SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – We are taking you inside a holiday shopping and artist destination that is brightening the downtown streets.

Refine Design Boutiques is where you can find special gifts like no other store has to offer. Handmade goods, specialty food items, vintage clothing, and much more, there’s a holiday shopping destination centered around art providing a visual feast for the eyes.

“We source eclectic, unique items. We don’t want to be cookie-cutter like a lot of businesses. We want to be unique. We want to stand out. We want to have products that people don’t have to go to Dallas to get. Or have to order online,” said manager Chris Rhodes.

Rhodes spent more than 20 years in retail and now manages his own store with his wife who is an interior designer. What began as Appli-K’s Embroidery and Gifts, has now transformed into their own boutique that fosters local businesses. Their store serves as a retail incubator for new and upstart businesses that can use the large location to feature their products.

“We want people to shop local,” Rhodes said.

Refine Design Boutiques also hosts public events for the community. Including book signings where we met Louisiana author, Ann Marie Jameson.

“We turned a bad story into something good,” Jameson said.

Her four-part book series is based in Natchitoches. It fictionalizes her personal story of family inheritance and betrayal.

“My mother and father had been married for 50 years and mother passed away and right after she passed away my dad started dating one of her good friends and within six months he was engaged. He had assets and property. In his will, he gave everything to her and her family. We all were shocked and felt disowned and left a bitter taste,” Jameson said.

Jameson turned her pain into passion and then into profit. “We made lemonade out of lemons,” she said.

“The story was very therapeutic writing it. I think that’s why it came out so quickly.”

Her series has since taken off. She also thanks the efforts of Refine Design Boutiques for helping her get her name out there. Which is a part of their goal to promote the arts of Shreveport.

“The arts in downtown Shreveport is extremely important to us. Refine Design is art-driven,” Rhodes said.

So the next time you are looking for a unique gift, stocking stuffers, something out of the ordinary, or just plain cool, head to Refine Design Boutiques to find the perfect gift for the person in your life.

Downtown businesses are open for Pink Friday ahead of Black Friday by offering deals and discounts.

Jameson will host a book signing Friday and Saturday in downtown Natchitoches where you can buy a copy of her book. You can also find her debut novel “A Bed of Roses” and sequels on Amazon.