New Man on Barstow: Eau Claire native opens cozy downtown gift shop

Lauren Fisher, photos by Andrea Paulseth

SHELF LIFE. Matt Pabich recently opened Raggedy Man, a new gift shop, in downtown Eau Claire.
SHELF LIFE. Matt Pabich recently opened Raggedy Man, a new gift shop, in downtown Eau Claire.

The dog in the window isn’t for sale, but she might greet you at the door – with permission from store owner Matt Pabich – when you visit Raggedy Man. The new gift shop on South Barstow Street, named in reference to Matt Smith’s incarnation of the title character in Doctor Who, opened April 10.

Raggedy Man is cozy, painted mint green and gray-blue. Aromas from hundreds of candles and bath bombs perfume the air. Sometimes Pabich’s border collie-husky mix, Kaya, hangs around and watches goings-on from her bed near the window. The trickle of water spilling from the beak of a copper raven fountain plays backup to Pabich’s warm, enthusiastic voice.

Pabich grew up in Eau Claire, and moved back after completing a degree in graphic design in the Twin Cities. He worked for a graphic design company for four years, and got burned out working at a “desk job.”

I hate “soul searching,” Pabich said. “It just sounds like, ‘I went to the desert and found myself.’ ” The phrase doesn’t communicate the kind of contemplation Pabich did between shifts at a job that didn’t quite suit him. It took a year of consideration and discussion before he decided to go for it and open his shop. “This is what I always wanted to do, the time was right; it needs to be now,” he said.

“You can come in here and get a little baby present, get something for your mom,” Pabich said, gesturing to greeting cards and soft blankets. There are concrete teacup pots for the gardening enthusiast and prints for the art collector.

“I’ve gone to a couple of the other shops, like Red’s and Willow on Water Street, and had conversations with them,” Pabich said. “I didn’t want it to be like ‘here’s some competition,’ I wanted it to be like ‘here’s a balance.’ ” He aims to be aware of what other gift shops and boutiques in the area keep in stock and recommend his patrons visit them as well.

“What I came to realize is that more of my passion was sort of in this realm of creating a space where people can come to and buy things that they feel good about,” Pabich said. “The shift was like ‘OK, what can I do in Eau Claire? What can my contribution be?’ and that’s where Raggedy Man came about.”

Raggedy Man • 401 S. Barstow St., Eau Claire • Tuesday-Saturday 11am-6pm • (715) 895.8035 • •

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