The Shops Are Closing!

Cranberrys & Lace

Cranberrys & Lace

A couple of years ago (while I was still in Florida) I wrote a blog about how “diminished” our towns would be if all the independent boutique-style shops closed. In particular I was speaking about yarn-shop patrons succumbing to the lure of the Internet.  Apparently the situation that prompted that blog has worsened.

Shop 256I got an email from two friends, partners in the boutique Shop 256 in Morganton.  It’s a mix of antiques, hand-painted furniture, and a very interesting line of clothes.  Aside from being friends to each other, they made friends out of all their customers.  Unfortunately, there just weren’t enough customers and they are closing up their shop soon.  There’s a big sale going on now as they liquidate their stock.

Three days ago, in another boutique called Cranberrys and Lace, not far from Shop 256, I stopped by to say hello to the owner/operator and was shocked to hear that she’s closing in a couple of months with the big sell-off starting in April.  She was one of those shops that had a bit of everything country:  furniture, antiques, paintings and prints, lamps, linens, candles, and handmade dolls.  While this type of shop is as common as crabgrass in New England, it’s uncommon here and I was happy to patronize it.  Now I’m sick that she’s closing.  Some of her items will be in an antique mall at Exit 90 off Hwy 40, and she’ll be decorating a local furniture store with her “smalls,” but for me it just won’t be the same.

I took one of my country drives today.  It was sunny and 70, and my windows were down for the first time this spring.  The trees are all blooming white, purple, and lavender, and the daffodils have turned these mountains almost completely yellow.  The smoky smell has left the air, and now everything smells like moist dirt – one of my favorite fragrances. I visited a shop in Shelby called Country Heart, and there I learned that the owner of the building is looking to sell, so they will be moving “to something smaller.”  At least they’re not going out of business, but the owner had much to say about the competition of the Internet.  I also learned of some other country/primitive places nearby that were closing, and I came home wondering when this recession that everyone says is over will actually be over.  It’s certainly not over in Western North Carolina.

Do I need anything from these shops?  No, of course not.  But like a lot of people, I like decorating for each holiday, and trends change – which is why they call them trends.  I can buy a lot of this stuff on Etsy, Ebay, and even Amazon.  And yes, perhaps I can save a little. But I can’t drive down a country road to get to Etsy, Ebay or Amazon.  I can’t have a conversation with an Etsy, Ebay or Amazon shop owner.  And I can’t walk into an Etsy, Ebay or Amazon shop and smell those cinnamon or maple syrup candles.  I can’t pick up an item to see if it has some heft to it.  And I can’t take it home with me and set it out right away and stare at it, happy with my purchase.

I get the Etsy, Ebay, and Amazon shopping experience.  I buy almost all my books, dvds, cds, etc. from one or another.  I’m even buying plumbing supplies and some architectural items for this home renovation.  But when these little country/primitive/boutique-style shops are all gone, I am going to be completely miserable; not just missing the country drives, but missing my friends as well.

About Patsye

I am an older woman and artist. I love to craft. I love to sew and knit and crochet and needlepoint. I love to paint and draw and make art with my hands. Being creative is what gets me up in the morning. Art is my tea, my fresh air, my good book, and my cats all rolled into one. I have much to share and hope you'll visit often.
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4 Responses to The Shops Are Closing!

  1. Rose Marie Toubes says:

    I’m a 58-year-old community college English teacher on the first day back from Spring Break in Ankeny, Iowa — a growing city north of Des Moines, Iowa. Over break I did nothing but punch needle hook a “rose rug” — my name is “Rose” and I wanted to make a rose rug since the 8th grade. That’s 44 years! I made the rug to get certified in Punch Needle Rug Hooking by Amy Oxford, who runs a punch needle rug hooking school that opened last year in Cornwall, Vermont outside Middlebury, where I studied last summer.. She bought a large, colonial-style home (circa 1800s) and converted it into a teaching and living space for visiting students. Look up her school if you’re interested. (Amy Oxford Rug School)

    i I like rug hooking and weaving and have studied these crafts in Vermont and Massachusetts (and even New Hampshire) during many summers over the last two decades. I love the New England craft and kitsch shops. Gee whiz, I love New England (in the summertime, anyway). But this summer of 2014 I want to go to the Caraway Rug Camp in Asheboro, NC in mid-June. I just spoke with Eric Sandburg, the rug camp director, and he said there were still places available. I have a cousin who lives in Summerville (near Greensboro). She is fighting ovarian cancer, and I want to go out and visit her in June either before or after the camp.

    I would like to correspond with you. It’s been my dream to have a rug shop in Iowa somewhere. What you say in your blog remarks about people’s shops is very discouraging, especially for a more tourist-oriented state like North Carolina.

    I have my shop fantasy going big timeI I’ve been collecting vintage rug patterns for seven years (off of eBay and Etsy). I guess what I’ll probably do after I retire (with the Lord’s blessing) is teach some rug hooking classes and maybe have a mall kiosk where people could come and hook coasters for a couple of hours. I might teach at the senior center near my home. Even my own sister (who is an estate planner and financial expert) says a shop will eat up all my cash, take all my time, and I won’t have time to hook rugs. She’s probably right. What I really want is a place where I could come to weave and hook rugs, and other friendly fiber arts crafters could come by and schmooze and do their art with me and we’d keep each other company and bounce ideas off of each other. That’s what I’d really like. I could see doing that many times a week in retirement.

    In various communities in Sweden there are weaving “homes” set aside for this very purpose. I get a Swedish weaving magazine (Vav) that describes these wonderful community centers (usually in houses purchased for the purpose) where people come together, serving the social function that I think we all crave, but no one has to worry about a business.

    It was nice talking to you. Would love to correspond with you again when I have time. The onslaught of papers hasn’t hit yet. Seven more weeks until summer break in early may.

    • whimseytopia says:

      Hi Rose Marie: I am so glad you wrote, and I enjoyed reading about your dreams for rug hooking. I didn’t know about the school in NC, and I may look into that. I do know Amy, and I was to have been certified last summer but a friend of mine took ill and my schedule changed entirely. I design my own rugs, and two of them are posted on Amy’s website in the “gallery.” I have all her needles, and LOVE them. Punch needle, both big and small, is a passion of mine, but if you were to read on in my posts, you’d learn I have several “passions” and I jump from one to the other from time to time, and never, ever get bored. I’m about to start teaching a painting class at AC Moore, and am currently in the throes of designing new projects for future classes. I, by the way, design all my own rug patterns, and have many of them. If I could just get myself in gear, selling them might be a good revenue stream too.
      But I need to keep these hands busy, and I know you know what I mean. I wish you lived closer. You would love it here. Not flat, but very hilly and full of lots of small, artsy-fartsy towns rife with artsy-fartsy women. I love it here.
      You can write through this site, or write to me directly at I hope to hear from you again, and I will be sending good thoughts for your cousin’s full recovery. Would like to get to know you better. Patsye

  2. I agrtee Patsy, I hate seeing the small, shops and boutiques closing. In the case of Cranberry and Lace, which you kindly took me to, I think I know why. For the all those it is sad. I need to see certain things in person. Now I do buy books most times on Amazon but that is because you cant beat the price but I still buy books. I am not interested at this point in a Kindle, I like holding a book, taking notes or underlining a sentence. Gift shops that are unique or even for me fabric stores, there is nothing like walking in and seeing , feeling , smelling, etc the product.

  3. averyclaire says:

    I am with you Patsye…..I love these little shops and I try to patronize them whenever I can and wherever I go! It is so sad….but I understand if these people are losing money. Lucky you with Spring arriving already. Here in Chicago…we still had snow flurries this morning. No daffodils or crocus yet. I think it will happen soon. I did see a few peeks of green daffs coming out of the earth! Long for the warmth!

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