About Town: Special moment in time for local antique shop

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About Town: Special moment in time for local antique shop

By MARTI COVINGTON mcovington@beaufortgazette.com 843-986-5502
Published Monday, February 16, 2009 in The Beaufort Gazette  |  551 Words  |  local_news

The array of colorfully patterned, quilted Vera Bradley handbags on the shelves at Heritage House Antiques and Gardens in Port Royal will get the star treatment this morning -- along with store owner Marilyn Cooler and manager Carol Hunter.
Cooler, Hunter and their handbags, garment bags and wallets have an
8:30 a.m. call time for a Vera Bradley photo shoot that will take place at Heritage House, which moved in 2004 from downtown Beaufort to its spot on Paris Avenue.
The photos will be used in Vera Bradley's national Fall 2009 catalog, print ads, retail signs and Web site. They will be released in September or October, said Monica Edwards, marketing creative director for Vera Bradley.
"We'll have a print photographer and crew, makeup artist and stylists, along with Vera Bradley marketing team members" at the set-up for the photo shoot at the store, said Edwards. "Vera Bradley primarily uses family and friends as models, and that is true of our shoot in Port Royal."
The company is taking photos in Port Royal, Savannah and Hilton Head over a seven-day period. "While we were here, we wanted to feature a local Vera Bradley retailer and fell in love with the charm of Heritage House," Edwards said.
Having her face and her store featured in a catalog that will be distributed all over the country is a privilege, said Cooler, who added, "I'm honored they selected us. It's a nice distinction for us to be selected from all the stores in the Beaufort area."
Cooler concentrated all her Vera Bradley merchandise into a corner of her rustic antique shop at the request of close friends Helen Hewitt and Christine Swarm, Dataw Island residents and Vera Bradley fans who wanted to start a small business -- but didn't want to handle day-to-day tasks.
The decision to sell Vera Bradley at Heritage House was a good one, Swarm said. The merchandise has developed a loyal clientele, and the partnership between the three friends has enriched their relationship.
"The credit goes all the way around," Cooler said.
Other recent business openings, closings and changes in the Beaufort area:

  • Dismas Thrift Store recently closed its location at 242 Robert Smalls Parkway in Beaufort and there are no plans to reopen it there or elsewhere, Deacon Jim Hyland said.
    "Our lease year was up at the end of January, and we could not negotiate lower rent, and sign problems among other things led to the decision of Catholic Charities to close the store instead of renewing the lease for another year," Hyland said.
    The thrift store was part of the Prison Ministry of Catholic Charities. Its primary goal was to support children who were the victims of crime, including those whose parents were in prison.
  • The Lowcountry Estuarium is closed until April for renovations, museum curator Bob Bender said.
    Bender recently received a $45,000 state grant to make upgrades to the facility at 1402 Paris Ave. in Port Royal.
    The main exhibit room will be made large enough for group tours, the displays and tanks will be upgraded to museum quality, offices will be relocated and the gift shop and main entrance will be moved to Paris Avenue instead of 14th Street.