The Union Recorder

May 2, 2013

Arts and crafts store moves downtown

Kyle Collins
The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE — A distinctive downtown Milledgeville business provides arts and crafts enthusiasts a safe haven where affordability, uniqueness and a quality items rule.

Whimsy Willow, formerly Country Cottage, brings a colorful attitude to North Wayne Street when the doors open Friday.

Owner Cindy Eppich plans to use seasonal flowers and decorations to her advantage.

“We are trying to boost the appearance and the draw to small shops by making it as pretty as we can outside,” she said. “We’re going to have flowers and color to add to the street.”

The owner originally eyed a vacant building closer to Hancock Street before the old Herndon’s Downtown space crossed the radar. Eppich was reluctant about coming farther away from the main downtown drag, but promotional boards at nearby street corners should direct interested patrons Whimsy Willow’s way.

Before the move and name change, the old Country Cottage on North Columbia Street started as a consignment shop. 

Local artists and friends brought products. Eppich noticed the void for crafters to profit off their wares. 

“I’m a long time crafter,” Eppich said. “As a crafter, you never have many options to sell products.” 

The store provides Georgia made jewelry, scarves, bows and fat quarter quilts among other quality artistic pieces. 

The Whimsy Willow owner quickly realized Milledgeville needed classes at a reasonable price also. Eppich began offering art, sewing, quilting and rug making sessions for all ages.

Summer children’s basic sewing, embroidery, oil and simple rug making classes are between $15 to $35 including all supplies. Classes are late afternoon and Saturday.

Leslie Miller from Gray, who creates pen and oil paintings of historical buildings and churches in Georgia, teaches from time to time.

Eppich said the shop is trying to be known as a respected fat quarter quilt boutique. Spreading quilting appreciation and craft skill building opportunities sets Whimsy Willow apart locally.

“As far as quilting, you have to go to Macon to get anything like that. We do want to offer the community the ability to learn how to do some of the things they can come into the shop and purchase that are made by local artists. They can learn to do it themselves without having to go out of town to do it,” Eppich said.

The Whimsy Willow owns four sewing machines, but aspires to grow the inventory to eight soon for the classes’ sake.

Eppich said reaching the college crowd is important. If you can’t craft, the store still has great gifts.

“We want the college students to have something affordable, so they can get something for their dorm or buy a friend a gift,” the owner said.

Local artists are encouraged to present quality hand made items for sale at Whimsy Willow.

Eppich does purchase certain unique home décor items from Atlanta Mart. The locally made and store purchase goods split 50/50. Generally, products are U.S. made as well.

The shop stocks Habersham Candles that are an owner favorite.

Shopper friendly markups maintain an affordable theme.

“I’m trying to keep the cost down. That’s our main object with today’s economy. We are very reasonable,” she said.

The Grand Opening isn’t until June, but Whimsy Willow opens for business Friday just in time for First Friday. Store hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Call 406-320-0289 or visit the Facebook page for more information.

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