The Happy Woman is a fun, hip, sophisticated store that caters only to women. While it wouldn’t be out of place in a big city like New York or Chicago, instead it’s situated on Suttons Bay colorful St Josephs Street.
The Happy Woman began in a tiny shed in Pentwater, Michigan, but was moved to Suttons Bay seven years ago.
“We always want to surprise people and have them interact with us,” owner Linda Garshaw explains. “We come up with new ways to display things. It makes people feel excited.”
The atmosphere of The Happy Woman is fun and inviting. The employees are kind, helpful and never pushy.
Garshaw used to work with computers before she decided to open her store. “I was good at what I did but I didn’t enjoy it,” she said. “This is a great way to express creativity. I can be a kid again.”
It’s the place to go if you have the correct chromosomes, as there isn’t a thing in the store for men. But there is plenty to please every woman. They sell cute clothes, candles, perfume, earrings and so much more. Honoring Leelanau County’s wine background, The Happy Woman has also created a fragrance bar with wine glasses spritzed with perfume.
“I’m the buyer, so I like to buy all of my favorite things,” Garshaw says. “I seek out things that are different, funny and inspirational.”
Garshaw picks out artisan, one-of-a-kind goods. She prefers merchandise that is made by women, made in America, or fair trade goods that help women in need in other countries. “We’re the frosting on the cake of life,” claims The Happy Woman’s philosophy. Garshaw and her employees like to make other women feel happy.
The Happy Woman does more than help their customers feel good. They also donate extensively to charities that help women. Garshaw recently sponsored two girls to help them get to Blue Lake Music Camp. They support Safe Haven Ministry and Garshaw recently started life coaching scholarships in honor of her deceased friend Andrea. The life coaches help women take the first steps to changing their lives. The applications can be found online.
I would encourage any woman in the area to drop by The Happy Woman. You’ll find something for yourself, your mother, your sister, or your friends. Say hello to the stores unofficial mascot, a silly mannequin named Suzy Q. If you’re lucky you’ll meet Garshaws’ darling dog Coco.
By Sarah Blodgett, feature writer.