A weekly column by Catherine Dugan. This week: Treasure-hunting at the West End Garage.
I DON’T need an excuse to go shopping, but if I did, Ladies Night at the West End Garage would be it. I already love this combination retail and gallery space, which opened in West Cape May in 2009. Add music, food, a fashion show and wine – with my sister Tara, a West End vendor, pouring – and I’m there!
Unusual finds abound at the West End Garage, so the Ladies Night menu, featuring cauliflower white chocolate soup from the Ebbitt Room, fit right in. Even without the wine, the funky vibe this unusual space invites you to linger. Where else can you find a T-shirt to last a season, art to hang on your wall for life, and furniture to pass on to the next generation?
In front, the Artists’ Cooperative showcases the work of 28 local artists, in materials ranging from beach glass to gourds. To the rear, vendors offer new items, antiques and collectibles. The shoppers are equally diverse – I bought a natural sponge to pamper my skin, and the next shopper picked one like it for her science project.
Halloween on your mind? Consider a bat shirt from Wyndina, a witchy apron and hat, or pumpkin candles. Happy Baby offers tiny tutus, to be worn alone or in combination, for costumes or every day adorableness.
Holiday shopping? Consider affordable ornaments, jewelry, or photographs. Need a gift for a teacher or co-worker? You’ll find it here. Antiques aficionados will find a wide range of periods to choose from. Lovers of the Victorian era can find their treasures. Arts and Crafts? Here’s a Limbert oak rocker. Mid-century modern? How about some McCoy and Hull art pottery? A woman lingering at the Scout & Annie booth pondered the logistics of shipping Brock of California “Desert Mist” tableware back to her Eichler of California home – expensive, but, “This stuff is hard to find!”
Pondering is part of the fun, but if you see something you really like, don’t hesitate. Most of these are one-of-a-kind pieces, so when they are gone, that’s it. I saw one disappointed shopper clinging to a surprised vendor, wailing about the sold sign on “her” table. The artwork is unique, too, so commit when you fall in love with a piece you can afford. You’ll find something new every time you visit.
The West End Garage has no high-pressure sales force – you can wander at your leisure, and volunteers periodically check in with you and offer to hold your items at the check out. Prices range from pocket change to platinum card – there truly is something for everyone at the West End Garage.
Next Week: Greet the Ghosts