Posts In: Small Business Spotlight

Step into Abella’s and you can’t help but feel like “it’s all about you”. This beautiful space feels luxurious, serene and intimate. Jennifer has created a haven that I cannot wait to escape to again and again. My life is always moving at top-speed; we have 4 kids and 2 businesses, it’s crazy. So far, I’ve enjoyed pedicures, brow waxes and a set of eyelashes that I enjoyed far more than I anticipated, more on that later. The ladies of Abella’s have always been so accommodating when I call trying to squeeze in a quick brow clean up, or a pedicure on short notice.

My favorite treat is a pedicure, and Abella’s is top-notch. You can have a room all to yourself, or get your toes done side-by-side with a girlfriend; either way, the surroundings are sumptuous. I was impressed with the extra steps taken for my sanitary protection; even the abrasive sticker on the pedi file was removable and replaced with a fresh one time use, just for me. I was asked which essence I wanted to scent the water with, that was actually an extra anti-bacterial procedure disguised as my selected fragrance. The chair massager hit all the right spots and lulled me into a deliriously relaxed state while my feet were smoothed, buffed, moisturized and expertly polished.

Jennifer is the Queen of Eyelashes, absolutely nobody does it better. It was a fabulous experience, and so relaxing. I couldn’t believe that I actually fell sound asleep while she worked. I was not blessed with thick or long natural lashes, and I was surprised by how feminine, and…flirty it felt to have them!

Next on my wish list is a facial and a gel manicure. If you cannot find me, check Abella’s. It’s dangerously close to my office, right here in Cooper’s Commons, 159 Main Street, Agawam. I would like a week-long staycation right there, please. Book your escape by calling Abella’s Skin, Lash & Nail Boutique (413) 363-9148. Enjoy!

If you need a talented seamstress to make up anything you can possibly imagine, Irma is the lady you need to know. Irma has done countless projects for me over the years. Simple things, like hemming pants and shortening curtain panels, to more complicated jobs like re-lining my favorite wool coat and making pillows out of an old chenille bathrobe of mine for my children.

Being a person that doesn’t have the ability to properly sew on a button, Irma’s talent in her trade is nothing short of miraculous to me. Irma has also made all of the formal gowns for the Grand Colleens and Court members in Holyoke for years, and all of the Holyoke Tartan scarves, neckties and corsages. She is an institution in the City of Holyoke. This year, Irma is the proud and very deserving recipient of the prestigious Citizenship Award from the Holyoke St. Patrick’s Committee.The Citizenship Award is presented to a person or organization that may be of non-Irish descent that has made substantial contributions to the Parade and/or the Parade Committee.

From the Holyoke St. Patrick’s Parade website, we learn more about Irma’s amazing background:

“Irma Ilia Perez Gourde is a self-made woman and an entrepreneur. She was raised on her family’s coffee plantation in Utuado, Puerto Rico, where she learned the survival skills that accompany rural life, including how to sew.
When her parents were at the hospital due to a complicated pregnancy, nine-year-old Irma realized that her brothers and sisters had nothing to wear to a school celebration the following day. She took the fabric her mother had purchased, and in one day made three jumpers and two pair of pants. She dressed the whole family so her parents could see the doctor and the children would look respectable at the school event.
Her family moved to Holyoke, Massachusetts, in 1957, and 12 years later (at age 31) Irma opened the Suffolk Tailor Shop in Holyoke.
In 1990, a fire at the Knights of Columbus above the shop forced her to move her business to Springfield, but not for long. Less than a year later, Irma and Gladys, her sister and partner, realized their loyal customers needed them, and they relocated to 358 High Street in Holyoke to return the loyalty they had enjoyed for so many years.
The Suffolk Tailor Shop has been working with the Irish Heritage Parade Committee since the late 1980s. It has been a privilege and an honor to serve this well-respected community.
In her spare time, Irma enjoys gardening, Bible study, traveling, and spending time with her family.”

I wish to congratulate my friend, Irma, on this honor. I am proud to share our last name (Irma’s late husband was my husband’s Uncle Albert). If you have been searching for someone that has expertise in the vanishing trade of tailoring, go see my friend, Irma and her sister Gladys, at the Suffolk Tailor Shop 358 High Street, Holyoke, (413)532-0731


Tom and I became friends 15+ years ago when I was first tipped off about his creative talent as a florist. At the time, he was located just a mile from Cooper’s. He instantly became my florist of choice because he did flowers like nothing I had ever seen before! I think we also connected as we are both artistic and visually driven by all things beautiful.

In 2012, I was surprised and delighted when Tom told me that he was looking to downsize from the house that his business was in, and he asked if I had room for him within Cooper’s. Even though I had no idea where I would put him, I blurted out “yes!”  I knew that the marriage of our two businesses would be a match made in Heaven.

Tom, and his sidekick Barbara Ann, took our 400 square foot stockroom and transformed it into the most incredibly inspiring flower boutique you can imagine. And now, I can’t imagine Cooper’s without Floral Concepts by Tom. He has been such a resource for display ideas and visual merchandising that Cooper’s found a whole new ka-pow in how the store looks and feels.


Tom is a wealth of knowledge on so many levels that have made him an expert in all things floral and plants. In collaboration with Cooper’s, Tom has held workshops and seminars on mini fairy gardens, terrariums, gardening and more.

Many Cooper’s customers walk into our shop through the flower shop, just because it makes you feel so good! I am constantly asking them what is this? What is that? He has variations on flowers that I’ve never heard of, let alone seen. They build them into masterpieces that they create for every occasion. Whether you need a $10 pick me up for a friend who’s having a hard time, an arrangement to express your condolences or a full-blown, white gown, 400 guests wedding. Trust me, this is the place. Call Tom (413)786-2622, or even better..stop in his shop for a big dose of inspiration.


What Shop Local Means to Me

November 22, 2016

Did you know that you can vote every day with your wallet at small businesses? I just want to let you know that for every $1 you spend here locally, 70 cents stays right here in your local community. That’s so important…for our teachers, for our policemen, firefighters…our entire community. So, please…go out and shop local with your local businesses. Get your coffee from your local, independently-owned shop. Choose the family-owned restaurant over the chain. Go to the places that are local that you love. Because I promise you, they will love you back. The best things come from small boxes and the locals love you more!
We live and breathe the Shop Local Movement and what it means for our community. We don’t believe in competition among small businesses. We’re traveling the same journey and we feel that the stronger our circle, the more we all thrive. To Cooper’s, sharing the “local love” does not diminish our success…it only amplifies it. You win, we win. Ready? Set…GO!

Best Wishes,

Kate & The Cooper’s Crew