Prominently positioned at the corner of King and Queen, the Preservation Society of Charleston’s Book and Gift Store has for 30-plus years been a bastion of Holy City tradition, purveying rice spoons, history tomes, and sweetgrass baskets. But now, after a 2014 renovation and under the guidance of retail manager Carlye Jane Dougherty, it also proffers some of the most desirable products being created in the Lowcountry today, aptly displayed on Capers Cauthen-made shelving.
“As an organization whose focus is preserving the authenticity and character of Charleston, who better to champion our booming creative community than the Preservation Society?” says executive director Kristopher King. And Charleston circa-2015 is authentically a hotbed for entrepreneurs finding huge success with products like Rewined Candles, Bittermilk cocktail mixers, and Brackish bow ties. The 95-year-old Society stocked up on those brands and more, but didn’t stop there. At a May 5th launch party, it unveils Well
Preserved, a line of small-batch products made for the nonprofit. You’ll find a funky sailor doll by Finkelstein’s Center; a Williams Knife Co. fillet knife bearing the society’s motto, “Gut Fish, Not Houses;” a Charleston bonnet by luxury children’s clothing maker Pixie Lily; indigo-dyed baskets from Leigh Magar; and more (see sidebar).
“We felt we had a tremendous opportunity to provide display space on King Street for the fantastic brands that are quintessentially Charleston now,” says King. “Visit frequently, because the shop is changing constantly.”
The Well Preserved line includes 15 products (and counting). Here’s the scoop on just a few
➼ Sally Bennett, the artist behind the vibrant Mirth Studio floor tiles, designed a tile inspired by the Joseph Manigault House, the first building in Charleston that the Preservation Society saved.
➼ Food for the Southern Soul served up signature Charleston snacks, including benne wafers and pickled okra.
➼ Declare Carolina created an apron printed with the Courtenay Map, a historic city planning map used for Charleston in the 1830s.
➼ Elizabeth O’Neill Verner prints and postcards have long been a staple at the shop, but with her work now licensed to the society, offerings have expanded to include note cards, with more products on the way.
Declare Carolina’s apron outside the society’s store at 147 King Street; shop online at www.preservationsociety.org.