BY BILL BROWN
In the market for a used Fender Stratocaster, a string of lights, or earrings?
Sometimes, shoppers stumble upon treasures in unexpected places. Hardware stores, for example, or eccentric little shops with irregular hours.
Yes, Ace Hardware sells hardware, but it also sells housewares, and live plants. Ace’s outdoor garden center is one of their most popular departments.
Customers can find quirky items and knick-knacks, too, such as dog toys, sleep masks, and unique candy and sodas.
Trees and wreaths at Ace Hardware’s outdoor gardening center at rear of store.
Apparently make-your-own soda is a popular practice in Takoma Park. One of their biggest sellers are Soda Stream, soda-making equipment and supplies.
Ace’s holiday-season wares tend to be decorative: live trees, wreaths, holiday lighting and lighting storage systems, ornaments, pet gifts, wrapping paper, tree stands, artificial trees, live poinsettias, Santa hats, and hanging basket decorations, wreath hangers. The store sells some toys, including Goldie Blox, which assistant manager Nate Duncan described as “Barbie meets Bob the Builder,” Hanukkah items are on clearance.
Toys, ornaments, glitter, and the seasonal classic – spray-on snow.
Winter-season wares include cold-weather wear: gloves, hats, etc. snow shovels, ice-melt, firewood, and outdoor fire pits.
Ace is having a clearance sale on Weber grills, and will have a post-holiday sale.
The hardware store opened in July 2010, owned by Gina Schaefer. Repeat customers soon get to know the ever-present, gregarious and very tall Eric Hardy, store manager.
Takoma Old Town Gallery and ArtSpring
Takoma Old Town Gallery. Entrance on right leads to both stores.
The Gallery shares an entrance and a number of passageways with ArtSpring. Once inside it is easy to step from one shop to the other.
ArtSpring’s window adjacent to Takoma Old Town Gallery.
Takoma Old Town has antique furniture, photographs, ceramics and art. Their stock changes constantly, but they recently had two doll houses (one sold), Mission-style furniture, a Fender Stratocaster guitar, old books, glassware, cabinets, a 3-foot tall beer bottle, stain-glass windows, framed photographs, quaint wooden crates, and a Tiffany-style desk-lamp.
Eclectic mix of furniture, photos, and knick-knacks at Takoma Old Town Gallery.
ArtSpring is an arts-and-crafts store and is volunteer-run. Proceeds go to support the Pyramid Atlantic Art Center in Silver Spring, a non-profit. ArtSpring was founded to provide a place for local artists to sell their work and to support the arts center. It was established in 2008 by Chris Derderian.
Crafts-person Debbie Carty volunteers for ArtSpring.
The store sells hand-made, professional-quality arts and crafts.
They feature unique, one-of-a-kind, hand-made items: jewelry, pottery, scarves, knits, painted furniture, purses and bags, and children’s items.
Jewelry, glasswork, and other crafts for sale at ArtSpring.
For the holiday season, they feature ornaments, stockings, and felted garlands.
Art-Spring cards and hand-crafted animal figures.
7002 Carroll Avenue, Takoma Park, Maryland 20912.
Hours: volunteer staffed… open most days – sometimes closed on Tuesdays
Phone/email: 301-495-3425, firstname.lastname@example.org
URL/FB/etc.: www.artspringsilverspring.com, Facebook – ArtSpring
Books and an old train-part at Takoma Old Town Gallery
Takoma Old Town Gallery
7002 Carroll Avenue, Takoma Park, Maryland 20912
Hours: 11:00 am – 6:00 pm, but not every day.