When you enter the store Charisma on Orange Avenue, you quickly realize you have become surrounded by a vast array of items that you “need” in your home. From the moment you see the smiling face of owner Shannon Wiegel and her daughter Tori Geddes, you know you have found a place that not only gives you that hometown Coronado vibe, but is also owned by someone who truly cares about their customers and the beautiful items they sell.
Wiegel is the third owner of Charisma. The store originally opened in 1999 (known as “Plums”). Wiegel purchased the store in 2017 and she and Geddes run the store together. “The store has evolved over the years but it has always been a home, craft and décor store,” said Wiegel. “We are proud Charisma is owned by a local Coronado middle class family.”
Charisma stands out in Coronado with a steady flow of traffic that includes locals and tourists alike. That all changed when the pandemic hit. “We were closed for three months, but the bills continued,” said Wiegel. “We were forced to get creative when we closed in order to stay open for the long term.”
In response, Wiegel created a Charisma website that they hadn’t had before, responded to emails about products, stayed current on phone messages. They shipped items upon request.
“It was a tough realization that no matter what we did, we still could not pay our rent,” said Wiegel. “We were not going to let Covid be the end of the store and the customers we love.”
Once again this story mirrors many others with a strong community side to it. Charisma and the retail stores in Coronado were struggling during the Covid shut down.
“We kept in touch with our loyal local customers,” said Wiegel. “This is a special community where we all come together and give one another encouragement during a very hard time. All the businesses tried to communicate with each other. People sent encouraging gifts to our family, called to check on us, and offered any help they could to ensure we would open our doors again. It was a true locals helping neighbors. [While] we have always tried to spoil our customers the minute they walk in our door, this was something very special coming back to us.”
You experience that local loyalty when shopping in Charisma as you see neighbors coming in saying hi, giving hugs and looking for that special item for a loved one now that the shop has reopened. When you shop at Charisma you notice items that are different than what you see in other retail environments. Wiegel and Geddes try to support local artists and vendors. “We started off with some larger brand names in the store but then decided we wanted to feature smaller, family owned businesses,” said Wiegel. “I research new products to keep things current and creative, and I try and bring things to the store that I would want to buy. Almost everything we sell is made in the USA and we know who the artists are”.
“We continue to support Christian book publishers as well,” Weigel added. “We love to display products that are inspirational, promote family, unity, and faith”.
Weigel and Geddes don’t stop at the support they give to lesser known artists and writers. They stay involved in projects that promote those struggling with physical and mental difficulties as well.
When you enter Charisma at this holiday time, you immediately notice painted pumpkins, witches hats, Santas, and various other holiday pieces that are different than any other. When asked about the witches’ hats currently in the store for Halloween, Wiegel smiles and proudly explained, “The hats are handmade by adults with special needs. ACCEL is the Arizona Center for Comprehensive Education and Life Skills that is the lead team for making these beautiful pieces of art. We love being a part of a project like this. It was not easy this year when we were struggling just to stay open, but when you have people excited about doing this for your store and others getting joy from it, it means everything.”
Charisma also donates to St. Jude every month through the sale of Nora Fleming items. The pieces are about $18 and all proceeds go to St. Jude. “St. Jude does such special things for children and we want to do what we can to help.”
Charisma is a store with many facets. With their slogan “Charimsa - Something for Everyone,” there are incredible window displays that change with the seasons (and draw you in like a magnet), to other sections of the store you might not expect. There is an infant and toddler section with clothes and toys, a wedding gift area with personalized options, kitchen, jewelry, clothing, candles with a Coronado theme, endless artwork, ornaments, and even skin care products.
As Covid continues to affect all of us, it has deeper effects on retail stores. “Our business is still down by 50%,” said Wiegel. “But we open the doors every day and are happy to see our loyal local customers and new ones that visit us for the first time in Coronado. When we re-opened in May after the lockdown, our business was down 80-90%, but we are steadily improving. We have always wanted Charisma to feel like you are walking into someone’s home filled with personal touches.”
Wiegel and Geddes, along with 6 year old dog Bentley are at the desk to greet you with a smile when you enter the store. “We love working together and wouldn’t have it any other way,” said Wiegel. “We are in the people business, we just happen to sell things.”
Charisma is located at 1158 Orange Avenue. Store hours are Monday through Wednesday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Thursday through Sunday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more about their products or visit coronadocharismahomeandgifts.company.site/.