Meridian Industrial


4/1/2024 | HOPE E. TREMBLAY


The charming, rustic shops at 62 South Rd., Somers, offer customers three different, yet complimentary, shopping experiences.

The building, owned by Judy and Bruce Cox, is comprised of J. Howard Cox, an equestrian specialty shop, Mary’s Market, which focuses on unique rustic farmhouse items, and Foxglove Antiques, which is a gift shop with a variety of elegant offerings.

The Cox family purchased the building, which is just a mile from their home, in 1985. Judy Howard Cox had been immersed in the equestrian world, showing horses, and later ponies, and creating custom riding clothing. She taught for five years and took a sabbatical to help her ailing mother and never returned to academics.

“I concentrated on the shop and horse-themed artwork and antiques,” she said. “When we opened, I had a full-service tack shop, and then I had a baby at 39 and it was a change of life.”

Cox pulled back from the tack shop and rented the space from 1992-1997 while raising her family. In 1997 she and an artist friend reimagined the space as a gallery and today continues to run her business of art and antiques and custom equestrian clothing in the back of the building while MaryEllen Burson of Mary’s Market and Eric Schultz of Foxglove Antiques welcome shoppers in the front.

Cox said it’s a nice mix.

“They’re both really wonderful people with amazing work ethics,” she said of her tenants.

For Burson, the South Road shop is her second location. Her first is her produce stand and greenhouse at 103 Main St. in Somers. Burson said she grows some of the produce herself and much is grown by her son and his father. Additionally, she sells other items also grown locally.

Always someone who enjoyed making something new by repurposing items, Burson began selling floral creations, small refinished furnishings and sewn items in the greenhouse.

Schultz recommended she look into expanding on South Road and found it was a great space and a way to sell her creations all year.

“The shop is open Thursday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. all year, and the produce stand is open in good weather, so it works out well,” she said.

Inside Mary’s Market customers will find an eclectic mix of items created by Burson herself as well as soaps and candles made by other local artisans. Burson said her aesthetic leans toward rustic farmhouse with a bit of boho mixed in. She also like the distressed shabby chic look and farmy colors such as barn red and mustard yellow. She likes working with transfers on wood and said she can’t pass up a good deal.

“I find things on the side of the road and at thrift stores, and a lot of the things I repurpose were given to me,” Burson said. “Sometimes I see something and know what I want to do with it right away, and other times I think on it but eventually it comes to me. Nothing goes to waste.”

Most of Burson’s refinished furnishings are smallscale, from side tables and nightstands and coffee tables. She does have a few larger pieces such as buffet tables and hutches and said creating garden chairs is afavorite.

“I will remove the seat and make a planter and fill it with flowers,” she said. Burson also enjoys sewing and offers handmade table runners and aprons and upcycles old sweaters into mittens.

“I’ve been making things my whole life,” she said.

“I have always had a creative mind and liked to make things.”

Burson, who opened at South Road in November 2023, said she is enjoying the community feeling at the shops.

For Schultz, the shop is a second home. He previously owned an antiques-only shop at the same location but said after nine years, he wanted a change.

“The younger customers just are not looking for antiques and I wanted to try something new,” he said. So, last fall he switched out the majority of his antiques — he still offers some, including watering cans and other garden items — and moved into giftware.

“I have been in the antiques business for 22 years,” said Schultz, who worked for Stanton Auction House for many years. He also was a floral designer and currently works part-time at Bilton’s Mountainside Orchard in Hampden, where he also sells some of his own custom garden and floral designs. Making the change from antiques to giftware was a leap of faith that paid off.

“I tried something different, and I’m so glad,” said Schultz, noting that his first month saw more customers than ever.

Schultz offers a line of face creams and lotions and “things that make you feel pretty,” as well as gardenthemed gifts. With an elegant aesthetic — think orchids — Schultz said his shop offers something a little different than what Mary’s Market has, but added that all three shops “compliment each other and blend together so well. It’s a nice group.”


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