If you haven’t been to Historic Downtown Gilbert in a while, why not plan a visit to this vibrant area—there are so many fun things to do and see. My sister Phyllis and I decided to spend a recent Saturday afternoon exploring and checking out some of the unique shops. There was a particularly festive feeling in the air with streets decorated for the holidays, the Gilbert Art Walk, a farmer’s market and many great restaurants to choose from.
My Front Porch
Our first stop was My Front Porch at 825 S. Cooper Road, just outside the downtown area, but a shop you won’t want to miss. This timeless boutique opened in September 2014 and owner Mary Pfligler has done a wonderful job of stocking the store with all things “twinkly, chippy, rusty, rustic and shabby chic.” Her vision is to showcase local artists and crafters whose talents and creative artwork can be enjoyed by her customers. We were really impressed by the artists’ uses of different materials and techniques to re-image furniture and up-cycle home décor.
The shop has it all—chalk paint, handmade jewelry, rustic/American home décor, paper art work, handmade greeting cards, clothes, hair accessories, hats, purses and so much more. A variety of crafting and furniture painting classes will be available in the New Year. And you’ll want to be sure to mark your calendar for their first “Off the Porch” outdoor market with 20 plus vendors that’s being held on Saturday, January 17, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Plans are in the works to expand from the shop’s current 1500 sq ft. to 4300 sq ft. so Mary can offer a larger selection of paints, stains and finishing products and provide room for even more boutique items.
We left really impressed with all of the very interesting artistic choices in just one shop and, of course, we each bought a few items to take home. You’ll want to plan to visit often since the items are always changing. My Front Porch is open 7 days a week. Call 602-363-3343 or check out their Facebook page for information on upcoming activities and events.
Next we paid a visit to the newest shop in Historic Downtown Gilbert—Daniel’s Jewelry, which opened in December. Owner Daniel Bigelow has been in the jewelry business for many years and now he and his wife, Elaine, have their first retail shop. Daniel began as a sales associate and a Jeweler at Walt’s Jewelers and has loved the downtown Gilbert area since his early days working for Gray Goose Antiques. While spending a number of years in the corporate world, he began buying and selling jewelry as a dealer in local antique malls.
Daniel felt the timing was right for a hometown jeweler to offer personalized services in Gilbert and the building at 20 N. Gilbert Road would be a perfect fit, so they moved quickly to secure the spot. Now they are settling in with beautiful displays showcasing the amazing pieces that we enjoyed seeing.
Daniel’s Jewelry carries a wide array of products and service that you won’t find in most jewelry stores, including Native American, western, designer, sterling silver, gold and diamond as well as vintage and estate jewelry. They will also offer custom jewelry and repair and have partnered with a watch supplier to offer some watch services.
For more information, call 480-580-2800 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Daniel’s Jewelry is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. or by appointment.
C&J’s Antiques & Garden
& Vintage Market in the Garden
Just a few doors away is C&J’s Antiques & Garden in the heart of Gilbert’s historic Heritage District in a cozy 1930s adobe bungalow. Now celebrating their 10th year in Downtown Gilbert, owners Claire Jones and Joanne Pinto have seen the growth of the downtown area and have been instrumental in promoting its revitalization for local businesses.
This is a family-owned business and Claire’s and Joanne’s mom, Jean Ryan, helps out on a part-time basis. Their roots are in an historic area in New Jersey and they return there each year and bring back special antique treasures from the East Coast. Claire and Joanne’s goal is to offer a unique collection of items—things that were treasured and passed down from one generation to the next. These items were made to be, altogether, useful, beautiful and often sentimental
C&J’s specializes in vintage and antique furniture, artwork, linen, copper, lighting and their beloved collection of antique and vintage jewelry, including their antique-inspired jewelry line, J LESLIE DESIGNS. Shoppers will also find timeless Christmas collections on display all year.
A great feature is their garden area in the back designed and landscaped especially for the shop. This is where C&J’s holds their Vintage Market in the Garden from October to May featuring some of the best East Valley antique dealers, local artists and more. It’s a treasure hunt in a beautiful garden setting where you will find antiques, art, garden décor, salvage and shabby. Complimentary beverages and treats are also served. Upcoming markets will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on January 17 and February 21.
CJ’s Antiques & Garden is located at 40 N Gilbert Rd and is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Check their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/cjsantiquesandgarden or call 480-539-0401for more information.
Our last stop was at Flashback Antiques where we arrived right at closing because we had been having so much fun shopping and talking with shop owners that we lost track of time. Luckily, we were invited in by the shop’s very friendly owners, Sherry and Jon Spitz, where we encountered several other late shoppers. “We will stay as long as the customers are here,” Jon told us.
Flashback Antiques is a fun shop to explore. Sherry is always there when it’s open and Jon joins her afternoons and Saturdays after finishing work to help out. Their daughter Jessie, a high school senior, also helps at the store. Sherry enjoys giving each customer her personal attention and listens to what they are looking for. If she does not have it, she will try to locate it for them.
The shop offers a variety of items, including antique furniture, vintage costume jewelry, sterling silver and Native American jewelry. They also carry Lladro, Waterford, Belleek, Wedgewood, old cameras and phones, typewriters and everything in between. There are also Howard products, Tripar displays, Candle Queen Candles, Go Girl Cards, Zum Bar goat soap and Two Old Goats Lotion. It seems to us like there is something for just about everyone. Sherry and Jon travel to Iowa and Nebraska every year and to California a couple of times each year to bring back unique items.
Before opening Flashback Antiques in November 2012, Sherry had been a dealer in several East Valley antique malls since 1999 and was the assistant manager at Merchant Square for seven years. She explains, “This allowed me to gain experience in running an antique store as well as meeting a great number of dealers and other people in the antique world.” She always knew she would have her own antique store and waited for the right time and place.
Flashback Antiques is located at 225 N Gilbert Road and is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. There is plenty of parking in back of the shop and there is an entrance from the parking lot as well as from the street. Call 480-503-2255 for more information and check out their Facebook page.
Gilbert Art Walk
The Gilbert Art Walk is in its 3rd season in downtown Gilbert. On select Saturdays through March, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., visitors can enjoy a festive family-friendly atmosphere where artists bring their best visual art forms for exhibition and sale. There’s also live entertainment, popular restaurants—and a Farmers’ Market next door! The upcoming 2015 schedule is: January 3, 17 and 31; February 7 and 21; and March 7 and 21.
Located at 45 W. Page Ave., under the Water Tower across from the Hale Theatre in Downtown Gilbert’s Water Tower Plaza, this is a fun place to spend a Saturday and find some interesting items to take home. Admission and parking are free!
The Gilbert Art Walk accepts artists in a wide variety of media, such as: painting, sculpture, collage, three-dimensional art, calligraphy, architecture, photography, conceptual art, printmaking, jewelry and more. Participating artists, artisans and crafters are qualified through a jury selection process.
Hosted by Timelessbuttons, LLC, and managed by Executive Director Cheri Montgomery, the event is proud to bring the wonderful artists to Downtown Gilbert. For information, including vendor information, contact Cheri at email@example.com, go to www.gilbertartwalk.com or visit Gilbert Art Walk on Facebook and Twitter.
Phyllis and I couldn’t believe that a Saturday afternoon could pass so quickly. We’re looking forward to visiting historic Gilbert again and are marking our calendar for some upcoming events.
There is so much to see and explore in Arizona and we are making plans for our next trip. Because we enjoy sharing our adventures, we’ll continue telling you about the great destination shops we visit—so be sure to watch for our articles in future issues of the paper.