Monday, October 30, 2017

Civil Alchemy Offers a Little Bit of Everything in Webster Groves

Posted By on Mon, Oct 30, 2017 at 6:46 AM

click to enlarge PHOTO BY LAUREN MILFORD
  • Photo by Lauren Milford
Newly open in Webster Groves, Civil Alchemy (8154 Big Bend Blvd, Webster Groves; 314-801-7577) is the brainchild of Kelley Hall-Barr, and, as she explains, “It’s everything I love.” When she says everything, she means really, everything — from hatchets to flower presses to earrings to the shop’s own small-batch gin.

Civil Alchemy takes up two storefronts on Big Bend Boulevard. The first is a tall, airy space where you'll find clothes, some outdoor gear, books, blankets, bags, jewelry and more. In the smaller, adjoining, cozier space, you’ll find pots, dish towels and other kitchen and bar items, plus a small selection of snacks, craft beers, liqueurs and mixers, among other things.

Hall-Barr is no stranger to retail, having founded K. Hall Designs, a home fragrance and personal care goods store, in 1998. She sold the brand two years ago, and has been brainstorming her next step ever since. (K. Hall Designs is now K. Hall Studios, with two locations in St. Louis — one at 8416 Manchester Road in Brentwood, and the other in Plaza Frontenac.)

click to enlarge Kelley Hall-Barr. - PHOTO BY LAUREN MILFORD
  • Photo by Lauren Milford
  • Kelley Hall-Barr.

While there’s a huge variety of things to shop for at Civil Alchemy, everything in the store has been chosen carefully. Hall-Barr has shipped in linen from Lithuania and offers stamps for DIY printmaking on fabric. She’s tested much of the outdoor gear herself (she recently returned from a fly-fishing trip).

She stocks water bottles from Lifestraw, which donates a year of safe drinking water to one school child in a developing community for every bottle purchased. She ships in Harris tweed from Scotland and handmade pottery from France. There’s even a flower bar, where you can make your own bouquet or pick up a ready-made one for $20.

“It’s everything you need to have a party,” says Hall-Barr, and it's true: You can walk in and grab a shirt and earrings to wear, cocktail accoutrements, craft beer, some cheese and pretzels, and a handcrafted piece of pottery to serve your snacks on.

Local products include Better Life cleaning products, Schlafly beer, Kakao chocolate and the Normal Brand apparel. But for everything in the shop, the common denominator is quality. Civil Alchemy's clothing is meant to be year-round and lasting, not seasonal and trendy. The price points reflect the emphasis; it's not a place for bargains.

Hall-Barr sees Civil Alchemy not just as a store, but as a call to action. The earthy sensibility is paired with a timelessness; these are things you can use or wear forever before they wear out.

Civil Alchemy is open at 8:30 a.m. on weekdays, til 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday and til 9 p.m. on Fridays. Weekend hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Need a morning pick-me-up? The shop serves free coffee in real cups.

Scroll below for more photos.
click to enlarge Civil Alchemy hosts "flower hour" on Friday afternoons, when you can enjoy a cocktail while putting together your own floral arrangement. - PHOTO BY LAUREN MILFORD
  • Photo by Lauren Milford
  • Civil Alchemy hosts "flower hour" on Friday afternoons, when you can enjoy a cocktail while putting together your own floral arrangement.
click to enlarge Hall-Barr designed the space herself. - PHOTO BY LAUREN MILFORD
  • Photo by Lauren Milford
  • Hall-Barr designed the space herself.
click to enlarge PHOTO BY LAUREN MILFORD
  • Photo by Lauren Milford
click to enlarge There's a small craft section in the shop also. - PHOTO BY LAUREN MILFORD
  • Photo by Lauren Milford
  • There's a small craft section in the shop also.
click to enlarge PHOTO BY LAUREN MILFORD
  • Photo by Lauren Milford
click to enlarge You can buy a flight of honey at Civil Alchemy. - PHOTO BY LAUREN MILFORD
  • Photo by Lauren Milford
  • You can buy a flight of honey at Civil Alchemy.
click to enlarge Civil Alchemy has collaborated with Kakao Chocolate on some specialty chocolate bars. - PHOTO BY LAUREN MILFORD
  • Photo by Lauren Milford
  • Civil Alchemy has collaborated with Kakao Chocolate on some specialty chocolate bars.
click to enlarge PHOTO BY LAUREN MILFORD
  • Photo by Lauren Milford
click to enlarge PHOTO BY LAUREN MILFORD
  • Photo by Lauren Milford
click to enlarge PHOTO BY LAUREN MILFORD
  • Photo by Lauren Milford
click to enlarge Civil Alchemy is located on Big Bend in Webster Groves. - PHOTO BY LAUREN MILFORD
  • Photo by Lauren Milford
  • Civil Alchemy is located on Big Bend in Webster Groves.
click to enlarge PHOTO BY LAUREN MILFORD
  • Photo by Lauren Milford



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