Proprietor: Scott Wable on What’s in the Jean Pool



For denim-loving Baltimoreans – both men and women – Jean Pool has been a must-shop boutique since its opening in 2006.

Proprietor: Eye to Eye with Brad Bowers of Bowers & Snyder Opticians


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Bowers & Snyder has been a constant fixture on the Baltimore eye care and eyewear scene since its opening in 1947. Today, Brad Bowers, the son of the company’s founder, works with a team of opticians and eye care specialists at four stores throughout the region, including one in Cross Keys, which opened in 1990.

Here, Bowers discusses what he likes most about his job, good (and useful!) holiday gift recommendations and which celebrities have hit Bowers & Snyder for a bit of eyewear help:

How did you get into the optician business?

I’m second generation – a Bowers. My dad started the company in 1947. I started working with him in 1966 and have been here ever since.

Proprietor: How Florence Sokol Keeps it Classic and Chic at Jones and Jones


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Since it’s opening in 1970, the chicest Baltimore women of all ages have flocked to Jones and Jones for everything from accessories and day dresses to black tie attire.

Owner Florence Sokol has been with the shop for 25 years – but she has been a fan of cutting edge fashion for longer. She and her team put their expertise to work, outfitting their customers in clothing that’s both fashion-forward and accessible.

Here, Sokol shares the story behind Jones and Jones, plus what she loves most in the store now – including what’s hot for the holiday season:

Proprietor: Emilie Blaze’s Perfect Fit–The Little Shoebox


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At The Little Shoebox in Ruxton, owner Emilie Blaze celebrates her love of shoes – especially those that are fun, feminine and different from what’s available at every department store across the country.

Proprietor: Meet The Liza Behind Liza Byrd Boutique



Known for well-made, brightly-patterned clothes and distinctive ruffled blouses, Liza Byrd Boutique is a favorite among Baltimore’s preppiest residents.

Proprietor: Talking Fine Art with Merritt Miller of Renaissance Fine Arts



At Renaissance Fine Arts, sisters Merritt Miller and Rachel Rubin showcase a smart and diverse collection of art, including artists that range from regional to international. The gallery, started by their mother in the 1980s, has a constantly evolving collection – pieces sell and are replaced on a regular basis.

The sisters pride themselves on their ability to find art that is exceptional, then bring it back to the Baltimore community. “We’re local and that’s what we’re about,” says Miller. “Finding art nationally and internationally and bringing it here.”

Here, Miller shares the story of the gallery and some of her favorite things about the job:

BFB: How did you get you get started at Renaissance Fine Arts?

Proprietor: Rosanna Sech Tells us What’s Chic at Chic Chic Boutique


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Chic Chic Boutique is a relative newcomer in Cross Keys, opening just last summer. The shop’s owners, Dario and Rosanna Sech, bring years of fashion expertise and European flair to the Village. Originally from Italy, the couple gravitates toward international brands, especially those from Canada, Italy and Greece.

Proprietor: Talking Style with Patti Puller of Chezelle



At Chezelle of Cross Keys, owner Patti Puller uses her great eye and sense of style to outfit plus-size women in the latest gorgeous gear, from casual clothes to evening wear. At Chezelle, Puller carries a variety of clothing in sizes 14 to 24, as well as accessories, from jewelry to handbags, and gift items.

Proprietor: Ray Mitchener Introduces Us to The Girl Next Door

Ray Mitchener looks over plans for his new store.
Ray Mitchener looks over plans for his new store.

Changes are coming to the Village of Cross Keys, with the opening of a new boutique, The Girl Next Door, this weekend. The new store is the brainchild of Ray Mitchener, owner of the luxury fashion shop Ruth Shaw. The Girl Next Door aesthetic is casual and fun and, like Ruth Shaw, the shop will carry high quality, well-designed brands.

On the 5th of December, the shop will host an official grand opening open house, featuring Helmut Lang and Lema J jewelry. “It’ll be an all-day thing and some of the proceeds of sales that day will go to Karma for Cara, an organization that is special to me.”

Karma for Cara, which promotes youth volunteerism and engagement, was founded for Cara Becker, a young woman who passed away from leukemia in 2012. Cara’s mother, Jill Becker, was Mitchener’s first customer at Ruth Shaw.

We chatted with Mitchener about what shoppers should expect from The Girl Next Door, from t-shirts to bags.

Proprietor: Talking Shop with Maureen Gold of Ruth Shaw and Betsy Wendell of Octavia


Proprietor: Maureen Gold, Manager of Ruth Shaw

Maureen and Toby at Ruth Shaw

Since it opened in 1973, Ruth Shaw has carried a variety of clothing and accessories brands selected with Baltimore’s most fashionable women in mind. Owner Ray Mitchener, who first joined the shop as a buyer in 1977, is known for his discerning eye and understanding of what makes the shopping experience enjoyable and exciting.