New Fulton store by shoppers, for shoppers

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Friday to celebrate the grand opening of Pau’s General Store, located at 47 S. First St., Fulton, across from the gazebo. The store features unique specialty gifts and will also be a place for local artists to display their work. Store hours are 9 a.m. until 8 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, and 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. Sundays. Pictured above from left at the ribbon-cutting ceremony are Kevin LaMontagne of Operation Oswego County; Mary Simmons, owner of 316 Creative Living; store owners Beth Blake and Becky Fox; Beth and Becky’s mother Nancy Fox, executive director of the CNY Community Arts Center in Fulton; Beth’s stepdaughter Christina Blake; and CNY Arts Center volunteer Mary Jane Visser.

FULTON — There are reasons to celebrate every day, and the owners of the new Pau’s General Store in Fulton want to help.

“The concept is basically just about celebrating life, trying to bring joy to people’s lives,” said Becky Fox, who along with her sister Beth Blake owns Pau’s. “If you look, there’s a holiday going on every day. There’s a moment every single day to celebrate.”

Pau’s celebrated its grand opening Friday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, followed by its first day of business. It is located at 47 S. First St., right on the corner across from the gazebo.

“It’s a gift shop, but it’s also a focus on local artists,” Fox said. “We want to give them the ability to have their items in our store to show off their craftsmanship as a way to support the local artists in the community.”

Blake is an artist and some of her creations will be featured in the store. She specializes in sculptures, fabric arts, painting, and crafting. She earned her bachelor’s degree in theater from SUNY Oswego.

Fox, who describes herself as “a shopaholic,” earned her associate’s degree from the University of Phoenix and has several years of retail and management experience. She has a keen eye for unique gifts.

“We work well together,” Fox said. “We spend a lot of time with each other anyway. Where one of us falls short in certain things, the other one picks it up and vice versa. Where I’m strong in certain areas, she’s strong in other areas.”

Both sisters are graduates of Hannibal High School and are Fulton residents. They are daughters of Nancy Fox, who is the executive director of the CNY Community Arts Center in Fulton. The co-owners have their mother working just a short distance away at the Arts Center, which is located at 121 Cayuga St. in Fulton.

“She is on our advisory board and has been very helpful in that regard, financially helping out as well,” Becky Fox said. “She’s very supportive emotionally and with ideas as well.

Nancy Fox said part of the idea for Pau’s General Store grew out of conversations about having space to feature works of local artists. The new Arts Center building simply doesn’t have enough space for that.

“Artists would like a place to show their work,” Nancy Fox said. “I felt bad that we weren’t going to be able to have that when we had that before, but that was at two different locations. We just couldn’t manage two different locations anymore.”

Her daughters were committed to supporting local artists and giving them a commercial place to show their work, Nancy Fox said.

Blake and Becky Fox are renting space for the store from Doug Caster. Nancy Fox said it’s the perfect location for her daughters to launch their business.

“We’ve been extremely grateful for Doug and Linda Caster’s support, helping them get in there and get situated,” Nancy Fox said. She added that her daughters “have really reached the point in their adult lives where they just need to be their own bosses and this is what they have to contribute. And it’s time for that dream to come true. I’m excited for them and I believe they are more than capable of whatever it’s going to take to make this happen.”

Pau’s is a gift and art shop specializing in high quality gifts including home accents, personalized gift sets, natural self-care, and original one-of-a-kind handmade goods and art. Anyone making a purchase from Pau’s can have it gift-wrapped for free.

Another feature of the shop is a “maker’s room,” which will allow Blake to work on her creations right inside the store.

The general store gets its name from the girls’ grandfather, Dudley Seale Ball, whom they fondly called “Pau.” An expert in woodworking, he was a major influence on their lives.

Store hours are 9 a.m. until 8 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, and 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. Sundays. See the store’s Facebook page for more details and a look at some of the items offered there. They hope to have the website — PausGeneralStore.com — up and running soon.

The message from the owners is a simple one. Celebrate every day.

“Celebrate life. Celebrate each other. That’s what we’re doing,” Becky Fox said. “We want to celebrate the community and other people by offering gifts they can come and get anytime, and also celebrate local artists and the hard work that they do.”

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