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Italian Treasures owner Rosemarie Dowey talks about her new shop in downtown Leominster after a ribbon-cutting ceremony with Mayor Dean Mazzarella, center, and the city s Small Business Coordinator Melissa Tasca, left. SENTINEL & ENTERPISE/JOHN LOVE

LEOMINSTER — Describing her store as a “flair of Italy” in the center of the city, Rosemarie Dowey recently welcomed shoppers downtown at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for Italian Treasures and Interior.

Dowey said the business, at 18 Main St., was an opportunity for her to share her passion for all things Italian, and that the majority of items for sale belonged to her family and were imported directly from Italy.

“We’ve had this furniture for quite a while, my parents are elderly now, and it was just time to get it out of storage and share it with other families,” Dowey said. Dowey, who grew up in Maynard, moved to a furnished villa in Italy with her parents when she was nine, and returned to the U.S. six years later, bringing the furniture and other items back with them. She called majority of the store’s merchandise a “part of her childhood.”

A small sampling of the items available include mahogany parlor chairs, Queen Anne-style tables, Italian crystal, a Wurlitzer piano, and vintage tea sets.

There is a variety of jewelry, art work, and clothing. Food items include imported olive oil, coffee and chocolates, and cookies.

Shoppers will also find a taste of the south in the store.

Jars of Mr. D’s spices are available at the counter. Founded seven years ago in Tennessee by Dale Readus (aka Mr. D), the company specializes in offering all-purpose spices.

“If you can’t cook, you can cook with this (spice) — I guarantee it,” said Readus, who met Dowey while they were both working in the Job Corps. Readus, who lives in Seattle and flew out specifically to attend the store’s grand opening, recently retired after serving for 24 years in the Air Force. He currently works as a food inspector for the Department of Agriculture. He said sales of his spices has remained strong.

“I can’t keep it on the shelves,” he said.

Mayor Dean Mazzarella said the shop’s opening was further evidence that business is returning to the downtown area.

“We really tried hard to get a number of shops and retail downtown, trying to get more foot traffic in the area, more restaurants, and that’s a good thing,” Mazzarella said.

Dowey, who moved Leominster four years ago, said she hoped her store would cater to the city’s Italian population and beyond. She said that she would be hunting estate sales in search of more merchandise to offer.

“Once all this (inventory) is moved out and sold, we’re going to be picking and choosing certain furnishings that go with our theme, which is selective upscale (Italian) pieces,” she said. “I’m hoping this is just the beginning of a good thing. I’m very excited.”

Follow Landry on Twitter @Landry17Stephen

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