Gifthorse offers variety for them, for home, for you

| November 23, 2011
Butch Sager and Shawn Beirne.

Butch Sager and Shawn Beirne.

It’s been said that the universe conspires to your thoughts, and for Shawn Beirne, co-owner of Gifthorse, that was certainly the case.

Since childhood, Beirne – a stylist at Joseph’s Salon & Spa – dreamt of owning a store. When the opportunity of opening one on Market Street came about, things began coming together quickly, especially the store name.

“It was sort of an accident,” Beirne said. “Everything kept falling into place, so to speak. The space was available, the timing was right. I was talking to a client at Joseph’s Salon and I said, ‘Everything just keeps happening,’ and she said, ‘You know, sometimes you put things out in the universe and you ask for things and it happens to you.’”

In light of his client’s observation, Beirne casually joked, “Yeah, don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.”

And with that, Beirne knew exactly what he and his partner, Butch Sager, would call their store.

Two weeks ago Gifthorse finally opened its doors at 805 E. Market St., offering a wide array of merchandise, from clothing, jewelry, fascinators, soaps, cuff links and artwork.

With the help of Sager, Beirne has filled his store with one-of-a-kind gift items “for them, for home, for you,” as the store’s slogan suggests.

Gifthorse.“It was that kind of concept – depending on whatever our whimsy was we wanted to be able to include it in the store and also include other people that we knew,” said Sager, a talented designer. “We wanted to have a store where somebody could come in and have a good chance of finding something. We didn’t want to niche the store into a particular category. We just decided that it was going to be a bit of a catch-all.”

Variety and originality are key concepts at Gifthorse. “It’s important to us that there not be 4,000 of one thing,” Beirne said. “There’s nothing worse than going somewhere and seeing someone wearing something you have on.”

Beirne and Sager have customized their merchandise in distinct and creative ways by incorporating several Louisville themes into their creations.

“I have loved trying to think creatively of how to include (Louisville themes) into the store in new, creative unique ways,” Sager said. “We have pillows with horse bits on them or cuff links with vintage Louisville railway tokens. It ties to Louisville but in a way that’s different or unexpected.”

Gifthorse.Customers can also find the highly in-demand floating acorn candles with authentic acorn caps filled with beeswax.

Gifthorse will carry the candles on a regular basis, but when it comes to other types of merchandise, Sager and Beirne strive to update their store week-by-week, so you likely won’t find the same thing twice in two visits.

“Every time you come in there’s going to be something new and something different,” Sager said.

And, best of all, absolutely nothing you find inside the store is off limits.

“Everything is for sale,” Beirne said. “I hate more than anything in the world to go to a store and find a ticket that says ‘not for sale.’ It drives me up the wall, so our thought is basically everything in here is for sale.”

From dresses, hats, accessories and home furnishings, it’s impossible not to walk into Gifthorse without walking away with a gift for a loved one or yourself.

Gifthorse.“That’s why we have our tagline – “for them, for home, for you” – because how many times have you gone out to buy something for someone else and you end up buying something for yourself?” Beirne asked. “Everyone’s allowed to buy themselves a gift as well as someone else. Anything in this store can be a gift for anybody.”

Gifthorse is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

For more information on Gifthorse, visit Gifthorse on Facebook or

Contact writer Ashley Anderson at, 502.498.2051.

photos by ASHLEY ANDERSON | Voice-Tribune

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Category: Business Profile

About the Author (Author Profile)

Ashley Anderson

Ashley spends half her time writing stories at The Voice-Tribune office and half her time out on the town conducting interviews, while occasionally dressing in wild outfits to fully immerse herself in the experience (aka Princess Leia at Comic Con). Ashley is a huge UofL fan and loves the Yankees and the Boston Celtics (she is fully aware of the irony). She hopes to one day outshine Erin Andrews on ESPN and enjoys running, Bardstown Road/Fourth Street, Breaking Bad and reality TV (she’s not ashamed to admit that).

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