Spruce Lane Shops: Meadowsweet Mercantile

Meadowsweet Mercantile
Neighborhood: Old City, Philadelphia
Vibe: Eclectic, Urban-chic, Artistic, Natural, Free Spirited
Good for: Textiles, vintage denim, t-shirts, locally made accessories, women’s apparel

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Meet Meadowsweet Mercantile in Old City, a veteran shop within the Philly retail landscape that has been on my watch list since I started Spruce Lane back in December. So, what is Meadowsweet Mercantile and why is it so great? Well, we can begin with the “what” by explaining that Meadowsweet is a gorgeous, spacious storefront that serves up an incredible mix of vintage denim and tees, along with other amazing apparel and accessories from some of the area's best local vendors. Considering that 90’s fashion is very much "in" at the moment, this shop is a haven for denim aficionados looking to channel laid back, street style vibes. You can also find an eclectic mix of t-shirts and colorful tops to pair perfectly with your newfound denim. Some of my favorite picks included a rainbow Phish band tee as well as a Camden Catholic High School Football long-sleeved shirt. My mother went to Camden Catholic so I knew she would get a kick out of seeing that. I mean, where else can you find such hidden gems?

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In addition to the rad vintage selection, Meadowsweet features a nice assortment of women’s apparel from long-time vendors Lilian Jackson Textiles and Riverside Tool and Dye, amongst others. Organized by every hue of the rainbow, these colorful organic cotton pieces are perfect for keeping cool during the dog days of summer we have ahead of us. The shop also offers a mix of home goods, gifts and accessories that are utterly charming. I absolutely loved the ceramics section with locally made mugs, catch-all dishes, bowls and more. We ended up buying a speckled trinket dish to go in our living room that brightens my day every time I see it. Basically, if you purchase anything from here you can rest assured know you are taking something very cool home with you. 

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So, onto the “why” part of my initial question. If you couldn’t tell from my aforementioned description of Meadowsweet and all it has to offer, the place really is something special. To add to the excitement of visiting this boutique, It is linked up with an awesome textile shop called Cuttalossa. Cuttalossa sells handmade linens, towels, pillows, napkins, you name it! Both stores’ aesthetics compliment one another so nicely and the entire space feels very cohesive. I really appreciate seeing local shop owners collaborate together like these two do. If you follow Meadowsweet Mercantile on Instagram, you will be able to keep tabs on the many exciting events these shops coordinate each season. There was a wine and cheese tasting in the spring that I was dying to attend (totally would have if I weren't traveling for my FT job, sigh). Hopefully there will be another opportunity soon!

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I chatted with store owner, Stacy Jackson, a bit to hear about her career leading up to the shop and what she finds important about running a small business given the market's competitive nature with online shopping and big name brands. Stacy has been involved with small business since her teens, accruing a wealth of knowledge through the many different professional hats she wore leading up to the launch of Meadowsweet in 2011. A few of her experiences included working at a coffee shop, a doctor's office, and eventually at Anthropologie's Walnut St. location. Each experience helped shape her views on comparing the nuances of small vs. big businesses and what is required operationally to manage each type. Jackson emphasizes that merchandising and special events are other key components to staying fresh in the Philly boutique scene. Shopping online has become so convenient (and an obvious threat to small business owners), but a visually appealing space with one of a kind pieces and interactive elements such as DIY workshops or designer pop-ups is unrivaled in e-commerce. These are the tangible things that make Meadowsweet and many of Philly's other small boutiques so special and irreplaceable. 

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I really believe that shops like Meadowsweet Mercantile, and many of the others I've featured on this blog are a crucial part of the city; more than many people realize. Could you imagine if you walked down the streets of Old City and only could find big name stores like Kohl's, Target, Williams Sonoma, etc.? *No particular judgment on those companies, just the first that came to my mind. Life would be so boring and commercialized! Meadowsweet, and boutique shops in general represent a pillar of Philadelphia's tourism. They are just as important as the many superb restaurants and sights the city has to offer. 

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Experience the charm of Meadowsweet Mercantile for yourself by visiting the shop located at 47 N 2nd St, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Heck, you may even see me there shopping for my next pair of denim shorts, because I'm just about done with my old pair of H&M ones. Their beautiful Instagram feed is another way to stay connected, so shoot them a follow at @meadowsweetmercantile.  

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Shop on.

Spruce Lane Shops: Millay

Millay
Neighborhood: Manayunk, PA
Vibe: Feminine, natural, serene, posh
Good for: Vintage finds, jewelry, accessories, gifts, apothecary, home

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Take a step inside Millay, the beautifully curated vintage shop in located in Philadelphia’s Manayunk neighborhood. This shop has been on my list of places to visit quite some time now due to its impressive vintage assortment and amazing Instagram content. With its light and airy motifs, complete with the perfect touches of natural greenery, the interiors alone set this boutique apart from many others. The creative and artistic vision of owner, Mary Spears, is very apparent throughout the space.

Featuring a 1960's Floral Mod Maxi Shirtdress With Pockets & Belt; $75

Featuring a 1960's Floral Mod Maxi Shirtdress With Pockets & Belt; $75

Millay specializes in mixing vintage and modern clothing, and contextualizing them both to have a timeless appeal. Vintage ranging from the early 1900's-1990's comprises about 60% of the shop's inventory while modern ethical* designers make up the other 40%. On each vintage item, the hang tag details what era the piece is from and helps translate sizing to today’s standards, which was an interesting tidbit to learn. I didn’t even consider that the sizing scales have shifted over the years. Overall, regardless of the era or being modern vs. vintage, everything here feels wearable which is great.

*Ethical meaning the designers do not use polyester or other synthetics when producing their garments. 

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Aside from the beautiful clothing, you can also shop gifts, home goods, apothecary, jewelry and accessories here. All items are made by emerging female artisans from the US and abroad, which I love. Girl power! I noticed a few of my own favorite local brands gracing Millay’s shelves, including candles and apothecary from Zoet Bathlatier and jewelry from Whim.

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As I’m sure you know by now, I love to learn how the shops that I visit develop into what they are today. They all tend to include similar components of very hard work, some raw talent, and sometimes, a pinch of luck. The scenario is no different here. The name Millay takes inspiration from Mary’s favorite poet Edna St. Vincent Millay, the first female Pulitzer Prize winner for poetry in the 1910s. She told me that Millay really started as a hobby of collecting vintage goods from local flea markets, antique shows, or auctions for her home that previously was in Boston. When her stock started to pile up, she decided to sell some goods on Etsy to make some extra money while in graduate school. After using Etsy for some time, Mary grew tired of selling through a 3rd party and wanted to evolve Millay into something of its own. This is when she learned how to code and launched her online business - talk about some serious motivation and brainpower! The site quickly garnered some press attention, as Millay was one of the first shops to successfully curate vintage in a modernized way, launching Mary and her brand into the spotlight.

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Three years ago, Mary and her husband relocated from Boston to Philadelphia. While her husband attended medical school here, Mary continued to grow Millay and opened the Manayunk storefront, which was previously owned by another fantastic vintage shop called Meadowsweet Mercantile (another one on my "to feature list”!). Meadowsweet is now in Old City, but I love the synergy between these small business owners and how everything feels connected and supportive. 

Featuring a 1940's Vibrant Embroidered Peasant Blouse With Pockets; $105 (I'm obsessed with this!)

Featuring a 1940's Vibrant Embroidered Peasant Blouse With Pockets; $105 (I'm obsessed with this!)

Fast forward to today, and here we are! Millay is about to undergo another big transformation. On May 13th, the doors will bittersweetly (I'm not entirely sure if that’s a real word but it feels like the best one to use) close in Manayunk, but for good reason. Mary and her husband are going back to their roots in Boston, and she is taking Millay with her! Luckily for us Philadelphians, the online shop still exists so we still have access to many of these incredible items. But, with that being said, since time is limited I highly encourage all of you to get over to Manayunk to check out Millay and shop many of its one-of-a-kind items. Personally, I haven’t spent much time in Manayunk up until this point, but Millay's street is super charming and has tons of action around it. You could totally make a day out of your visit, grabbing lunch or dinner nearby.

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All in all, Millay totally lived up to my dreamy Instagram expectations. The store itself is beyond beautiful and there were numerous vintage pieces I would love to buy and wear this summer. I’ve never really shopped vintage clothing before, so Millay has done a great job of opening my eyes and mind to this sector. Lastly, Mary is super talented, knowledgeable, and a great person to chat with if you’re simply interested in fashion, entrepreneurship, art history, and things of that nature. Stop by Millay during its final weeks in Manayunk to celebrate and experience this awesome boutique! Wishing Mary, Millay, and her hilarious dog “General Gazpacho” (who makes guest appearances on Millay’s Instagram account) the best of luck in their new and exciting chapter!

Shop on,
Spruce Lane

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Spruce Lane Shops: Art in the Age

Art in the Age
Neighborhood: Old City, Philadelphia
Vibe: Artistic, rustic, community-focused, niche, creative, upscale
Good for: Anything and everything bar-related: books, glassware, decanters, flasks, mixers PLUS gifts, accessories and more

Art in the Age

Art in the Age

When I first dove into Spruce Lane and started to do my research for places to see, I knew Art in the Age in Old City was a key player, but wasn’t exactly sure what it entailed as it’s so different (in a good way) from most traditional boutiques. “Is it a store, or a bar? What kind of things can you buy there?” were some of the questions I asked myself. With an Instagram following of 20K+ users, this place had to be something special. Once I was able to finally visit Art in the Age myself, everything seemed to click and I understood why it has such a great reputation and high level of respect from the local community. 

Art in the Age

Art in the Age

Art in the Age (AITA for short) is a home bar supply store and tasting room. That’s right, two concepts in one shop which makes it a very cool place to experience. Through their Instagram account, I saw that they were hosting a release party for a new spirit and decided to buy tickets for the event with my boyfriend. It was the debut of their Fortunato’s Fate whiskey in partnership with local distillery, New Liberty, and also was part of The Rosenbach’s super fun Bibliococktails Series. Again, we weren’t really sure what to expect but we figured it’d be a fun way to see AITA for the first time while also grabbing a drink after work. When we walked in, we were very pleasantly surprised. Not only because the store was strikingly beautiful, but also because it was full of people and we were right on time for the event! Having coordinated these types of events in previous jobs of mine, I knew this turnout was impressive. When we beat the crowd to the bar (that is inside of the store), we ordered two specialty Fortunato's Fate cocktails that were both very tasty and went down smoothly. We also really enjoyed hearing from “The Philly Poe Guy” who humorously spoke at length about the historical context of the whiskey’s name, as it was inspired from Edgar Allen Poe’s short story, The Cask of Amontillado.

Art in the Age

Art in the Age

This overarching theme of showing an appreciation for local history while adding a modern twist became very prevalent after attending the event and later touring the rest of the AITA shop. The store's name is actually derived from Walter Benjamin’s 1935 essay, Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, paying homage to Benjamin's affinity for American craftsmanship and heritage which is clearly reflected within the store and overall brand.

Art in the Age

Art in the Age

For us shoppers who are dying to know more about what you can buy here, the list of bar-related items is extensive, so I’ll shout out a few things that stood out to me.

  1. Books - If you want to educate yourself on the makings of a specific cocktail or the anatomy of your favorite spirit, then you are in luck. There is a heap of really cool, creative cocktail recipe books here. The colorful Bloody Mary book cover jumped out at me. I'd love to display this in a bright, sunny kitchen or on a coffee table at home. 

  2. Glassware - There is a specific area dedicated purely to beautiful decanters, tumblers, shakers, stirrers, you name it. This is definitely the place to go if you want to impress your significant other, or anyone really, with a very nice piece to add to their barware collection. AITA also has a unique collection of vintage items too for the more serious collectors. 

  3. Spirits + Mixers - Well, obviously you will find a wide variety here considering that Art in the Age is a cordial brand itself and converted into an 'artists' collective' retail space ten years ago. You can shop from their line of products that have incredibly creative tastes (Sierra Fig and Black Trumpet Blueberry, anyone?), as well as spirits from the aforementioned New Liberty Distillery along with syrups, bitters, mixers, and more. Oh yes, and they also have booze-flavored lollipops if that's up your alley. The margarita flavor was pretty intriguing.

  4. Home, Gifts, Apparel - To top it all off, you can shop from a variety of unique gifts and AITA branded apparel here too. Shop herbal teas from local vendor, Terra Luna, as well as small batch soaps, cute stationery, and pantry items. The AITA logo is very cool, so I'm definitely contemplating buying myself a t-shirt to rock around the streets of Philadelphia. 

Art in the Age

Art in the Age

After the event, my boyfriend and I came back to AITA on a Saturday morning to do this shoot and learn a little more about the store and brand. Upon taking another tour, we left feeling humbled by the level of expertise each staff member had about the retail space, spirits industry, and brand heritage. What a great and unique post to have in the Philadelphia community, we thought. I plan to come back to experience the tasting room during happy hour and hopefully attend another workshop or event. To keep an eye on all things AITA and see what's next on their ever-evolving schedule, follow them on Instagram at @artintheage.

Till next time!

Art in the Age

Art in the Age

Spruce Lane Shops: Ritual Ritual

Ritual Ritual
Neighborhood: Northern Liberties, Philadelphia
Vibe: Artistic, edgy, bohemian, spiritual, eclectic, whimsical
Good for: Jewelry, Watches, Vintage, Gifts, Apothecary, Stationery, Little Bit of Everything

Ritual Ritual in Northern Liberties. Where do I start? This place is sooo cool (sorry about the fangirling but I can’t help it). I really love stores that effortlessly put you in their setting. What I mean is that when you step inside, you’re entering into their special, beautifully crafted world that has this unique ambiance where everything makes sense. Woah, that was kind of deep, but that is how I felt when I discovered Ritual Ritual.

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Ritual Ritual has been around for about three years now and has definitely made a strong name for itself within Philly’s boutique scene. I’ve read about the store in several prominent titles including Racked and Philly Mag, and also have followed the Founder and Owner, Angela Monaco’s, evolution a bit as well. Angela is an entrepreneur, jewelry designer, and metalsmith (pretty cool, I know). She first started out by launching her own jewelry line called Concrete Polish in 2009, that eventually developed into a jewelry studio and showroom to showcase her beautiful work. After achieving some success, her Concrete Polish studio expanded into a shop called Ritual Ritual, which serves as a creative collective to host numerous independent designers and brands alike, in addition to her own. This is actually a common theme I am finding as I explore these PA-based boutiques. I appreciate how these store owners are giving back to their communities, by lending their boutiques as a platform for other local artists, designers, vendors, etc. to become discovered. This is obviously a topic I am really passionate about, hence the entire concept behind Spruce Lane.

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Sorry, got off on a bit of a tangent there. To make a long story short, Angela most recently reincarnated again by rebranding Concrete Polished into a namesake, fine jewelry brand called Angela Monaco Jewelry. Concrete still exists, but is now categorized as fashion and at a more entry price point. You can find her beautiful designs, along with jewelry from other local designers all at Ritual Ritual.

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Aside from the jewels, which again is kind of the bread and butter of this place, you can also find an extensive line of amazing apothecary goods, candles, plants, stationary, and vintage clothing at this store. There’s a little bit of everything here, but what remains consistent is the quirky, eclectic vibe that each piece embodies. There are tarot cards, a mix of funny pins and patches, different symbolic crystals, and a full blown healing room! The store was hosting tarot readings the afternoon I came in, but you also can get a massage there. What other store blends healing, spirituality, design, and retail so seamlessly?

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Although the store itself was absolutely delightful, my favorite part was exploring Angela’s creative station. She kindly gave me free rein of the back portion of her store and I felt really inspired seeing her countless design tools sprawled out amid an adjacent mood board mounted on the wall. I could really see her talent and passion through observing her workshop. It’s unique, and a testament to the success she’s achieved as a designer and entrepreneur in Philadelphia.

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So, with that being said if you find yourself in the Northern Liberties neighborhood any time soon, you should most definitely pay Ritual Ritual a visit. It’s a veteran shop and I can assure you, you will find yourself lost in time taking in all of the beautiful baubles this special place has to offer.

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Spruce Lane Shops: WorKS Kennett Square

WorKS Kennett Square
Neighborhood: Kennett Square, PA
Vibe: Industrial chic, eclectic, artisanal
Good for: Vintage goods, homeware, handmade jewelry, leather goods, children's items, gifts

WorKS first caught my eye on Instagram when Philly Mag shared a snapshot of their interior. The photo was simple, depicting a few bookshelf displays with various candles, soaps, lotions and flowers dispersed throughout. The color palette was light and refreshing, yet the furniture and pieces felt aged and loved. It was an intriguing combination of old and new.

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WorKS also has significance because my boyfriend is from West Chester, PA, which is only a few miles away from Kennett. Compared to my hometown of Devon, West Chester has more of a country feel and charm to it. With sprawling fields and beautiful farmhouses dotting the scenic roads, I was very excited to explore the local shopping scene in this new part of town. My hope was that it might reflect the pretty countryside landscapes.  

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I was able to stop by the store late on a Saturday afternoon, during the arctic chill that has been gripping the area for the past few weeks. Upon walking in, I was surprised to see so many different hubs of product. There was ceramic goods in one corner, tasteful wooden home accessories at the front, a beautiful display of antique chairs to my right, and plenty more as you made your way through the store. To my delight, there was so much more to WorKS than I saw in that initial Instagram photo! There truly is something for everyone in this remarkable space. 

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I briefly chatted with the lovely owner and learned that WorKS prides itself as a space to feature a rotation of some of the area's top local vendors; a concept that I hold near and dear to my heart and that aligns perfectly with the mission of Spruce Lane! Each vendor had its own space, but everything also blended effortlessly because it all was at a high caliber and quality. Some vendor call-outs include Arden + James, Whim Jewelry, Eastcote Lane, Chairloom, Vestige Home, Northern Roots Jewelry, Fresh Vintage Goods, and Zoet Bathlatier. I spent nearly an hour in the store because I couldn't get enough of all of the unique items. The jewelry displays were intricate while the vintage items were charming but also quirky and fun.

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My boyfriend and I both agreed that we would be back to WorKS soon, and daydreamed about how nice it would be when the weather is warm and the store's retracting garage-style windows would be open, letting in a subtle breeze. 

I encourage all of you to visit this unique space, because as I mentioned before, the pictures don't do it justice and there is much more to it than what meets the eye. 'Till next time, WorKS!

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Spruce Lane Shops: Moon + Arrow

Moon + Arrow
Neighborhood: Queen Village, Philadelphia
Vibe: Bohemian chic, vintage, natural, whimsical
Good for: Handmade jewelry, apothecary goods, homeware, gifting, women's apparel

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Welcome to Moon + Arrow, arguably one of the best vintage shops in Philadelphia! I first encountered Moon + Arrow through my full time job, as they generously donated a gift card to the nonprofit I am working for. It was a Saturday morning and I had just finished a cappuccino at the nearby Hungry Pigeon, when I strolled into the bustling boutique to pick up the donation. The store was filled with shoppers and I felt a wave of excitement come over me, as I knew I had just discovered something special that I was eager to learn more about. 

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Moon + Arrow is located in Queen Village and is known for their unique assortment of vintage and handmade goods. The store has a very bohemian feel to it, due to the many baubles, trinkets, and greenery interspersed throughout the space. To delve a little deeper, you can shop for unique finds in the apparel section, browse an impressive jewelry assortment, pick out a gorgeous candle for your home, hit the apothecary stand for all of your cosmetic needs, and SO much more. There is a wide range of product with varying price levels here, which is great because you can leave with something small or purchase an investment piece that you know you won't find anywhere else. I especially appreciate this wide appeal, being a young working professional that is usually on a budget but sometimes can't help a worthy splurge! :) 

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I particularly gravitated towards the apothecary selection as well as the home items as they both felt very natural, understated, and chic in their presentations. My sister had a "spa-themed" Christmas list this year, so I picked up some Himalayan bath salts, a pink clay mask, and natural vapor rub for the cold season ahead. It was the perfect trio of small gifts and I loved giving her specialty items that couldn't be found at larger chain stores. 

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A few weeks later, I returned to Moon + Arrow to attend one their special events and shoot some photos of the gorgeous interiors. They were hosting their Winter Solstice Celebration that featured pop-up vendors Ferox Studio and Idol Light jewelry, as well as Tarot Card readings and hot toddies courtesy of Terra Luna herbals. It was a very pleasant evening of shopping and was a great kick off to the upcoming Christmas weekend! 

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I was so appreciative to have had the opportunity attend the event and to get some shots to feature on the blog. A big thank you to Moon + Arrow for firstly being such an awesome store, and secondly for warmly welcoming me (a beginner blogger) to their space! It's safe to say that I'll be back again, and you most certainly should come visit too! The store is located at 754 S. 4th Street in Philadelphia, PA 19147. 

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Follow Moon + Arrow on Instagram at @shopmoonandarrow for all store updates, including their next upcoming workshop on natural skincare with Terra Luna and Moko Organic Beauty! The event takes place on January 11, from 7:15-8:30pm at the shop, for more details click here

Shop on, 

Spruce Lane