Owl and Moon brings unique to rural shoppers

ContributedRaine Briggs, owner of The Owl and the Moon, stands in her West Burlington shop Friday. 

The Owl and the Moon, at 2398 state Highway in West Burlington, celebrated a decade in business last August but remains, owner Raine Briggs said, a hidden Otsego County gem.

Loved by vintage enthusiasts, consignors, collectors and community members in need of a chat, the four-room store is a study in eclecticism. Visitors to the 1820 home-turned-boutique can browse jewelry, candles and incense, stationery and handmade paper goods, fair-trade textiles, local food items, fashion accessories and clothing.

Briggs, 52, said the idea for her own, free-spirited retail space grew out of time spent working in the gift shop of the Fenimore Art Museum 12 years ago.

“I had an awesome boss who let me be involved with every aspect of the gift shop,” she said. “It was because of that experience … that I was able to open up a small business.”

Though The Owl and the Moon began in a nearby barn, Briggs said, shoppers’ response necessitated expansion soon after opening.

She said, “I needed a bigger space, and now here I am in this really cool building.” Briggs noted that local historians believe the historic home was once part of the Underground Railroad or a bootlegging enterprise.

Since relocating, Briggs said, steady growth has been matched by continued support from clients near and far.

“It’s going well,” she said. “Every August, I do my anniversary party, and that just keeps getting bigger and bigger.”

“My local community is awesome and (has) been so supportive,” Briggs said. “The West Burlington, Edmeston and New Berlin areas are my staples, but I get a lot of people from Norwich and Sherburne, too.” She added, “And some from Cooperstown.”

Part of the continuing appeal, Briggs said, lies in the store’s constantly evolving, distinctive inventory.

“We’ve got thousands of pieces of jewelry and a vintage section with handbags, hats and shoes,” she said. “And we’ve got tons of new things. It’s always changing.”

An online reviewer expressed appreciation for the store’s variety, calling The Owl and the Moon “an everything shop.” She wrote, “Plan on giving yourself some extra time to check out the assortment of items. (There are) so many … and it’s a great place to buy unique gifts, or gifts for yourself. I always look forward to stopping.”

Recently, Briggs said, she has introduced a small tearoom to the shop, as well as a limited selection of gift items for men.

The former, she said, has been a hit and gives shoppers an opportunity to sit, visit and chat, making The Owl and the Moon more than just a retail experience.

“You can come in and have a scone, some tea or coffee — whatever I happen to have that day — and it’s all on a donation basis,” Briggs said. Baked goods, she said, are made locally and, when possible, with local ingredients.

Though she will accept tearoom parties with notice, Briggs said, those are also donations-only.

“(The tearoom) has gone over really well,” she said. “I call myself a retail therapist, because I have people come in and sit down and … they feel like this is just part of their life.”

Briggs emphasized that visitors need not be shoppers to stop in. She said a long-term goal will be transitioning the in-store tearoom to a dedicated space, also on the property.

To learn more, call or text Briggs at 435-9808. Additionally, announcements of sales are made via The Owl and the Moon Facebook page.

The Owl and the Moon is closed Mondays.


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