When one steps inside the new location of Twine, it is clear that the whimsical atmosphere that has always defined the store was unpacked along with the glow-in-the-dark putty and scrabble tiles. Natural light floods into the shop, adding to the cheerful vibe one feels while browsing a selection of fun and imaginative products.
Twine recently made a move within the Hopewell Borough from Broad Street to 8 Somerset St., formerly the location of the Princeton Doll and Toy Museum. A grand opening celebration is being planned for Oct. 8 that will include food, music, and a few surprises.
The building’s exterior was transformed from a drab gray to the same shade of red as the old Twine exterior for consistency. A business sign was erected in the front yard, which is a short walk from the historic train station.
Owner Melissa Cookman said the building on Somerset Street was listed for sale around the time her lease was up for renewal at the old location, so she decided to buy and relocate.
“I love a project. The contractor, Charlie Donahue, understood the aesthetic that I wanted for the the place. We gutted the building, adding new floors and windows, and then added on a section for a maker’s space,” Cookman said.
The open floor plan still flows from the boutique into the work area; however, the workstation now has its own well-defined space separate from merchandise. In the maker’s space, for a small fee, customers have access to elements of creativity such as ribbons, books, feathers, adhesives, stickers, and rubber stamps to craft their own projects.
“We wanted to create a true maker’s space. If a customer finds an idea on Pinterest, but the materials would cost $100 to buy for the project, we want to give them a way to access to those same materials. We want people to explore their creativity.” said Cookman.
Cookman said she uses the maker’s space for classes, workshops, and birthday parties. Currently, the shop is offering an open studio night for teens and tweens on Wednesdays from 3-5 at a cost of $15. Cookman said that it is not a class, but an opportunity for students to make school projects or create something of interest. Adults are also welcome.
Any parent who has ever dashed into a craft store between soccer practice and dinner to spend a small fortune on materials to create a midweek, shoebox diorama might appreciate the alternative Twine offers for students.
Last winter, Twine offered cocoa, cookie, and coloring events that were popular in the community. Cookman said that she hopes that Twine will continue to serve as a community hub in the new location.
“Twine is a nice, happy place. People walk in happy and leave happier,” Cookman said.
Also new to the store are outdoor grounds with a patio and benches where some of the grand opening celebration activities will occur on Oct. 8. Twine also hopes offer other events in the future, such as outdoor movie screenings.
Cookman wants Twine to be inclusive to everyone in the community, and reflects that with the merchandise and layout of the store.
“I want people to come in and touch everything. I want people to open up a book and be inspired by what’s inside. I want people to feel comfortable in the store, and I want people to feel comfortable bringing their children into the store,” Cookman said.
Cookman said she tries to use independent vendors when finding stock her store. She said the store offers merchandise from around the state, country, and world, along with creations from local artisans.
“We’re known for our edgy cards, and these are really cool books that are not going to be face-out at a chain bookstore,” she said.
Besides books and cards, Twine’s boutique has something to satisfy everyone’s gift-buying or creative needs. A section of the store is established for more masculine gifts, like malt toothpaste and gifts made from items used during Major League Baseball games. A wide selection of adorable stuffed animals is available for small children. Kantha blankets from India, New Jersey Jewelry, Thinking Putty, Flying Wish Paper, Yoga Joes, candles, soaps, teas, and honeys are just a few more of the engaging items available for purchase in the store.