It’s easy to tell when the Whistle Stop Gift Shop in Durbin is open – just look for the trail of bubbles.
From the time she opened the shop nine years ago, owner Geri Mosier has used a bubble machine to attract customers, as well as a way to add a little whimsy to downtown Durbin.
This year, the Whistle Stop moved down the street to the newly restored store front – the former site of the Durbin Library.
While Mosier owned the building where the original shop opened, she was impressed by the renovations and wanted to move in.
“I just love the space,” she said. “When I saw what they were doing – I came down on a Monday, and Frank and Janet [Ghigo] were over here. We came to an agreement on rent, and we moved in the next day.”
The new location is larger and allows Mosier to display more crafts, as well as utilize the space better.
“When we were over there, when we first started, we had all this stuff in the middle just to take up room because we didn’t have much and then, we were overflowing,” Mosier said.
The shop is similar to area galleries in that artwork and crafts by local artists are for sale, but it is more of a “dictatorship” than a cooperative. Instead of going through a jury selection, Mosier is the one who decides what will be sold in the shop.
“We joke and call it a dictatorship but I still ask opinions and I go with it most of the time,” she said. “We have a variety. I try not to limit people to just what they make. It’s up to them how much they want to spend [on items to sell] or if they want to take on consignment items [to sell here].
“We try to hold it to West Virginia made items,” she continued. “I buy Blenko glass, and the jams and jellies, they come from Gourmet Central in Romney. Then I buy the Appalachian glass and Allegheny train wear. That’s more to give the customers more selection of West Virginia made products.”
Along with glass, gourmet food items and train related gifts, the shop has quilted items, jewelry, pottery, music and books.
The Whistle Stop Gift Shop is open, Memorial Day weekend to October, Thursday through Sunday, 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Suzanne Stewart may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org