Eclectible Shop, which is just a few minutes beyond our campus on Northwest Boulevard, is truly one of a kind. The eccentric blue walls that encase the windows displaying vintage cameras and glassware are a warm welcome to first-time guests and seasoned customers alike. The quaint exterior has the countenance of a modest roadside shop, but, upon taking a few steps inside, I realized there was much more than what initially met my eye.
I felt as if I was thrown into a labyrinth of literature and art, surrounded by bookshelves and decorative art that spiraled in every direction. The store is a wonderful and harmonious orchestra of disorder. There are stray books in every nook and cranny, furniture on the ceiling, paintings on the floor and miscellaneous boxes of magazines and periodicals throughout.
The shop really has everything. I found books on philosophy, history, math and science. There were biographies, religious texts, classics from across the globe and encyclopedias on just about everything. There was a rich catalog of photobooks, where you could see everything from modern fashion in Japan, to the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright, to some of the most celebrated photographs of the 19th century. There aren’t too many book stores where you can find Nietzsche just a couple of feet away from “Twilight”.
As I stepped downstairs, the ensemble continued to grow. There was a large section dedicated to vintage pieces of vinyl, ranging from Elton John and The Beach Boys, to spiritual records and classical music, too. There were some old-timey record players for sale, as well. I found some throwback publications of Time and Life Magazine, and I learned about all of the wonderful health benefits of Marlboro cigarettes!
Another nice little touch, found near the back of the store, is a room filled with children’s books and youth literature. Some of your favorite bedtime stories and elementary school chapter books are in there, alongside some retro Marvel and DC comics and board games. The decorations and artwork displayed play up the nursery theme, and the room is an impressive pocket of cohesion.
If you spend enough time at Eclectible Shop, you may start to feel like you are walking around in the mind of the most cultured and well-traveled crazy-genius of all time.
I really enjoyed my time at the store. I found the atmosphere comforting and exciting. It was an adventure sifting through the relentless waves of tomes, and I kept finding myself surprised by some of the titles I unearthed. I started to get the impression that one could discover just about anything at Eclectible Shop, so long as they weren’t searching for anything made in the past couple of decades. The space looked great and carried with it the elusive, unparalleled smell of aged, leather-bound parchment.
I think, perhaps, the unsung heroes of the entire store are the cool rugs dispersed throughout.
After wandering around for quite a while, I had the pleasure of being able to talk with Frank Frye, the owner of Eclectible Shop and a Winston-Salem local. I asked him if he had anything that he wanted to say in this article, and he wished to only remind everyone to enjoy themselves and make the most of their time here. I checked out and was getting ready to leave when I stopped and asked him what his favorite thing about the place was. He quickly and simply told me, “The people.”
I could tell he meant it.
If you are looking for a cozy shopping trip that is perfect for a cloudy, lazy Saturday, I would certainly recommend heading down to Eclectible Shop and picking up some books on, well, anything. I know I’ll be back soon.