I woke up this morning thinking about maybe checking out a new store that was having their grand opening today. That turned into a plan to hit three new stores in the area that were all either opening up today or having their grand openings. That turned into adding any other fairly new stores in town that I haven’t had a chance to check out, yet. I ended up making a day of it and doing all that plus stopping in at a couple that I’ve been to before, but added to my list “just because”!!!
And, it was a great day for it…..mid 30 temperatures (a major heat wave compared to what we’ve been experiencing). I ended up having a great time and some of the best conversations! At just about every stop, I ran into at least one or two or more people I knew and met several new friends. I love Albion and it makes me very happy to see so many new and interesting businesses opening up. And, I wasn’t the only one out and about shopping and checking out the new stores! Downtown Albion was busy – I had to drive around the block three times before I could find a place to park near the stores I wanted to visit – there were several people walking up and down Main Street with bags in their hands – every store I stopped at (in town and out of town) were full of happy shoppers – and I seemed to run into the same people at more than one store (were they following me or me following them? hehehe). Yes, it was a good day in the effort to support our local area businesses!
So, here is how my adventure progressed through the day:
My first stop was at the Uptown Browsery on Main Street near the canal (right next door to Knight’s Pride) – this is a brand new co-op type store with multiple vendors selling antiques, collectibles, and hand crafted items from local artisans. It is actually an expansion of the Downtown Browsery, which has been a popular business on Bank Street for a number of years. I was greeted by a very cheerful vendor who was happy to tell me all about their store and grand opening specials.
The Uptown Browsery store front
Inside, you’ll find a nicely laid out store with vendor booths on both sides.
Don’t you love the old ceiling tiles – great way to keep the historical integrity of our downtown buildings!!!
The beautiful locally made pottery caught my eye – I’ll have to remember this!!!
A nice display of lovely handmade quilted purses!
Lakeshore Alpacas sells products made from alpaca wool — very nice!!!
After I spent some time in the Uptown Browsery, I went next door to check out Knight’s Pride. I have been following this store on Facebook and drooling over the photos of gorgeous wood products posted on their page. I have been wanting to pop in and check them out in person for quite a while – he’s been open almost a year – but, just haven’t done it…..until now! And, was I glad I did!!! Knight’s Pride is owned by Jeremiah Knight (and he has a partner that I didn’t have a chance to meet). Jeremiah takes old wood, reclaims it, and works his magic to create some of the most beautiful items I’ve ever seen. I shamelessly joined in on a conversation he was having with another customer and learned that he was in the planning stages of turning an old baby grand piano into a book case of some kind by keeping the iconic look of the piano intact (turned up on its side) — the way he described what he planned to do was so interesting that I can not wait to see photos of it finished! He does custom pieces for customers and has many wonderful items already completed for sale in his shop. This is one talented young man!!! On a side note – I knew Jeremiah’s Mom, Kim Martillotta Muscarella – who owns Marti’s On Main art gallery in town – in school and I graduated with his Aunt Debbie Martillotta – who owns The Crooked Door restaurant.
Knight’s Pride store front at 120 North Main Street near the canal
Jeremiah’s shop is packed with beautiful works of art made from reclaimed wood
This chair caught my eye – as did several other pieces! Check out his Facebook page to see other photos of his work.
From there, I went up on the Ridge to check out the grand opening of Cobble-Ridge Co-op, which is located on Ridge Road next door to The Olde Dogge Inn, just east of the 104/98 intersection in Childs. This is a very nice co-op type store with multiple vendors selling antiques and hand crafted items. They just opened today and have big plans for the location – more vendors and some outdoor flea market events when the weather gets better. When I arrived, the parking lot was full and there were cars parked way up the side of road leading up to the store and quite a ways past it – a lot of shoppers came out to support their opening day! I can see this business doing well.
The Cobble-Ridge Co-Op from the road
And the front entrance
My friend Al Capurso and his sons Dan and Kenny were entertaining the shoppers! It was great to see them there!
Two of the vendor booths – the one on the right is all hand made quilted items – the one on the left are crafts made with (get this) paper cupcake cups! YES – I was fascinated when I looked at them closely and saw that the flowers heads were made with lots of little paper cupcake cups – how clever is that???
The store is laid out nicely with cute displays – like this vintage ironing board used to display items (and another one right behind it)
Next stop was Fair Haven Treasures just up the road on the corner of 104 and 98 – kitty corner across from the Village Inn. Carol Culhane – well known local artist – is the manager of this business focused on showcasing local artisans. The owners purchased an old brick home that was in BAD need of repair with the sole purpose of renovating it for use as an artist co-op. They are currently looking to fill the house with artists, authors, and high-end crafters who want to sell their work locally, as well as offering use of the space for book signings and art related events. They don’t charge space rental – they only ask for 20% of any sales. They did an amazing job of renovating this old home and making it into a wonderful showplace for local artists. I know first hand what they were dealing with when they bought the home – I actually looked at it when I was house hunting before I moved back to Albion in 2011. I was open to the idea of perhaps purchasing an old brick or cobblestone and fixing it up, but it didn’t take long to realize this particular home needed WAY more work, time, and money than I was willing to invest – but, I’m so very happy to see someone purchased it and was able to put it to such good use! It really is amazing!
Fair Haven Treasures – exterior from the driveway
One of two square baby grand pianos with art pieces displayed on top
The second square baby grand — two gorgeous pianos!
Some pieces displayed in a curio cabinet and a “work in progress” that I’d love to see when it is finished!
An old built in stove original to the home with a display of cups and saucers lined up on the mantle
On my way back through town, I decided to make a stop at my favorite gift shop – The Hazy Jade! Lisa Stratton runs this fabulous gift shop that is FULL – and I do mean FULL – of great gift items all hand crafted by local artisans. I love this place! Whenever I need a unique gift or something really special for someone really special, I head to The Hazy Jade!
The Hazy Jade Gift Shop store front
There are so many wonderful things there – you can wander through 2 or 3 times and still find things you missed seeing! And, it is all displayed beautifully!
BTW – Mom got me one of those handcrafted newsboy hats for Christmas — LOVE IT!!!
Next up on the agenda was a quick lunch at The Village House restaurant on Rt. 31 (the avenue) – if I was going to keep shopping, I had to fuel up!
The Village House Restaurant – popular local diner!
I had a cup of Italian Wedding Soup and the Tuna Pita Wrap – delicious! I can’t believe I ate the WHOLE thing! HA!
After I filled my belly, I headed out Rt 31 to the Fancher curve to check out the opening day for Antiques & Rusty Relics – they are located in that old railroad terminal where Big Ash is (Big Ash is still there – they just no longer need their big showroom, so it is now home to Antiques & Rusty Relics. This is a lovely shop loaded with furniture, what-nots, gadgets, crafts, and more. I had a nice chat with the owner – she said they have a LOT more to bring in, but the nasty weather made it difficult to transport everything they wanted to have there in time for their opening day. I thought they had a great selection of stuff…..guess I need to go back in a couple weeks to see what is added!!!
Antiques & Rusty Relics building — I LOVE their name – isn’t it great!!!???
Baskets and art and pottery and more!
This church bird house caught my eye — it made me think of a good friend who loves bird houses
There is a little foot stool in this section that I really liked – thought I took a photo of it, but didn’t! 😦
Everything is very nicely displayed — they did a great job setting up the store – very inviting and comfortable!
My last stop of the day was back in downtown Albion. I have been in the Downtown Browsery on Bank Street several times, so wasn’t going to stop in there, today, but decided to go ahead and pop in while I was out and about. The Downtown Browsery is the original location that has just recently branched out to a second location on Main Street – the Uptown Browsery I mentioned earlier in this post. They, too, have a number of vendors offering vintage items and hand crafted treasures in a co-op type store.
The Downtown Browsery store front
Many great vendors with cool stuff to browse through!
Some really cool handmade jewelry
Need some unique glasses for entertaining? They have some here for you!
Handmade baskets by Jan Ferries from Kendall — she was named one of the 100 top artisans in the country recently!!! Her work is beautiful, indeed!
This guy caught my eye — fence post frosty!!! So cute!!!
So, I obviously got a lot of photos, but did I come home with any actual purchases? Of course!!! I didn’t get much, but did pick up a few items I thought were special just for me!
A wooded birdhouse themed basket with a swivel handle and a cute little mitten ornament for my Christmas tree from The Uptown Browsery
Four packs of local lighthouse themed note cards from Fair Haven Treasures
A pack of beach themed note cards from Antiques & Rusty Relics
One of Jan Ferries’ beautiful baskets and two Lakeshore Alpacas’ items (socks and fingerless gloves) from Downtown Browsery (I regretted not getting an alpaca item when I was at the Uptown Browsery, so when I saw the Downtown Browery also had their stuff, I had to take advantage of it)
So….. that was my day…..my local shopping adventure!!! If you are in the area, please take advantage of these and other wonderful local shops in and around the Albion area! Shop locally – it feels good, you get some great stuff, and you help support your local businesses and your local economy!!!