The Farmhouse Store at 43 Hulfish Street is barely a month old, and customers can’t wait to see the latest items.
It is easy to understand why. The attractive store is filled with a variety of intriguing “conversation pieces,” from jewelry to furniture. And much, much more!
Opened the end of October by Ron and Kristin Menapace, it is the second Farmhouse Store in New Jersey. The first was opened in Westfield by Mr. Menapace’s brother.
Originally from Hillsborough, Ron Menapace had worked in the pharmaceutical business, and lived in California before changing careers.
Center of Town
Impressed with the success of The Farmhouse Store in Westfield, he decided to embark on a new adventure, and opened a similar shop in Princeton. “The big difference coming from the corporate world to this is the connection we have with the community here,” says Mr. Menapace.
Adds his wife and co-owner Kristin Menapace: “We wanted to be in the center of town, and Palmer Square was a perfect match for us. We want to make the store unique to Princeton.”
They certainly have! From jewelry to lamps to rugs to scarves, pillows, and throws to clocks and candles, dishes, trays, and mugs to farm tables, hutches, and rocking chairs, decorative stars to greeting cards to fingerless mittens, the selection is never-ending.
“Our signature is our barn wood,” explains Mr. Menapace. “We use barn wood from farm houses to make furniture, and the Farmhouse Store makes its own furniture. It can be custom-designed as to color, finish, size, etc. In just a very short time, we have already sold farm tables, coffee tables, and benches.”
The range of furniture includes beds, cabinets, and hutches with different finishes. There are also handsome upholstered and slip-covered sofas and chairs. Floor lamps featuring both wrought iron bases and hand-blown bases, with beaded fabric shade catch the eye; and accent pillows, including charming farm motif and “Flying Pigs” design, are great gift ideas. Serving dishes in the shape of artist’s palette, and small orange and black cheese trays with “Princeton parking violation” design are fun to add to your entertaining mosaic.
“Many of the items are small batch artisan goods. You will find uncommon treasures,” points out Kristin Menapace. “We have unusual artwork from an Atlanta artist who emphasizes inspirational sayings with her work.”
For example, wooden picture frames with the following sentiment:
“It was the barn for the square dance on Saturday night.
It was the front porch to rock on.
It was the trim that said the hard work paid off.
The only thing worse than tearing down an old building
Is not re-using the wood that created its beauty.”
There are specialties for children, such as “100 Gathered Thoughts (For My Beautiful Child)”, featuring note pads with tear-off sayings.
It is also not every shop in which you will find money pots! The collection of Taramandi Etruscan money pots, hand-thrown in Italy, feature bright colors and designs. As the attached message explains: “Once the first coin is dropped, the money pot must be fed until full, upon which it must be smashed whilst making a wish. Money pots bring good fortune, and can hold up to $500 with nickels, dimes, and quarters.”
Jewelry, from delicate to dramatic, is a big favorite at the store, and includes a complete selection, with many pieces in silver. Unusual pendants feature genuine pressed flowers, leaves and herbs.
Wine stoppers and wind chimes, dish towels and glasses with states of the U.S. motif, clay pottery, soup mugs with scenes of Grand Central Station, the Empire State Building, and other NYC favorites, silk flowers, amazing “Gurgle Pots” — fish-shaped pitchers in all colors that actually gurgle when filled with water … the list goes on and on.
“We have something for anywhere in your house,” says Ms. Menapace, “and we are a great resource for hostess and housewarming gifts.”
The wide price range will also please customers. From $1.99 for a little sequin bracelet to $2000 for furniture, and everything in between. Examples include scarves, which start at $13.99, the all-important cheeseboard with dipping bowl and knife at $34.95, cheese platters made from rustic wood scrub boards under $20, and miniature vases at $19.99.
“My little daughter loves to bring me dandelions, and we never had a vase small enough for them,” reports Ms. Menapace. “Now, we have very tiny vases, which are just fine for dandelions!
“I really enjoy talking with all our customers,” she adds. “I like to know where they’re from and what they’re looking for. Personal service is very important, and either Ron or I are always here.”
The Farmhouse Store offers complimentary gift packaging and wrapping, and is open Monday-Wednesday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday, Friday, and Saturday 10 to 8:30, Sunday 12 to 5. (609) 688-0777 www.facebook.com/thefarmhousestoreprinceton.