Off the Beaten Path: Falls Church

Sorry Falls Church. Route 7, which you lovingly call Broad Street, has traditionally served as a means for me to get from Alexandria to Tysons Corner. I've failed to check out the cute little shops and restaurants that line your busy, narrow corridor, some of which has a speed limit of a mere 25 miles per hour. I finally stopped the other day and walked by your shops. Here's what I found:

New to You, a small shop that calls itself the "Chic Boutique," is a women's consignment store at 108 West Broad St. The shop owner says the store capitalizes on expensive buying mistakes made by women, selling high-end pieces that were bought with the best of intentions but never made it off the hanger. The store is very selective about what it accepts, limiting its labels to designers like Gucci and Louis Vuitton, and styles from the last year or two. It also accepts vintage clothes from the 1960s and earlier. And even then not everything gets on a New to You rack. The store only wants interesting and unique pieces, a standard that draws clothing from all over the country. Much of the clothing has original price tags with discounts of 35 percent to nearly 70 percent.

Falls Church's Broad Street and its side streets are also chock full of galleries and art dealers that sell local work, as well as art from all over. There's Quinn's Auction House at 431 North Maple Ave. The place has an auction every Wednesday night selling everything from antique furniture to jewelry and watches. Stifel & Capra, an art and ornament gallery at 260 West Broad, features local artists even with some of their own studios on site. Think of a miniature version of Alexandria's Torpedo Factory.

Bedo's Leatherworks at 412 West Broad is not exactly a shopping destination but an interesting business. The store will do just about anything that needs to be done to repair shoes, handbags and anything else made out of leather, as well as dry clean your clothes. The business, which looks like an old country store from the outside, was started in 1977 by Bedros Doudaklian, who immigrated from Lebanon. The store has been passed down to his son, who expanded the shop to include luggage repair and other related services. The store offers a "recrafting" service where an old pair of shoes could look new again with new soles and heels and other updates.

Broad Street is also home to Penzys Spices, a national chain of spice stores started in Wisconsin. It's hard to imagine that a whole store could be filled with spices but Penzys, located at 513 West Broad St., has everything from Honduran allspice and freeze-dried bell peppers to several different types of extracts and Turkish oregano.

Also check out Hole in the Wall Books, a small house at 905 West Broad filled from top to bottom with used books.

So where do you shop when you go to Falls Church? What are some other off-the-beaten-path shopping spots?

By Tania Anderson |  April 23, 2009; 12:00 AM ET Off the Beaten Path
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You missed one of the jewels of Falls Church, Natalia's Elegant Creations at 230 West Broad Street, where a Paris cafe meets stylish p√Ętisserie. Unfortunately the owner/baker has surgery last week and the shop was closed, but it is now open and ready to serve its wonderful treats.

Posted by: gary27 | April 23, 2009 1:07 PM

The Needlewoman East (809C West Broad Street) is a great resouce for needlepoint and similar crafts - the staff is incredibly friendly and helpful, even when you just need a few strands of thread, which means that after they help you for 15 minutes your total purchase is $1-2. They are also a great resource if you need whole projects (and therefore the bill would be more than $1)

Posted by: blankdc | April 24, 2009 11:04 AM

I highly recommend Bedo's Leatherworks. I had to have the zipper on my leather jacket replaced and they did a perfect job on it. Good as new!

I'll check out New to You soon.

Posted by: LittleRed1 | April 24, 2009 11:37 AM

If you're in the market for jewelry I highly recommend Dominion Jewelers, across from the Safeway. It's in a nondescript townhouse, and is family-owned.
We bought all of our wedding pieces there, at about 50% off retail. All three rings were designed by us and made on-site.
The WTOP ads are absolutely true.

Posted by: earlysun | April 24, 2009 1:09 PM

Small spelling error: it's "Penzeys Spices". You missed an 'e'.

Posted by: bokamba | April 24, 2009 1:56 PM

Don't miss Red White and Bleu--a wine and gourmet food shop at 127 S Washington Street

Posted by: lauriesb | April 24, 2009 3:25 PM

As bokamba noted, it's Penzeys, not Penzy's. No apostrophe, either.

http://www.penzeys.com/

I haven't been in that particular store, but if it's anything like other Penzeys retail stores, could you perhaps try to sound a little more enthusiastic?

Penzeys has the widest variety of excellent spices and spice blends around at the most reasonable prices. You can buy them in small jars (about 1.5 ounces) to 1 lb bags. The quality is excellent and they have their own spice blends (many salt free). It's not like you're walking into a store full of McCormick's spice jars.

Posted by: Chasmosaur1 | April 24, 2009 5:08 PM

Two favorite destinations in Falls Church: Penzeys and the German Gourmet.

Posted by: library2 | April 27, 2009 10:52 AM

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