A gift shop as unique as its owners

A gift shop as unique as its owners

A gift shop as unique as its owners
May 31
18:02 2017

Kate Baroni | Staff Writer

Once a year, Beth Klein scours through various stores and vendors in the city of Tucson, Arizona, shopping until she can shop no more. She searches, haggles, bundles and ships everything back home to her Denton gift shop, Sleeping Lizzards, which boasts crafts from around the world.

“Sleeping Lizzards is a cornucopia of wonderful things you don’t need to survive, but you need to have beauty and creativity in your life,” Klein said. “It’s a place where we like to have everything you can’t find at Walmart.”

Klein, 53, is a joint owner of the store with Roxane Clark, 48. The two local artists have run the business together since its beginning. They have one other employee, Shari Cobb, 55, who has been with the pair for 18 years.

“People are always asking if we’re hiring, but no one ever quits,” Klein said jokingly.

Klein initially had a wholesale business but sold it so she could spend time with her daughter, leaving her with a ton of product she couldn’t make a return on. Clark approached Klein with the idea to rent a storefront for $100 a month, and the two decided to try it out. Twenty-three years and three locations later, Sleeping Lizzards remains a Denton staple.

The store is a maze of color and variety. Clothes, postcards, jewelry, soap, stones and artwork plaster every shelf, aisle and wall. It’s an adventure for customers to make their way through the shop, stopping often to look at the many various items.

“Honestly, we have a sink,” Klein said. “When people say ‘everything but the kitchen sink,’ we even have the kitchen sink. We have just about everything.”

Klein’s own style is clearly reflected through her shop. Her glasses are hip and stylish, and she wears multiple necklaces of various lengths over a bright orange shirt with a pink floral pattern. There’s a lot to notice.

Some of the store’s staples are sourced locally by Klein from the Dallas Market Center, a wholesale trade center. Most of the treasures in the shop, however, are acquired from crafters all over the world, from India to Peru to Germany. Klein and Clark also make products of their own.

Clark’s passion lies in her homemade soaps, which come in many unique themes. There are event and holiday themes, like baby shower bars and even a bar shaped like a bag of candy corn.

Being a silversmith, Klein’s specialty is jewelry production. She graduated UNT with a business degree, but her passion has always been in art. Whenever she isn’t working behind the counter, she’s working away in her studio in the back of the store.

Klein has even offered jewelry making classes at her studio in the past for as low as $25. Though lately, she’s been spending more time with her granddaughter, leaving less time for classes.

Still, if a group of three or more people approach her with interest, Klein is willing to work with their schedules to set something up. The classes are very informal, and Klein enjoys them most when her students make a get together out of the class.

“If somebody says ‘I want to have a party, or my book club wants to do this instead of discuss the book,’ let’s get together, pick a project [and] we’ll do that project,” Klein said. “It’s great fun when it’s a party. They can bring wine and refreshments.”

Klein has invested an admirable amount of time, effort and money into her shop over the years, coming to the conclusion that it’s been the best investment she’s ever made. There have been plenty of ups and downs, some lulls and booms in business, but one thing has always remained the same — the spelling of the store’s name is a hot item of contest.

Many people have puzzled over why the store’s name has two z’s. Once, a customer emailed the shop solely to inform Klein and Clark that they had misspelled the word “lizard.” Admittedly, the mystery behind the bizarre spelling isn’t quite what you might think. Their stories are just as whimsy and unique as their store.

“When we first opened, we were thinking in terms of signage and our logo,” Klein said. “Since [the name] is plural we were going to take the z’s and turn them into intertwining lizards, and we just never got around to it.”

Featured Image: Shop owner Beth Klein organizes pendants at Sleeping Lizzard on the corner of West Parkway Street and North Elm Street. Her and co-owner Roxane Clark have owned Sleeping Lizzard for 23 years. Cameron Roe

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Kayleigh Bywater

Kayleigh Bywater

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