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?
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