Always Welcome

Sara Brown found her own way to bring people together.

The inventory in Sara Brown’s shop doesn’t fit in any one category. She wants customers at Social Bird Boutique to be able to immerse themselves in unexpected sources of joy.

“I think people enjoy coming to a shop where they can find a gift for anyone,” Brown says. “We’re passionate about selling locally made products by small businesses.”

The boutique at 2744 Epworth Road in Newburgh, Indiana, sells an array of jewelry, home goods, graphic tees, denim, snacks, and Newburgh- and Evansville-branded merchandise. Many of the signs and T-shirts have funny or creative phrases.

BIRD IS THE WORD Sara Brown’s goal for Social Bird Boutique is to create a place for shoppers to come together and find the perfect gift. Since
opening in 2020, the Newburgh, Indiana, business has flourished and often holds special events.

Repurposed items display the merchandise. A school locker hangs signs and magnets. A vintage table’s drawers store jewelry, stickers, sunglasses, and hats. Wagon parts double as shelving. A restored panel truck sits out front emblazoned with the Social Bird logo.

Brown’s shop also hosts do-it-yourself workshops and ladies’ nights with local artisans. Social Saturday vendor markets are hosted seasonally with a live local band, comedian, or food trucks.

“I love chatting and getting to know everyone. One of the things that brings me the most joy is when I hear laughter as people are browsing,” Brown says.

Brown did not take a traditional path into retail. In 2016, she worked as a nurse and sold clothing online. Four years later, she opened a gift shop storefront in an old farmhouse adjacent to Ted Brown’s Quality Paint and Body Shop, the family business of her husband, Josh.

Today, her gift boutique employs three people and shows items from more than 20 local makers. Brown enjoys the freedom to pave her own path, and owning Social Bird gives her more flexibility while providing for her family.

“I took it slow to be sure I could be a wife and mother to three kids and run a successful business,” she says. “Since then, we have grown. Being a business owner can be scary, but it’s also so rewarding. I’m learning every day.”

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Maggie Valenti
Maggie Valenti
Maggie Valenti joined Tucker Publishing Group in September 2022 as a staff writer. She graduated from Gettysburg College in 2020 with a bachelors degree in English. A Connecticut native, Maggie has ridden horses for 15 years and has hunt seat competition experience on the East Coast.

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