The following article was reported through a collaboration between the New Haven Independent and the Multimedia Journalism class at Southern Connecticut State University. The students are profiling small businesses around the New Haven area.
Charlotte Block walked into WAVE on Chapel Street downtown the other day with her friend Barbara.
“Did I buy this necklace here?” Block immediately asked the sales people.
Jessica French walked up and said she recognized the style, then asked if Block paid in credit. WAVE keeps an archive of all credit transactions, so within a few minutes, French was able to give her an answer.
“Charlotte Block, necklace transaction, 2006,” said French.
For more than 10 years, Block has visited New Haven from Newington with her friend Barbara of Trumbull twice a year for each other’s birthdays. The friends typically start at Ann Taylor on Chapel and stop in each boutique that catch their eye until they make their way to the Yale Bookstore. Block said the route takes about two hours.
Both women were good friends in high school and reconnected about 20 years ago. They shopped in April for Block’s birthday. For Block’s birthday in 2006, she said, she remembered seeing the necklace in the display case.
“It was a birthday present to myself,” said Block. “It was just something I took one look at and it was like: ‘Charlotte, please buy me.’”
In 1985, Phyllis Satin opened up WAVE: A Gallery in New Haven on College Street before it relocated to its current spot on Chapel Street, just down the road from the Yale University Art Gallery.
WAVE sells all kinds of collector’s items and gifts for a wide range of customers and price ranges. The store is mainly focused on its selection of artisan as well as low-end jewelry, but it also sells greeting cards, chocolates, housewares, décor, soaps, silverware, and various other knacks for any occasion. Even the mirrors hanging all around the store can be purchased.
WAVE’s customers reflect the shop’s colorful character.
The boutique sells well-known jewelry brands like Pandora and Alex and Ani. Alex and Ani, a popular brand for stacking bracelets, recently left its independent location on York Street to sell its collection exclusively downtown at WAVE, attracting different and new customers to the shop.
Other artists and brands selling work at WAVE include Silver Seasons, Lenny & Eva, Bong Sang Cho, and So Young Park.
Each customer comes to WAVE for a different end product, but the common ground between them is the desire to walk away with unique product, whether it be for themselves, their homes, or their loved ones.
“There’s something in here for everyone,” said salesperson Jessica French. “We range from 80-cent chocolates to a necklace for $3,000.”
Katy Lynch came to WAVE to get herself a new pair of Pandora earrings. She usually stops by to check out their clearance, which she says always has a good selection. WAVE has always sold Pandora, but this is Lynch’s first purchase from the brand.
Damon Loftis, of Branford, came to WAVE to find a gift for his partner. He purchased a bracelet from the brand UNO de 50, which is a higher-end label. Most of their jewelry pieces retail over $100, according to their website. Lotfis was recommended by an associate at TD Bank.
Bonnie Garnish came to WAVE to fix a high-end necklace she got for her daughter. Garnish said she is a “long-time buyer” at WAVE.
Christina Fortier, of Naugatuck, came to New Haven to get lunch with her daughter who is a student at Albertus Magnus College. After getting lunch, they both decided to shop around the Shops at Yale. They stopped in WAVE to update their collection of Alex and Ani bracelets.