We like surprises over here at Northforker. So when we got word that the subterranean section of Southold’s White Flower was transforming into a collaborative pop-up with other creative forces on the East End, we made a beeline to pop in and see what was up.
For the entire month of December, owner Nathaniel Savage is hosting two petite businesses that have no brick-and-mortar shops of their own at the Root Cellar at White Flower: All Hours NY, the pre-loved clothing and jewelry treasure trove owned by Bianca Munguia-Howie, and Forked Road Press, Nick Amara’s joyfully curated cache of vintage books and records.
Getting to the Root Cellar at White Flower is a little bit of an Alice in Wonderland-like journey. There are so many head-turning, sweet-smelling lovely items in Savage’s store, you’ll be forgiven if your attention wanders from the mission at hand. From ceramic plates planted with seasonal paperwhites to lovely little felted holiday ornaments and a multitude of other items you had no idea you needed (like, now), there’s a lot to look at here.
But keep going, and head all the way through the store to the very back and down the stairs, where you will find Munguia-Howie and Amara happily holding court.
Half the room is dedicated to their wares; the other half, a (reasonably priced!) stash of glassware, ceramics and all other home ephemera from Savage’s shop.
The opportunity to display and show their merchandise, as well as engage in real life with customers, is not lost on either Munguia-Howie or Amara.
“Lori [Guyer], owner of White Flower Farmhouse [across the street] and I have a rapport, and I was telling her about my vision for a vintage jewelry business and she said, great, put it in the store!” says Munguia-Howie. “She had taken me under her wing.”
From there, Munguia-Howie began to consider how to incorporate her love of well-made vintage clothing into the mix. After selling on the e-commerce site Depop and then kicking off an Etsy “shop,” a conversation with her friend, Savage, opened the door to another opportunity. He offered her and Amara use of his downstairs for a holiday pop-up.
“It’s a way that we can dip our toes in,” says Munguia, “and network as much as we can.”
Look to Munguia-Howie for hard to find items, like vintage Chloe dresses, beautiful hand-stitched cowboy boots, Victorian and Edwardian nightgowns, cool military jackets and other eye-catching items of clothing. Bonus: She’ll also show you how to put together a perfect outfit of pieces that you’d never consider matching before. “I really like mixing up his and hers,” she says. “I steel my husband’s clothes all the time.”
Amara’s books are covetable collectibles from classic Beat poet tomes to classic fiction and non-fiction tours-de-force, along with mid-century groovy jazz and other music-to-your-ears vinyl. “I carry classic literature, and also books on social science — psychology and philosophy,” says Amara, a Southold native who went to school for writing at the New School, dialing into his love of book selling via a side job at the Mysterious Book Shop in TriBeCa. “I also like to have books on folk history and folk craft stuff around, because that’s a personal interest of mine.”
For Savage, this is the start of a new facet for his special shop, and one he’s give a lot of thought and care to.
“The reason we called it the Root Cellar is that, as a florist, I practice something called root to petal, celebrating the whole plant, flower and tree,” he says. “When I look at my store, these spaces have a dialogue with each other.” Similar, he notes, to the way a plant, root to tip, is a cohesive creation of nature and celebration of it, so too is the relationship between local makers and businesses, who can work and thrive together. He plans to offer future pop-ups, classes and events.
The current pop-up at the Root Cellar at White Flower will be all month from Sunday to Monday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., closed Tuesday and Wednesdays. For further information on future activations, contact [email protected]. White Flower is located at 53850 Main Road, Southold, 631-438-2318.