Sarah Van Buskirk
The Hēling, an immersive boutique where the vibe brings the community together, emanates positive energy where one can always find a boho chic gift or something for yourself, owner Krista Chakmak said.
The boutique opened earlier this year on Bonita Avenue off of D Street.
Chakmak does not confine herself to one title. She considers herself a community builder. From the warm and inviting interactions she has with customers down to the smaller details such as using a signature scent of “Sparkle” for a friendly and recognizable feeling, Chakmak’s goal is to give off a comforting aura at her boutique.
“The Hēling is really a feeling when you enter into the space,” Chakmak said. “I really want to build a community within these walls.”
A taste of what The Hēling sells starts with a sale rack right outside filled with clothes at a discounted price. If after browsing for a possible deal you are drawn towards the calming metaphysical ambiance beaming off of the Victorian-style house of the boutique’s exterior, you will find a lot more clothing items ranging from bright corduroy statement jackets to neutral toned loungewear rompers on the other side of the door.
Shelley Johnson, a teacher at Roynon Elementary School, said The Hēling is one of the few places that checks all the boxes for her personal style.
“I consider my wardrobe ‘teacher chic,’” Johnson said. “So with the pieces from The Hēling I can wear them in the classroom or out on the town.”
Once one steps through the doorway, they are welcomed by bold floral wallpaper to corral the customer in a funky and campy environment that inspires fun.
Whether it is to spice up a boring outfit or for a calming self-care night, beaded tote bags or trendy slippers are just a few of the accessories to choose from. Wooden cheese boards and wine glasses are also available for a perfect way to start a girls night. Sentimental greeting cards can also be purchased to further spread positive energy to loved ones.
Vivian Ceniseroz, an Upland resident who works in Glendora, said she takes the side streets to work and always noticed the boutique but had never gone in until this week.
“This is my first time here and I actually stopped by to check out that beaded purse,” Ceniseroz said.
Owning a small business herself, Chakmak likes to display other pieces from locally or women-run businesses to support her ambitions of bringing the neighborhood together.
“There are a lot of pieces in the store here that have a lot of history,” Chakmak said. “I really want the pieces here to be unique and not to be purchased just to be purchased, but purchased for a cause.”
Born and raised in La Verne, Chakmak’s love for retail arose when she ventured out into her adult life. Leaving her hometown, she began working for high fashion brands such as Louis Vuitton and continued not only with her love for retail fashion but also for making connections.
After coming back to La Verne and being a stay-at-home mom, Chakmak started to work one day a week at Micky’s Jewelry Studio on D Street where she could passionately focus on fashion while still building meaningful relationships with customers.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Chakmak felt frustrated in many aspects of her life as well as at the state of the world at the time. She prioritized healing her mind, body, and spirit with devotional practices like breath work, sound baths, which are a meditative experience involving singing bowls echoing a room, and Reiki, a Japanese form of energy healing involving a practitioner, to feel at ease from the chaos surrounding her.
When the gyms shut down, Chakmak would take daily walks down Bonita Avenue. One of these times, she stumbled upon the building where she noticed an empty space and immediately got in contact with the owner of the building.
Chakmak pitched her vision to bring philanthropic energy through fashion to the local community and since February she has been successfully executing her dreams of owning a boutique.
“Being here is my favorite thing in the world,” Chakmak said. “I created a space that was exactly what I had wanted.”
The Hēling has healed Chakmak in her journey to a higher purpose as much as she wishes to heal those who feel drawn to stop by the boutique. Whether they buy something or not, Chakmak said she wants her customers to feel safe.
The Hēling hosts events open to the community throughout the month where “Hēlers” come together to show gratitude by having fun with activities such as painting parties and cocktail workshops.
The Hēling is located on 2040 Bonita Ave. The boutique is open Wednesdays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Visit thehelingboutique.com for more information about admission fees on upcoming events.
Sarah Van Buskirk can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.