hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

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September 27, 2012

This unique boutique sells furniture -- and fights domestic violence

Alan Crosier and Cloie Owens say they are just ordinary business owners — but their plan for a new boutique on River Street is anything but ordinary.

Besides selling clothes, Cloie’s Closet at 104 River St. takes pieces of furniture from estate sales, flea markets and other places and turns them from unwanted pieces to desirable furniture.

“I make them functional and Cloie makes them beautiful,” Crosier said.

Making positives out of negatives is a recurring theme in the store. Both Crosier and Owens, who are not only business partners but partners in life, have been victims of domestic violence. They have pledged to give 10 percent of their proceeds to organizations that fight domestic violence.

“We take old, vintage, beat-up and broken furniture that has been discarded and abandoned in estate sales that have been forgotten about, and we transform them with love,” Owens said. “It is sort of like the evolution of me coming from a very violent background with a lot of domestic abuse going on and making me into a stronger, more confident woman.”

After learning in August that the YWCA would be closing its battered women’s shelter in Lawrence, Crosier and Owens became concerned there would be nowhere for women who have been victims of domestic abuse to get help.

“Our ultimate goal is to have enough locations and raise enough money to open a battered women’s shelter,” Owens said.

Originally, the couple sold their pieces online through a website and at local flea markets. Their furniture became so popular that they decided to go into the business full time, to allow them to spend more time with Owens’ son Chris who has been hospitalized for several months.

“If Chris wasn’t in the hospital, this store would have never opened,” Crosier said. “He suffers from post traumatic stress disorder because he has witnessed both verbal and physical abuse almost his entire life.”

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