You might have read about all the dogs in Cameron Village. But this month we’re getting a new four-legged friend. The Local Squirrel is our newest store and before it’s grand opening this Saturday (May 7th), we chatted with owner Rachael Pusateri.
How would you describe the Local Squirrel?
We’re a gift store. We are your destination for anytime you need a present for somebody. Whether that’s a present for you because you had a bad day and you need a new necklace or something sparkly. Or a gift for your sister, your mom, your friend, whoever it is. That’s what I want us to be—the destination for presents.
What’s exciting that you have planned for your opening?
Nicholas Askew, a local designer, is bringing his cotton wreaths and magnolia wreaths. He’s been in Garden & Gun and Martha Stewart Living. He’s from Charleston but based out of Eden, NC. I’m super excited about this vendor in particular because nobody in the area has anything like this. Yet everyone in the area keeps asking for something like this.
How are you feeling with opening of the store so close?
Well, it’s pretty crazy, first. I don’t remember what day it is. I feel like I’m asking everybody that all the time. I’m so excited because finally everything I’ve had written on paper is coming to fruition. I got to see the paint color today and I’ve sent people pictures of what I wanted the inside of the store to look like and now it’s starting to look like that. It’s nerve-wracking of course, but I mean, I’m ready for it.
Where did you come up with the idea for the name?
Raleigh’s the City of Oaks. And so I kind of wanted to play off of that a little bit. Squirrels love oak trees and we’ve got all these squirrels around. And also it’s a little bit of an homage to Meredith because we had some crazy domesticated squirrels at Meredith and they were not afraid of people. They ran across your feet. They came up your backpack. I love squirrels. They’re kind of my favorite animal.
What made you decide that Cameron Village was the place for you?
The thing I loved about Cameron Village was its focus on small business. And as a small business owner, I felt like it was so important to be somewhere in a community that other small businesses would want to only encourage and support you.
I’m from Raleigh. I’ve grown up here. Everybody in Raleigh knows what Cameron Village is. They know this is a destination shopping place. So that’s where I wanted to be. To me, if you can’t make a store successful here, you can’t make a store successful anywhere. You’ve got everything you need here. You’ve got the walking traffic. You’ve got the restaurants. You’ve got the parking. So this was always number one. And luckily it worked out.
Mother’s Day is right around the corner. What impact has your mother and family had on your store?
She’s basically just been my right hand man. Just having that other person to bounce ideas off of and really kind of being a springboard. She’s also so talented in interior design. And I have a background in fashion design. So her being able to show me some of that too has been really really nice.
She’s in the store right now. She’s unpacking boxes. She’s been here every day. And just the support of everybody in my life. How they’ve all kind of just put their own jobs, their own projects on hold to help open this store for me. That’s just been so encouraging. It’s really amazing. That’s a big focus for our store. Everything is community. I want us to be involved in the community. I want the community to feel involved in us.
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Rachael also mentioned a party on June 11th where they’re going to have all of their local vendors. So keep an eye out for that as well. The Local Squirrel is located on the same block at Charlotte’s and Baskin Robbins, next to Moon and Lola at 2012 Cameron St. Make sure you stop by and give Rachael and her staff a warm welcome.