten a great reception from the community. A recent ribbon cutting was a mob scene and “turned into a party,” Russ Halpern said.
And so far, Anita – who is at the store the most, along with the family’s dog, Bear – said the store is nothing but fun.
“I keep thinking that one day, I’m going to view this as work,” she said.
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