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Shopping Local With Libby:

Vintage is So Today


Edition Of Dec. 12, 2014


Add a little “wild” to your winter with a polka-dotted robe from  Ellsworth & Sill, modeled by proprietor Marti Jex.
Add a little “wild” to your winter with a polka-dotted robe from
Ellsworth & Sill, modeled by proprietor Marti Jex. (Ian Austin/

If Oneonta is where you go for the unique, Cooperstown is where you go for the antique.

“It’s an old-fashioned kind of village,” said Kathryn Busse, co-owner with husband Rich of Christmas Around the Corner and the Silver Fox Gift Shop, 139 Main St. “It reminds people of a Victorian Christmas.”

Living in Oneonta, I’ve never given myself the chance to wander around Cooperstown with shopping on the brain. But I was happily surprised that there was much, much more to Cooperstown than just baseball.

At Tin Bin Alley, 114 Main St., I was instantly charmed by the huge collection of vintage-look repurposed gifts, including a great series of Blue Q bags, from coin purses to totes, made almost entirely from recycled materials. “They hold up very well,” said Cherish Paulson, who was working in the store Friday afternoon.

Though known for candy and homemade fudge, Tin Bin Alley has expanded the former storage room to carry even more items, including salvaged metal letters and Green Glass Co. glassware, which uses antique-look bottles, such as Boylan’s and Rolling Rock, to make cute juice glasses.

Paired with glass plates and bowls by Cheryl Gutmaker – new this season to Cooper Country Crafts, 2 Doubleday Court – and your holiday party will be the talk of your set. “People want to celebrate small businesses and locally made,” said Debb Rendo, a wood carver who also shows work at Cooper Country Crafts. “Big boxes don’t give shoppers what they want. They want real.”

There’s nothing more traditional in Upstate New York than a snow day, and over at Christine’s of Cooperstown, 147 Main St., they’ve got just what you need to enjoy it, whether it’s warm Alpaca socks for sledding or cozy pajamas for staying inside. “The animal feet slippers are really popular,” said store clerk Rosalie Smith, holding up a pair of ferocious – but cuddly! – bear feet. “It’s a good way to get kids to wear their slippers!”

“This is the year of alpaca,” said Marti Jex, owner of Ellsworth & Sill, 79 Main St. “We had alpaca scarves, and we sold out as soon as they came in.”

But if you are staying inside on a blustery day, a warm robe is just what you need. And why go for something plain when you can have a wild one. “You can’t hide in this robe!” said Jex, holding up a polka-dot plush robe. “I think it’s fun.”


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Putting the Community Back Into the Newspaper

Now through July 31st, new or lapsed annual subscribers to the hard copy “Freeman’s Journal” (which also includes unlimited access to, or electronically to, can also give back to one of their favorite Otsego County charitable organizations.

$5.00 of your subscription will be donated to the nonprofit of your choice:

Cooperstown Farmers’ Market, Cooperstown Food Pantry, Greater Oneonta Historical Society or Super Heroes Humane Society.