It's New to Us by Jean Stratton

Web Edition

lead stories
other news



chess forum
town talk


press releases


last week's issue

real estate
classified ads

SOPHISTICATED STYLE: "The store continues to evolve because of taste and the market. Ultimately, the customers' interest is my interest. I hope the items here somehow make a connection with people." Marilyn Stevens, owner of Go For Baroque is shown beside a hand-blown glass lamp, with nickel base, and handmade silk shade, featuring black and white stripes. A silk gardenia display in a silver cachepot is seen in the foreground.

A Unique Selection of Gifts Is the Key to Go For Baroque

Imagination and practicality blend together at Go For Baroque at 20 Nassau Street. Creatively-crafted functional items share the space with aesthetically pleasing decorative pieces, all presented in sophisticated and inventive displays.

Just having celebrated its 10th anniversary, Go For Baroque continues to be the store customers remember for unique home accessories, gifts, and fine arts and crafts. The store changed hands a year ago, and new owner Marilyn Stevens is committed to the loyal customers who loved the imagination, personality, and elegant taste of the original owners.

"The four previous owners were and are very supportive," says Ms. Stevens. "They came over on the anniversary and had a surprise party!"

How she came to know them and ultimately purchase the shop is a story in itself, she adds. After a corporate career in human resources for a major pharmaceutical company, which included two years working in London, Ms. Stevens decided she wanted a change.

"I liked the idea of having my own business," says the Pennington resident. "I knew Go for Baroque as a customer, and I liked the store. Someone asked me 'What would you like to do?' I said if I owned a business, I'd have a retail store like Go For Baroque. Really! So, I dropped in the store and asked whether they would consider selling. It happened that the timing was perfect because they were thinking of making a change too."

Her taste for the unusual keeps Ms. Stevens focused on providing a captivating blend of the whimsical and quirky, the sophisticated and avant garde – from home accessories to one-of-a-kind art, to a special baby section.

Perfect Something

During years spent traveling and working in Europe, she developed a passion for finding the ideal treasure. "I love to shop!" she says, with a smile. "I've been able to discover an incredible diversity of accessories and home accents, and Go For Baroque is all about finding the perfect something." There is no question that everything is done with taste and style, and the attractive selection targets unusual gifts, both American and imported. Many items are hand-done and not seen elsewhere in the area.

Customers will find the handcrafted lamps and lampshades by Dez Ryan, a designer from New York, as well as the art work of area artist Fay Schiarra, a new addition to Go For Baroque. Also new is a selection of books by self-published authors.

"The Turning Point by photographer Victor Gagliardi contains beautiful photos and words of encouragement and affirmation," says Ms. Stevens.

Recently, the assorted antique cuff-link bracelets have been hot sellers, and Ms. Stevens is also adding the evocative jewelry of Sarah Graham, noted for contemporary pieces featuring organic shapes and striking contrasts. Her rings, necklaces, and earrings are often worn by celebrities.

"We're offering a new look in contemporary jewelry – really pieces of art," explains Ms. Stevens. "We want to give people an alternative."

Special Memories

The eclectic selection also features non-traditional wedding gifts, such as unusual glasses, pewter serving pieces hand-made in Africa, intriguing lamps, and artwork.

Just in, and especially appropriate for a wedding shower is the new "Wedding Gamesake", a board game, which promises to become a new tradition. Players write a personal memory of the bride and groom, then play the game, using dice and following specific instructions. It's fun, as well as providing the couple with special memories.

Go For Baroque's "wearable art" includes super scarves and handbags, and there are also "Linens By Ghislaine," especially attractive tablecloths from Provence.

"The Leather Zoo" by Sandy Zohr offers charming leather lions, giraffes, monkeys, penguins, and other wildlife, which serve as bookends or doorsteps, and are great favorites with customers.

Another big favorite is the selection of items featuring antique etchings of Nassau Hall. Coasters, paperweights, and bookends are all great gifts for a Princeton alum.

Ladybug and pear ceramic paperweight and decorative pieces are also all the buzz (replacing pigs and ducks, so popular in the past). An intriguing new item is the Beatles decorative piece made from license plates, highlighting the faces of the four Beatles. It manages to be both new and nostalgic at the same time.

Story People

A special springtime gift for your favorite gardener is the "Garden in a Bag", with seeds in a small bag for butterfly or hummingbird garden, herbs, etc. A lovely hostess gift, starting at $9.

Linens, soaps (including long-lasting French-milled), flower pots, wine sculptures, the always-popular "Story People" prints, unique greeting cards, and furniture are all part of the store's appealing choices.

In addition, the baby section includes a versatile crib that converts to bed and settee. Filled with the most wonderfully soft plush animals (very popular with adults), it is heirloom quality. Baby blankets and towels are also available.

"I try to focus on quality, artistic, unusual, and functional items that are different," points out Ms. Stevens. "And humorous too. I love it when people stand and look through the Story People prints and laugh.

"We get a lot of feedback from customers," she adds, "and we will special-order if they have requests. The customer is always key here.

"I meet the most fascinating people," she continues. "and we see a lot of international people too. Last Christmas, a woman called from Germany. Her son was at Princeton, and she had been in the store. She wanted every one of a particular Christmas ornament that she had seen here."

Subhead: Personal Service

Personal service is definitely emphasized at Go For Baroque," says Theresa Acselrod, Ms. Stevens' colleague. "We get a lot of people browsing who come back later to buy something. They will often come in and say, 'This is an absolutely incredibly beautiful store. It's up to us to pay attention to them, whether they are browsing or buying, and know what they are interested in."

Go For Baroque offers a very wide price range, with items from $5.95 (charmingly packaged teas) and $10 and $15 on up to whatever one cares to spend! Gift certificates and gift wrapping are available.

Ms. Stevens is pleased to have had a very productive first year, made especially happy by the customers and her fellow merchants.

"The other merchants have all been very helpful, welcoming, and supportive. Being involved in the community as a merchant in this way and feeling the community connection has been an unanticipated benefit.

"I also enjoy the interaction with the artists. Dealing with creative people is so refreshing. You get a different perspective. I have to say the whole experience is all that I hoped for and more. I am very encouraged and look forward to everyone coming in to see us."

Go For Baroque is open Tuesday through Friday 11 to 6, Saturday 10 to 6, Sunday 12 to 5. 609-497-3500.

Website Design by Kiyomi Camp