Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Talking Shop

Like SoNo Marketplace, the New England Emporium Eatery and Marketplace is a shopping experience I wish so much that I could love unreservedly, but I can't. This spacious mostly-breakfast-type restaurant and gift store inside the Main Street Market in Middletown should be the best thing ever. Eggs and shopping, what more could you want, right?

But sadly, though they claim to sell "the best collection of locally made specialty goods," the selection is a little underwhelming.

This criticism is not limited to the New England Emporium. There was a shop in New London that sold Connecticut-made goods, which I believe has since closed. As I always assumed it would, because while the concept was great, the execution was disappointing.

I don't know why these places never quite live up to their potential. It's certainly not for a lack of wonderful locally-made products.

I haven't been to the Connecticut Store in Waterbury yet; I hope it's amazing and completely changes my mind. (Though Steve's visit to the store for Connecticut Museum Quest doesn't exactly give me confidence that it will be the shopping experience I'm looking for.)

The things is, Connecticut can be a land of contrasts frustrating place to defend. The depth and breadth of everything it offers is so vast that no one believes you when you attempt to explain it (particularly fun for a writer pitching local travel stories, let me tell you) and the few commercial ventures that should help you in your efforts often just...don't.

And we're talking about shopping. Don't we, as a state, have a misleading yet nevertheless not incorrect reputation to uphold here?


  1. to be fair, when they first opened, the "gift shop" part of the Emporium was a lot better -- better stocked, more interesting/unique/higher quality stuff. I just don't think that they move enough product to keep that end of their business up.

    Still one of the better places to grab lunch on Main St., though.

  2. Agree, I do recall it being better a few years ago.



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