There’s a new bright spot that beckons you to visit on Beach Street in Vineyard Haven. Magnetic North has opened its doors for the season.
I am sure that you have seen the building next to the Chamber of Commerce being worked on over the last several months, and wondered what was going to be there. The space has been renovated front-to-back, top-to-bottom, and is so welcoming.
Summer resident and New Englander, Maggie Towles, decided in earnest last year that she wanted to open a store. Before having children, she had worked at dELiA*s (a teens’ fashion company) as the Director of Inventory Planning for Catalog and Online, and she wanted to do something with retail again.
However, where to open? In New York City (her off-season home) or Martha’s Vineyard? The choice became clear. It had to be Martha’s Vineyard. This is such a special place for her, and she loves being part of the community and being involved.
She wanted to brand the store with her name in a clever way and also give a nod to her heritage, she and her husband, author Amor Towles, came up with Magnetic North. It was perfect, it has a nautical feel, and evokes the idea of a journey and curiosity.
Almost like the store itself, it is like a journey. When you walk through the door, you are greeted by a light and airy space, that is both modern and classic at the same time. The store is anchored by two walls of display shelves that make your eyes dance with the colors and selection.
Interior designer, Mika Durrell from Hutker Architects, worked with Maggie to create a space that is the perfect melding of two worlds, NYC and MV.
Mika was able incorporate favorite details of Maggie’s like shiplap and super clean modern, lit shelving. There are vintage fixtures along side modern bespoke pieces, creating a one of a kind, memorable shop.
You’ll find pieces that say Brooklyn chic right along side modern takes on nautical classics, like the brand Kule. There are items that have a higher price point, like clothes brought over from Paris in Maggie’s suitcase, hand selected, and not available elsewhere in the states, and then you’ll find great little clutches for $25.
It just so happened Mika was there when I was, and I was able to catch her in one of the dresses that Maggie brought from Paris!
It’s not just for ladies, you’ll find really amazing bathing suits for men (and women), great sunglasses, blankets and more.
So many of the collections feel special, and that was the goal for Magnetic North. This is not a t-shirt shop. It is a place to get something unique, a memorable piece. A piece that when worn evokes a memory, a feeling. Some that are perfect for everyday, and some that are inspired, to be worn when you want to feel a little more Je Ne Sais Quoi.
There are even some fun pieces for the littles in your life! Be sure to check out the adorable pieces from Little Titlee from Paris.
Almost every item has a story. On the walls, you’ll find the nautical, whimsical art work of Maggie’s friend Kate Schelter. Kate, who lives in New York and Cape Cod, is a good friend of Maggie’s. Each year there will be a new artist highlighted.
In the jewelry cases, you’ll find some local talent. Magnetic North carries local jewelry designer Nettie Kent whose pieces have become Island staples. I also was introduced to the work of Susan Nieland who works with brass.
She took stones Maggie found on the beaches of West Chop and created the most beautiful wearable art. Talk about a memorable gift of the Island for yourself!
On one side of the store, you’ll find a wall filled with great home accessories including an impressive selection of games. Vacationing here is synonymous with family (and friends) game day or night. On a stormy day, there is nothing better than a little friendly competition.
On the other side of the store, you’ll find the fun accessories wall, featuring amazing clutches from Claire V., super fun, bright hand bags, and the most beautiful cashmere, linen blend sweaters and more.
Store manager, Jennifer Welte, I think said it best, “It is a place of hunting and gathering.” The space is open and ready to entertain, and everywhere you look there are new things to explore. Perhaps today is the day for your journey.
Not only is Magnetic North a great addition to the shopping scene in Vineyard Haven, it is also going to be the home of a satellite Behind the Bookstore coffee shop.
Yes, you read that right. There is a coffee shop in the store. Just like Nordstrom, I love it! You will be able to access the shop through the store and it will also have it’s own entrance in the back of the building, because the hours for BTB will be a little different.
Maggie enjoys Behind the Bookstore in Edgartown, and it’s her favorite coffee on the Island. She had the hope to bring it closer to home, and where better, than her store. She called up owner, Jeffrey Sudikoff, and it turns out he had been looking for a way to bring BTB to Vineyard Haven. If she built it, they would come.
Currently finishing up construction, you can bet that I will be doing a follow-up story on this once it’s completed!
Imagine a shop filled with hand picked, special pieces and Behind the Bookstore all under one roof! It’s quite the addition to Vineyard Haven which is really becoming quite the new town.
Magnetic North is open daily 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.