3 Sure Boutique Cures for the Shopping "Blues"
Let's face it: A great way to break out of the tourist tumble is to undergo some serious retail therapy. Too bad it’s not covered by health insurance! We prescribe these three locally owned boutiques to show off that beach-meets-West vibe that is so quintessentially Corpus Christi.
Bleu Frog Mercantile, Old Town 6 Points
The 10,000 square foot Bleu Frog Mercantile has rightfully earned a statewide reputation for exquisite antiques, kitschy kitchenware, luxurious bath products, gourmet treats and other curios. But in the decade since they opened, they've also developed quite a nifty following for customer service and a discerning eye for fashion and accessories.
Racks brim with contemporary takes on classic styling from popular names like Simply Noelle, Johnny Was, Muche et Muchette, Big Buddha Bags and Kate Spade as the floor buzzes with loyal regulars checking out the latest fashions, and curious visitors venture over from Hester’s Café, next-door.
For keepsake shoppers, Bleu Frog is best known for coastal- and Texas-themed décor. From original art by local painter Dinah Bowman and crafty creatures made out of driftwood, to all sorts of stuff in the shape of the Lone Star State, they’ve got you (and your walls) covered.
Pro Tip: There’s a lot to take in! Don’t come expecting to grab a gift and go. Take the time (and budget) to treat that other special someone: You! Odds are something flashy will catch your eye.
Blue Dahlia Boutique, Central Corpus Christi
Mother-and-daughter team Dahlia Martinez and Jackie Keiper bring some cross-generational sass to South Texas fashion. Both women aim to fill their Blue Dahlia Boutique & Salon with the right mix of edgy and elegant that they themselves would feel comfortable wearing.
Opened in a small strip center on Alameda in 2014, Blue Dahlia features vintage-inspired swimsuits and rompers as well as office-appropriate separates. The Blue Dahlia ladies are not afraid to dip into music festival/hippie-chic: You know the look – lacey tops, ruffled shorty-shorts and billowy shifts, big sunglasses and floppy hats. “South Texas has no winter,” said Martinez with a laugh, “and our styles reflect that.”
The shop is friendly and comfortable for folks of all fashions, ages and sizes. After all, good shopping is about the experience as much as it is about the inventory. You can count on the staff to help you find the right jewelry, accessories, and clothing items for whatever vibe you hope to catch in prices that won’t make you gasp.
Blue Crab, Padre Island
Early Summer 2016, when Cheryl Gray moved her popular gift boutique from its moorings near the parking-lot packing Scuttlebutt’s restaurant to a larger space to the south, she took a cue from her neighbor Waves Resort featuring Schlitterbahn Waterpark and embarked on a recycle-reuse adventure to get her store up and running as soon as possible.
In the same spirit, Blue Crab carries a keenly curated selection of up-cycled furnishings embracing the same spunky spirit. You might find a charming old bar cart painted in aquamarine or navy blue or an old distressed window frame with a beautiful glitter mermaid on its pane.
There’s also a Davy-Jones-Locker’s-worth of nautical but nice home goods. Oh, sure, you can find mermaids, lighthouses, shells, and anchor-everything all over town, but the next-level quality of the merchandise is what sets Blue Crab apart from the typical souvenir shop. Likewise Gray’s selection of lovely beach cover-ups and blinged-up slings comes in enough variety to suit tastes from coastal queen to surf & turf tomboy.
One of the best things about moving into a new space was the blank canvas on which to get creative, as Gray did with the unique concrete-stained floors, mimicking the nearby shoreline. Stop by to check it out, but please, do resist the urge to spread out a towel to get your tan on!
So there you have just three of Corpus Christi’s excellent places to shop. Wouldn’t you say it’s time to schedule that shopping jaunt? After all, it’s not a vacation without a little splurge time.