A lucky penny: Penny Lane Emporium opens on German Street
SHEPHERDSTOWN — Margaret Walker’s appreciation for West Virginia has grown with time, over the 19 years since she moved to West Virginia.
After moving with her husband from her home in Ohio to his native home in the Eastern Panhandle, Walker gradually realized she enjoyed the slower pace of suburban life. And as she grew to appreciate West Virginia’s finer qualities, Walker decided to take a chance on opening her own shop at 116 East German Street, filled with items from West Virginia.
“What we’re featuring, are things from West Virginia. An eclectic mix of this and that, one-of-a-kind things,” Walker said of the shop, which opened on June 1. “So we are trying to put a focus on West Virginia — West Virginia craftsmen and artisans who make jewelry and baskets and woodworking.
“We have one guy who repurposes really cool things — he takes a rake and has made it into a wine holder. He took this old sewing machine and made it into a wine cabinet,” Walker said of one of her artisans. “These are local folks — some from Shenandoah Junction, Inwood and Martinsburg.”
Walker’s shop, Penny Lane Emporium, features a variety of items, ranging from Mountaineer Brand beer oil to photography by Barbara Keech and Molly Humphreys. According to Walker, her decision to have a shop filled with the work of local artisans was inspired by her husband’s love for his state.
“My husband was born and raised here, and has an affection for this state. I’m helping his dream and vision come alive,” Walker said, explaining her husband helped her determine what the focus of her business would be.
Local residents may recognize Walker from her former job with the Governor’s Highway Safety Program, which she has since retired from. After growing bored with life as a retiree, Walker and her husband agreed that she should take the plunge and start her first business.
“We’re stepping out in faith on this one,” Walker said. “It’s the American dream, to go out and create your own business. My husband said, ‘You just have to try it, otherwise you’ll wish you had. How else are you going to know if you’ll succeed?’ My mother used to say, ‘Nothing beats a failure, but a try.'”
And as Walker continues to introduce new merchandise from around the state into her shop, she said she may also consider selling her own art there, as well.
“I’m a little bit crafty. I craft quilts and that kind of thing. I’ll sell them in here, as soon as I get myself going,” Walker said. “I always did it on the side, just for fun.”
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