The 5 Senses Celebrates 13th Anniversary and New Partnership
May 24, 2018 | By The 5 Senses
West Chester, PA -- The 5 Senses and Karen Cavin are happy to announce a new partnership with Michelle Guida. Founder, Karen Cavin, has been offering her unique collection of functional North American art to customers since May of 2005. Before that, she was a graphic designer for thirty years. Cavin’s passionate exploration of the art world has transformed her into a distinctive storeowner with an eye on creativity, quality, and community. As a jeweler, Michelle brings a similar art background and solid retail experience to the business plus a passion for all things art. For over 2 years Karen and Michelle have found they have very similar tastes in art, which is reflected in The 5 Senses newest inventory.
Throughout the last thirteen years, Cavin has amassed a collection of enviable, diverse art—everything from candles to jewelry to, yes, barbeque sauce. With such a wide range of products, The 5 Senses wrangles in customers aged anywhere from “eight to eighty.” Watching young children as they peer around the store is especially fulfilling for Cavin: “Every once in a while we get these kids who are awestruck by all the colors and shapes. There are some kids who are really in-tuned to art and it’s really fun to watch.” It’s hard to imagine anyone who wouldn’t be awestruck while browsing shelves upon shelves of beautiful pieces. Although they admit that the store is “space-challenged,” they have managed to create a layout true to their artistic eyes.
Customers certainly aren’t turned off by the store’s square footage. If anything, it fosters an atmosphere of community within the store. As soon as you walk in, there’s an employee waiting to help with any questions. Cavin, Guida and their staff pride themselves on providing insight into the artists. Knowing the history behind a purchase creates a unique experience for customers that they can’t get at just any store in the mall. “We know the story. We know about every artist. That’s important and our customers love it,” Guida says.
It’s clear that they relish in these close relationships with the artists they carry. Since many artists are local, they drop into the store frequently. For example, Pat Ackerman, a West Chester-based glassblower, comes every First Friday. “She’s become the artist in residence, she’s always here,” Cavin reveals.
The Five Senses carries twenty Pennsylvania artists, of which about ten are from West Chester. The other artists are based all over North America, with the exception of a few Fair Trade artists. On a trip down to an Atlanta-based artist’s studio, Cavin realized her role in promoting small, American businesses. She saw the artist’s small staff of about four or five people and it really hit home that she played a part in employing them. “I figure we help put three to four hundred people to work in America,” she estimates.
As one would expect, Cavin extends her kind business philosophy to the town of West Chester. “We’re all in this together,” she explains. “If there are people in town, we’re all busy. It’s our job to get the people in the store, but getting people in the town is sometimes the harder job. I think that when businesses complement each other instead of compete with each other we are all more successful.”
That’s why Cavin and Guida make sure to keep their inventory unique. “We don’t want to sell anything that’s sold in West Chester proper,” Guida states. “We try really hard to do that. We’re friends with many of the other store owners in town and we refer people to each other. Our whole thing is we don’t want to sell the same thing somebody else is selling a block away.” This practice ensures that shoppers coming to West Chester will have a wider selection of products and will be more likely to keep coming back.
First Friday, June 1, will be a combined Celebration of the 13 Year Anniversary for The 5 Senses and the new partnership formed by Karen Cavin and Michelle Guida. Please join them between 5 and 9pm, for good food and libation - it’ll be a typical 5 Senses party event!