Longtime Gift Shop Moves From Ellington to Broad Brook

EAST WINDSOR, CT — After more than five decades in business, including the past 20 years in its founder’s historic Ellington home, the Scandinavian Gift Shop has moved to a newly renovated location at 149 Rockville Road in Broad Brook. The shop is on the corner of East Road, just west of the Ellington town line, in buildings formerly owned by the East Road Garden Shop and Juknis Farms.

The new locale is a labor of love for newlyweds Olivia and Drake Smith, who recently renovated the buildings with help from family and friends. It also keeps the business in Olivia Smith’s family; it was founded 56 years ago by her grandmother, Siv Harvey.

“It’s a dream fulfilled,” Smith said about taking the reins from Harvey, whom she referred to as her Mör Mör, Swedish for grandmother.

Well known for its inviting atmosphere and friendly conversation, Harvey opened the doors to the original store in the Ellington Center Plaza in 1964 after emigrating to the U.S. from Sweden. She operated there until 1995, when she moved the store to her historic home at 99 Maple Street, across from the town green.

“It’s heartwarming to see the shop continue in the hands of my granddaughter,” Harvey said. “I couldn’t be more proud.”

For the foreseeable future, Harvey plans to continue working alongside her granddaughter in the new storefront.

“I’ve always been inspired by Mör Mör and by my Swedish heritage,” Smith said. “I feel honored to carry on our family and cultural traditions.”

The Smiths bought the property in late December, and have worked since then to completely overhaul the buildings. The new location resembles a small Scandinavian village with quaint white framed structures, signature red and blue doors and gleaming hardwood floors.

Inside the shop, shelves are filled from top to bottom with everything from imported Orrefors Crystal, candles and holiday decorations to assorted sundries including cheese, soda, meat and candy. Norwegian, Danish, Finnish and Swedish handcrafted products add considerable charm and character.

Whole Harmony Tea Cottage, a latte-tea bar with to-go items and wellness products, rounds out the village, along with a specialty greenhouse operated by Floral Accents by Bonnie from Glastonbury.

Harvey joined the Smiths in celebrating the grand opening of the new location last weekend, accompanied by several local dignitaries.

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Broad Noses & The Politics Of Black Beauty

In the past few decades there have been some interesting attitude shifts towards the Black woman’s aesthetic and what mainstream fashion and beauty industries deem desirable. Big hips, thighs and bums have become aspirational attributes. Getting lip filler for a fuller pout is now so casual that you can have the procedure done during your lunch break. Even hairstyles like braids and dreadlocks are being appropriated by white women. Then there’s ‘blackfishing‘, where non-Black women style their hair and apply their makeup in a way that imitates the biracial or racially ambiguous woman’s aesthetic.

Whether or not you care to admit it, the fashion and beauty industries are systemically anti-Black women. This is why it took until 2015 for a Black woman (who just so happened to be Rihanna) to front a Dior campaign for the first time in the brand’s then 69-year history. That same year, Jourdan Dunn became only the second Black woman to land a solo British Vogue cover in more than a decade. And in 2018, million-dollar company Tarte Cosmetics saw no problem with releasing a foundation range with only three out of 15 shades suitable for medium to deep skin tones. The examples are endless and, frankly, it’s getting boring.

While some Black women’s features have slowly been assimilated by the masses and accepted on runways and billboards, our noses apparently still aren’t palatable enough.

But while some Black features have slowly been accepted on runways and billboards, it seems our noses still aren’t palatable enough. Watch any YouTube makeup tutorial and you can bet that there will be a portion of the video dedicated to the obligatory nose contour, regardless of the person’s ethnicity. Look at any photo of a high-profile celebrity and it’s more likely than not that their makeup artist will have practised the ‘nose slimming’ technique.

Broad noses, particularly Black women’s noses, have long been considered unattractive – even masculine. In 2011, evolutionary psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa went as far as to publish an article in Psychology Today titled: “Why Are Black Women Less Physically Attractive Than Other Women?” After declaring that Black women are “far less attractive than white, Asian, and Native American women,” he concluded: “The only thing I can think of that might potentially explain the lower average level of physical attractiveness among Black women is testosterone.” The original post was removed due to the backlash it received but you can still read it online.

It’s the connotation of masculinity which prompted Nicole* to begin the process of getting a nose job. “I’ve always hated my nose,” Nicole tells me. “Since I can remember, thinking about my appearance, I’ve always disliked it. A smaller nose has always seemed more feminine and dainty. I always thought that my dad’s nose is like my nose. Because my nose is broader, it looks more masculine to me. I thought [a nose job] would soften my face.” After meeting a doctor for a consultation, Nicole (who was 22 at the time) decided not

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