Making connections.

That’s what Art Box in Ogden is really all about.

The new shop, recently opened on Historic 25th Street, is part boutique, part art studio and all coziness and friendliness. It’s a place where you feel welcome the minute you walk in the door, thanks to owners Judy Kelly and Deanna Leslie, who are long-time friends.

Kelly owned and operated two stores in the Laguna Beach and Irvine, California areas for several years. Three years ago, she closed those shops and moved with her husband from the beach to the mountains — Huntsville, to be exact.

She said she was thrilled when she discovered an available storefront along 25th Street, but she knew this time she wanted someone to go into business with her.

“It had been such a big undertaking before. I knew I didn’t want to do it by myself,” Kelly says. She called her friend Leslie, who was living in Seattle at the time, and told her about the opportunity and asked if she had any interest in being a part of it.

“She quit her job, packed up and moved here, and we just went to work.”

Kelly and Leslie specialize in offering an eclectic mix of home decor items, books and gourmet foods.

“We try to look for things that are quite unique,” Kelly says. “I travel to Bali twice a year and bring back things you won’t find here. I love to go to the different artist shows around the country and look at what those artists have to offer and bring back some of their unique offerings for the shop, too.”

Kelly said Art Box is a great place for people to go when they are looking for a unique gift.

“We like to consider our gifts as being thoughtful and thought-filled.”

A lot of the offerings in Art Box are interactive — a kit to make homemade pickles, a book in which the person receiving it writes letters to their future self or activities that people can do with their children.

People shopping at Art Box get a taste of things that are whimsical and make them smile.

Shoppers can also take time to make a candle when they come into Art Box. They then determine what shape of candle they want to make and how big. They pick out a fragrance and any embellishments would like to go with it. They cut up the wax and place it in the mold. Kelly and Leslie are then in charge of pouring hot wax into it with the fragrance and then the customers can place their embellishments on top.

“It’s a way people can make a candle without working hot wax,” Kelly explains. They work with chunks of wax. It’s not a traditional one-color candle. It’s got more character to it.”

Kelly likes to call them candle bouquets. Currently the shop has a number of holiday-themed embellishments to add to the candles. She said she will get different items as the seasons change. “The possibilities are endless. People can be extremely creative. They can keep it very simple or make it more involved.”

Within a couple of weeks, Cafe Muse will also be up and running in Art Box. There customers will be able to order espresso, tea, lattes, ice drinks, hot chocolate and sweet treats.

Customers can also have the opportunity to be part of a collective creative community project by participating in Art on a Box. At Art Box, they can purchase a wooden block for $5 and then embellish one side of it in any way they choose — with paints, nails, textiles…anything. They then bring it back, and it will become part of a permanent art installation in the community. All the proceeds for Art on a Box will go to the local art community. Kelly said so far, 60 blocks have been sold.

In keeping with the art theme of her shop, Kelly is displaying original artwork by Huntsville artist Mark Goodson, and she has spoken with a number of artists who are interested in teaching art classes.

Kelly said she loves the community feeling and charm that exist along 25th Street and is excited to be a part of it.

“It [the area] has taken a new direction. A lot more people are taking interest in the downtown area. I love the community aspect of it. It’s so fantastic to see so many people come together and really enjoy the community.”

Art Box is currently open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Saturday. Kelly said eventually the shop will be open on Friday and Saturday evenings, as well as Sundays by appointment.