New bizes: Dress shop, art studio open in Calera

CALERA – The South Shelby Chamber of Commerce celebrated the opening of two new downtown Calera businesses with ribbon cuttings on Friday, May 19.

Ribbon cuttings were held for Southern Sequins Dresses and More, at 10874 Alabama 25, and the Art Studio of Calera, at 8265 U.S. 31.

Brittany Wheeler, a Calera resident who owns the dress boutique with her husband Keith, said she’s always had a desire to own her own business. The business opened March 14.

“We kept driving through downtown and seeing empty spaces and I would always say that someone needs to open a store. Then one day I figured, well why don’t I do it.”

Southern Sequins Dresses and More specializes in pageant, prom and homecoming dresses. Wheeler was introduced to the pageant world through her oldest daughter, Dakota, who participated in pageants when she was younger.

“I just love it,” she said. “We just love all things pageant and prom and plus Calera doesn’t have any dress shops,” she said.

Wheeler said her dress prices are lower than most other shops. Her dresses range in price from $75 to $698.

“If I can get dresses at a discount price, I pass those savings on to my customers instead of marking up the price,” she said.

Wheeler said she’s had nothing but positive feedback about opening the store.

“They say how glad they are that we opened because the city needed it,” she said. People are excited to have another option.”

Montevallo resident Alison Baggett opened the Art Studio of Calera on Jan. 7. She said her love of painting and her degree in elementary education combined to create the art studio.

The art studio offers kids and adult art classes, private birthday parties and other types of gatherings. Baggett specializes in watercolor, acrylics and lettering.

This summer she will also be offering a summer camp for elementary age children. The camps will be Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to noon. Classes are $100 per week and multiple child discounts are available. The camps will last from June to July and each week will feature a different theme.

When school starts back in the fall she will also offer after school classes.

“It’s been really good,” Baggett said. “I’m pleasantly surprised at how it’s grown, but it’s not growing at an overwhelming rate.”

As of now Baggett said she has about 24 kids enrolled in classes and 30-50 adults have also taken classes.

For more information about the Art Studio of Calera, go to ArtStudioCalera.com or call 369-2195.

Southern Sequins Dresses and More is open on Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m. and through the week by appointment only at 335-0242. In the fall the boutique will be open six days a week.