Visitors as well as residents should see The Cotton Exchange, located between Front and Nutt streets in historic downtown Wilmington. The eight buildings that make up The Cotton Exchange were once part of the world’s largest cotton exporting company. They were converted to a shopping and dining complex in the early 1970s. Be sure to stop in the lower level vestibule and take time to read about the history.
Today the businesses that are housed here specialize primarily in local handcrafted merchandise that is not available elsewhere. Two art galleries call The Cotton Exchange home.
Port City Pottery & Fine Crafts
Port City Pottery & Fine Crafts is dedicated exclusively to handmade, one-of-a-kind, three-dimensional works of art. The selection offered here is superb. Pottery, fiber art, basketry, woodworking, jewelry and mixed media sculpture are found in the shop presented by jury-selected coastal North Carolina artisans. Hand-painted scarves and beautiful jewelry to enhance any outfit also are on display.
For more information visit www.portcitypottery.com
The Golden Gallery
The Golden Gallery opened in 1977 and now is in its fifth location there. The artists are what make the Golden Gallery unique; with one small exception, they are all Golden! On display are the works of Mary Ellen Golden, a watercolorist; John W. Golden, son of the owners, a photographer with a large catalog of images of the Cape Fear region, and Melissa Manley, a metal smith and honorary Golden. Patriarch John C. Golden, a folksinger and storyteller, has CDs available.
For more information visit www.thegoldengallery.com
Fidler’s Gallery & Framing
Fidler’s Gallery and Wrigley’s Clocks has been in the Cotton Exchange since 1978. The owners of Wrigley’s Clocks are skilled enough to take care of your heirloom grandfather clock, since they’ve been repairing and servicing clocks for 30 years. They also are expert framers and provide professional picture hanging services too. You’ll find 4,000 square feet of gifts here, including three-dimensional art, a huge selection of prints, vases, hand-made beaded fish, statuary, and, of course, clocks. Prices range from $5 to $100.
For more information visit http://www.fidlersgallery.com
Two Sisters Bookery
Two Sisters Bookery is an independent bookstore that welcomes browsers. The store features both classic and contemporary books and has a selection of first editions, collectibles, and signed books as well. The Bookery has a wide variety of bookmarks, unique greeting cards, reading glasses, umbrellas, Groovy Girls and Ugly Dolls too. Whether you’re looking for a Coastal Carolina cookbook, regional ghost tales, any of Pat Conroy’s titles or most anything else, you’ll find it in this friendly store. And if you need a recommendation, don’t hesitate to ask. They’re happy to help.
For more information visit https://www.facebook.com/twosistersbookery/