From purses with panache to beads, baubles and more, Great Lakes Boutique is bursting with the hottest fall trends

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Great Lakes Boutique—famous worldwide for its bead department—also carries a fabulous assortment of unique home decor items like Gurgle Pots in every color imaginable and the Woods of Wisdom line of whimsical wall plaques. (Photography by Benjamin Margalit/Margalit Studio)

By Patricia Nugent

Sweetest Day is Saturday, October 20. Instead of boring old chocolates, this year why not show your loved one how much you care with something a little more memorable, not to mention calorie-free?

At Great Lakes Boutique in Mentor, super savvy sales associates can help you pick out the perfect gift, from beads and charms to jewelry, handbags, wall hangings and precious home décor items.

Thanks to employees Angel Mastandrea and Stephanie Frick, this charming boutique has earned a reputation for bringing emerging trends to our area. After scouring social media for the newest and latest things, they bring in unique lines, such as Luca + Danni Born in the USA, Mariana, Scout Curated Wears, Katie Loxton London and Woods of Wisdom.

“We know our clients’ tastes pretty well,” says owner Mike Ponsart. “They appreciate great design, styles they can mix and match, and, above all, pieces they can have fun with.”

In Search of the Perfect Pouch
The star of the Katie Loxton London line, which ranges from bracelets and necklaces to chic bags, is a fabulous rectangular pouch.

Made of vegan leather, it’s the perfect size to carry must-have essentials (six inches by nine inches). Plus, they are stamped with impossibly adorable phrases, such as “Marvelous Mum,” “Pop, Fizz, Clink” and “Time to Shine,” and come in an enormous array of colors. With a nifty wrist strap, these little beauties go anywhere, anytime, in high style. Smartly priced at around $30, you can put a few of them on your short list this fall.

“Really none of the beautiful bags in the collection would break your bank, yet they look like far pricier designer styles,” says Angel.

Perfect for homecoming dances and upcoming holiday parties, another international line of jewelry, Mariana of Israel, ranges from fancy colored gemstones to glowing pearls and sparkling clear crystals.

And for women who like the look of stacked stone beads, the Scout Curated Wears line is perfect. The fall collection includes wrap bracelets in Mexican onyx and obsidian, jasper, amethyst and tourmaline.

Channel-set gemstones, charms and insignias are signature looks in the Luca + Danni Born in the USA line, which includes cuffs, bangles and necklaces featuring hand-crafted, wire-wrapped designs.

Each piece of the bold and stylish Uno de 50 line is designed and handcrafted in Spain.

Other well-known bead lines offered at Great Lakes include Trollbeads, Ohm Beads, True Beadz and RedBaliFrog

And Now for Something Completely Different
It’s a wide-mouthed fish. It’s a bright-colored pitcher. It makes gulping, gurgling noises when you pour liquids from it. Meet the GurglePot.

Created by Matt Ellison, Great Lakes carries a wide variety of shapes and colors of this conversation piece.

“We cannot keep enough Gurgle Pots on our shelves,” says Mike. “They are an enigma. People love them for themselves and for gifting to others. It’s hard not to smile at a fish-shaped pitcher that talks back to you.”

Another home décor item that’s a big seller is the Woods of Wisdom line of whimsical wall plaques. Crafted from Amish wood by a local schoolteacher, the rustic signs are designed with smart and playful phrases that add charm to any home.

Great Lakes Boutique is located within Mentor Corners, at 8920 Mentor Avenue, in Mentor. Hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. They do jewelry repair, too. Call 440-266-8900, or visit for more information.