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Wyckoff Family Opens Boutique that Donates Proceeds to Cancer Patients

Two sisters, their mom, and their aunt opened 'All is Well' Boutique in the township after the aunt's fight against ovarian cancer inspired them to give back.

Wyckoff sisters Catherine Saum and Erin Perna at All is Well.
Wyckoff sisters Catherine Saum and Erin Perna at All is Well.

A Wyckoff family recently opened a new shop in the township that they say will give the community a new way to give back.

All is Well’ opened on Everett Avenue in November, but the owners say the unique boutique has a long history.

The shop is owned by Wyckoff sisters Catherine Saum and Erin Perna, their mom Carolyn Gilbride, and their aunt Jayne Gilbride-Bauer.

The idea for the shop, the sisters said, came about when their aunt was diagnosed with ovarian cancer seven years ago.

“Our aunt is the type of person who is really positive,” Perna said.

“She just inspires people, that’s just how she is. So, of course her cancer and treatment had an impact on our family and we wanted to do something to help.”

In 2009, the Gilbride-Bauer started the ‘All is Well’ Foundation, and the quartet opened ‘Shop of 5th,’ a store on the Hackensack University Medical Center campus where patients undergoing chemotherapy and other cancer treatments could shop. That store sold mostly merchandise for patients, like wigs, headscarves, creams and lotions, queasy lollipops, and other treatment-related items.

“It was a one-stop-shop for people going through treatment to pick up what they really needed,” Saum said.

“But, we decided to add some cute items to the store as well – some nice scarves and some costume jewelry. People loved it, especially women because a lot of times going through chemo can make you feel a lot less feminine. It was a little thing, but they’d come in and pick up a bracelet and a scarf and it would help them feel beautiful again.”

The Foundation turned that store over to new owners after about a year-and-a-half running it, but the impact their items had on patients stayed with the family.

“We’ve wanted to open a storefront ever since, we were really just looking for a location,” Saum said. “We knew we wanted to open in Wyckoff, because this is where we are from.”

As luck would have it, a store on Everett Avenue just a few shops down from their mom’s tutoring business became available late last year.

“Our mom has owned Expert Tutoring in Wyckoff for the past 25 years, and we all work there,” Saum said. “When this location opened up, we knew it’d be perfect for what we wanted to do.”

All is Well is a storefront version of the HUMC store, but with a focus on the boutique items. It sells some headscarves and lotions for patients, but mostly is stocked with unique personal and gift items, like jewelry, accessories, and home goods. Many of the items in the shop are locally produced and handmade.

Part of the proceeds from every sale in the store go to the All is Well Foundation, which plans to donate the money to local families battling cancer, the family said.

“We donate directly to individuals,” Saum said.

“So, we can see, and community members who shop in the store can see the impact they are having.”

“You don’t feel like you’re shopping in a ‘cancer store,’” Perna said.

“We want people to come in here and feel happy. Everything is bright, we have inspirational quotes on the walls. We just want people to like what they are buying, and know that they are doing good at the same time.”

“We have items for patients, and information on where they can get other things they need,” Saum said.

“And with the rest of our merchandise, we really have a community feel. A lot of it is made by local artists, and there’s not one person who walks in the door that hasn’t had cancer touch their lives in some way. We hope this store will bring the community together.”

Learn more about All is Well on the Foundation’s website and the store’s Facebook page.

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