Sour Apple, sweet results
Dave Perry/The Explorer, Victoria Friel is the new owner of Sour Apple Fabrics and Home Boutique. One of her employees is daughter Taelur, right.

One day, Victoria Friel was looking through fabric bolts at Sour Apple Fabrics when the store's owner, Alicen Shaffer, told her the business was about to close. Alicen's husband had been transferred to Arkansas.

Friel, whose passion is interior design, lamented the impending closure.

"Then buy it," Shaffer responded.

"We laughed," Friel said.

Soon, negotiations began, prices were right, and Victoria Friel bought Sour Apple Fabrics and Home Boutique, in Oro Valley's Steam Pump Village retail development off Oracle Road. The store re-opened last Thursday.

"This is my love," she said after the Northern Pima County Chamber of Commerce ribbon-cutting, and remarks by Mayor Paul Loomis. "This is like a playground to me."

"How exciting it is to see some new ideas come into a shop," Loomis said after a tour. He was pleased the business would continue, and that Friel is doing so "with the ideas you have."

"We're not quite ready, but we don't care," Friel said. "We're open. The coffee's hot, and we're ready to do business." Almost instantly, she was helping her first customers.

Friel is showing the possibilities of home décor throughout the store, including the bathroom, where a piece of fabric on an old chair, a new floor and some bright paint create a sharp look.

"We're trying to create vignettes and ideas for people," she said.

There'll be classes on subjects like tablescaping, accessorizing and gift presentation, along with events to attract people. "We want to make this a community place for everyone," Friel said.

Also planned are a children's area, custom upscale framing with Just Frame It, and a monthly design project to show shoppers, with before and after pictures to illustrate what can be done.

There's also a space for local designers to come in and work. The fabric inventory brings in textiles from Italy, France and Belgium, "from modern and hip to Old World and rustic," according to the store's literature.

Accessories, custom-made lamps and gifts, sewing notions, pillow forms and trims, custom upholstery, drapery, pillow and slip cover services are part of the offerings. Friel will also come to someone's house to help with design ideas.

Friel is working with two employees, sales associate Jane O'Neill and Friel's daughter Taelur, "my computer genius."

Friel even created a batch of her secret-recipe cookies for the big day … sour apple crumbles.

Sour Apple Fabrics and Home Boutique

11015 N. Oracle Road, Suite 111

Steam Pump Village, Oro Valley

9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. Closed Sunday. Classes on Monday.

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