Ellie & Clarence open for business in Index

It's tiny, charming and so very Index.

Tucked away behind the Bush House Inn at 308 Fifth St. in Index, a new gift shop called Ellie & Clarence features art by local artists, along with an eclectic mix of gifts, knickknacks, jewelry and clothing.-áThe shop is managed by Sky Valley Arts Council board member Mary Ritzman, who opened the tiny boutique over the summer to establish a mechanism for promoting local art from the Sky Valley region all year round.

Ellie & Clarence is open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Ritzman said she has worked to appeal to a broad customer base, including local residents, vacation property owners, outdoor recreationists and day-trippers out exploring the area.

The town is currently busy preparing for Halloween, Ritzman said.

"We love Halloween up here,GÇ¥ Ritzman said. "It is fall and absolutely beautiful.GÇ¥

To help Sky Valley residents prepare for the spooky holiday, Ritzman is hosting a Halloween-themed hand-cut luminary workshop 1-3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 10, at Ellie & Clarence; supplies will be provided.

Ritzman is planning to hold workshops every month in the new gift shop, which opened in July.

Ellie & Clarence is owned by Blair and Kathy Corson, who have been working to restore the Bush House Inn since 2012. Formerly a garden shed, Ellie & Clarence is located next to the caretaker's cottage behind the old inn. The tiny shed has undergone major renovations, Kathy said. When they started working on it in April, the entire building was leaning over and the sky could be seen through the roof.

Renovations included removing rotten shelving inside the structure, stabilizing and leveling the entire building, a new roof, repairing and replacing windows, rebuilding a doorframe and door and a lot of elbow grease.

Kathy Corson and Ritzman named the tiny store after Clarence and Ellie Bush, the original owners of the historic Bush House Inn, established in 1898. The Corsons, who also own the River House coffee shop and Outdoor Adventures, both in Index, hope to have the old hotel back up and running sometime next year.-á -á

The inn will feature 10 themed guest rooms, a third-floor hostel, full restaurant, banquet room, a stage for live musical performances, a saloon, bakery, an ADA-accessible suite, a family rental unit and a library specifically dedicated to the history of Index, supported by the Index Historical Society.

Guests can learn more about the project during the Corsons' Halloween party at the River House coffee shop from 5-10 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 31. The family friendly event is being sponsored by the Index Community Group, and will include a costume contest and haunted house.-á -á

For more information about Ellie & Clarence, visit http://ellieandclarence.com/. For more information on the Bush House Inn renovations, visit www.bushhouseinn.com/.

Photos by Chris Hendrickson Bush House Inn owners Blair and Kathy Corson took time off from renovating the hotel to completely refurbish this small gardenerGÇÖs shed. The tiny gift shop is called Ellie & Clarence, after the original owners of the Bush House Inn.The shop, which features art by local artists, is open every weekend. Sky Valley Arts Council Board Member Mary Ritzman manages the shop and holds monthly classes.


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