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Dayton’s Not Dead: GEMS Boutique 937

Gems | Photo by Kelsie Tomlinson | The Wright State Guardian

GEMS Boutique 937 is a graphic design-focused boutique selling GEM’s branded products as well as local designer creations. 

Behind the scenes

A co-owner of GEMS, Christien Armstrong, provided the meaning of and story behind the boutique.

“We like to think of GEMS Boutique as a staple for downtown. GEMS is actually an acronym for ‘Giving Every Moment a Shot,’” Armstrong said.

Armstrong also voiced personal ideas and history behind the opening of GEMS. Armstrong was a manager of a local shoe store prior to GEMS and has a history with fashion; in highschool, Armstrong would make clothes for people, excelling in graphic printing. 

Armstrong’s mother was a fashion designer when Armstrong was growing up but was never able to get product into a store, according to Armstrong. This incited the motivations for Armstrong to open a fashion boutique. 

And now, GEMS Boutique aims to provide a platform for local designers looking to sell garments.

“The first idea that we had was to help other designers in the city, being able to have a storefront to sell their stuff. We have a little bit less now, but in the beginning, we probably had about 8 designers in here who would rent out space and pay a small fee to have their stuff in store,” Armstrong explained.

The boutique

Opened in August 2021, during the midst of COVID-19, Amstrong expressed the risk of opening GEMS Boutique. 

“We obtained the space in March but got the keys by August, so we’ve been open roughly a year. It was a risk-taking situation when we got the place. We obtained it right during COVID-19, so we took a shot,” Armstrong said. 

Behind the open plan store, GEMS Boutique has a space behind the scenes that is a work in progress, according to Armstrong. Previously owned by a comedy club, Armstrong aims to convert the space into a live-networking area for local designers to meet and share ideas.

Armstrong also expressed a previous affiliation with Wright State. In the summer of 2003, Armstrong enrolled in the ‘Wright Step’ program in arts. The program provided individuals with the opportunity to gain a scholarship to Wright State however Armstrong never completed the program, yet he still supports the University and it’s students. 

“I would love for Wright State [students] to come down,” Armstrong said.
For more information about GEMS Boutique, visit the store website or call 937-248-8933. The boutique is located at 514 E. Third St. in Dayton and is open Tuesday through Friday from 5:30-8:30 p.m. and Saturday from 1:30-7 p.m.

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