Sugar Magnolia Sweetens Sharon Revitalization

SHARON, Pa. – Sugar Magnolia Merchandise is doing its part to spur the revitalization of downtown Sharon, Pa., while also helping to give home-based businesses a boost. 

The store is a clothing and gift shop at 110 E. State St., owned and operated by Leanne Ekis.

Sugar Magnolia features tie-dyed clothing that Ekis dyes herself. “I make [all of the items] right here in the shop,” she says.

The colorful walls are filled with T-shirts, sweatshirts, dresses, bags

and other clothing and accessories brightly tie-dyed in a multitude of colors and patterns. Nature inspired many of her bold designs and their color schemes.

Ekis decided to open Sugar Magnolia in downtown Sharon 61/2 years ago, just as the city was beginning its revitalization.

Over the years, her shop has grown. She now makes and designs spirit wear approved by Sharon schools to be worn in class in compliance with the district’s policy on uniforms, as well as gear for other area schools.

Sugar Magnolia also offers tie-dye parties for children, dye-and-drink parties for adults and custom orders with various colors and designs.

Although a tie-dye clothing shop is an unusual business, Ekis says she still sees the busy and slower times of a retail store such as back to school and the holiday seasons.

In addition to her own products, Sugar Magnolia is a place where local vendors sell their own items.

Local vendors such as MJ’s Woodworking, Panache by Shelly and Scents by Sylvia, sell their wares in the shop as well, Ekis says.

Getting consumers to visit downtown Sharon is sometimes a struggle, Ekis says. But the people of Sharon are great and opening a year after revitalization began has helped her business grow.

“It feels pretty good. [Sharon] is still climbing up the hill. But hopefully we’ll be able to make revitalization happen,” Ekis says.

Pictured at top: Leanne Ekis tie-dyes the clothing and accessories she sells at her shop.