Ashton-Whyte in Pennington is certainly one of the most attractive stores around. Its quality items and charming displays invite customers both to browse and buy.
Known especially for a classic selection of fine furnishings for the home, including bed and bath items, furniture, and choices for babies and toddlers, the store recently added a line of tabletop products, including dinnerware, flatware, and stemware. In addition, a selection of clothing and jewelry is now available.
Opened in 1995 at 250 South Main Street, Ashton-Whyte (the name derives from 18th century London shop signs) has always attracted customers who appreciated its signature classic style and quality, notes owner Ellen Sabino. “We have always had a market that focused on a classic style. There was a real interest in the products we sell. I had always had an interest in decorative arts, including furniture and accessories. And, bed and bath was the original focus, and it is still our core.”
There is no question that customers, who come from all over the Princeton and Pennington area, enjoy Ashton-Whyte’s classic mode, which is reflected in the items throughout the store. “We’ve had a good fit with the lines we carry,” points out Ms. Sabino “All the lines are rooted in the classic style. They endure. Important lines in bedding include Down Right pillows and duvets; elegant bedding and great alternative down from Sferra; casual bedding from Pine Cone Hill; and great classic bedding from Matouk, and prints from Lulu DK.”
Bath items include towels from Matouk and Abyss, and wonderful plush bath rugs with super colors and designs from Habidecor.
Ashton-Whyte is noteworthy for its lovely table linens, including tablecloths and napkins from Le Jacquard Francais, and Calaisio’s rattan placemats, chargers, and baskets.
Ms. Sabino is enthusiastic about two new categories recently added to the Ashton-Whyte collection. “We have brought in tabletop items, such as dinnerware, flatware, and stemware. Juliska and Gien dinnerware, glassware from Reed & Barton and Sabre, and Iittala stemware are included.
“The newest thing is clothing and jewelry,” she continues. “We wanted to offer an environment for personal accessories, but we chose carefully because we are not a clothing store. We have some dresses and tops, also sweats, robes, pajamas, and handbags. Some of our items include tunics from Gretchen Scott; Before & Again’s colorful tunics, T-shirt dresses and T-shirts; jewelry and scarves from the Julie Collection; and Louen Hide handbags.
“I have been so pleased at how the new categories have been received,” she continues. “When customers come in, they see things they don’t expect to see. That’s fun for them, and it creates interest. People say it’s fun to shop here. There is always something interesting.”
Many new customers, in addition to the loyal regulars, are discovering Ashton-Whyte, adds Ms. Sabino. “A woman came in recently and said, ‘I’ve never been in here before, and I love it!’”
They seem to like everything and appreciate the “One Stop Shop” aspect of the store. They will find an array of often irresistible items for the home. Colorful Melamine dishes from France, vintage furniture, including beds and dressers, lamps, indoor/outdoor area rugs, pewter picture frames, wooden trays and salad bowls, and framed artwork are all on display, as are cotton sheets, soap and candles, colorful cotton tunics, long cashmere cardigans in beautiful shades, and buttery soft fleece, to crisp cotton robes.
The jewelry selection features pieces from delicate to dramatic. Striking gold chains and beaded bracelets in aqua, black, and natural are among the choices. The latter are priced at an affordable $14.
Babies and toddlers are not forgotten at the store either, notes Ms. Sabino, “We have layettes and beautiful blankets, and keepsakes items, including music boxes.”
There are also little ceramic dishes featuring two miniature boxes for “First Lock” and “First Tooth”, piggy banks, bibs, and an array of adorable apparel for tiny tots.
“We also now have a Wish List for special occasions, including weddings, and we are working with an event planner,” reports Ms. Sabino. “We always listen to our clientele, and customer service and personal attention are very important, but it’s low key. We don’t hover. We want customers to enjoy the store and the shopping experience.”
Ashton-Whyte offers a wide range of prices, seasonal sales, complimentary gift wrapping, and gift certificates. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (609) 737-7171. Website: www.ashtonwhyte.com.