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Old Town celebrates SOUPer Mudfest

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Green Canyon Outfitters in the French Settlement building on Beach Blvd. specializes in high-end affordable outdoor apparel and accessories.

The SOUPer Mudfest kicks off Saturday, March 10, at 4 p.m., near the corner of Main and Second streets. Early bird sales of bowls begin at 3:30 p.m. For $20.00, you can be part of the fun. Buy your bowl for $20 at Main and Second Street, and tour Bay St Louis Old Town businesses to enjoy a tasting of over 20 soups.

As usual, two Old Town Merchant Association Hot Spot businesses will be featured: Green Canyon Outfitters and the Antique Maison Ulman and Tea Room.

Green Canyon outfitters

For Brennan Marlowe, sole proprietor of Green Canyon Outfitters, 108 S. Beach Blvd., Bay St. Louis, above Cuz’s Restaurant, the best part of owning a business in Bay St. Louis is the opportunity to give back to his home community. Marlowe, a Waveland native, elaborates: “When I was at St. Stanislaus just before the Katrina era, I would have to drive to Gulfport or Biloxi to get what I needed. So, when I opened Green Canyon Outfitters, I said I would have access to things I couldn’t get before. I didn’t go into the business thinking I would become a millionaire, but if you can keep it alive and rolling to give back, that’s the point.”

Green Canyon Outfitters specializes in high-end affordable outdoor apparel and accessories. As might be expected, most of the business comes from locals, including St. Stanislaus students, between March and July. Marlowe is happy to report, though, that many repeat out-of-state customers make yearly trips to the store. “From the beginning,” he explains, “I wanted to make sure that the customer-service experience exceeded the customer’s expectations.”

Indeed, the online reviews of the store are all positive and range from “Great company with an amazing selection of products to choose from,” to “Pricing is great, and customer service was outstanding,” to “This is the go-to place for cool outdoorsy styles.” Marlowe likes to say that the store focuses on Southern Hospitality. “We’re friendly,” he says.

As a buyer, Marlowe chooses to focus on items that give back “somehow or some way.”  This includes the Parks Project and tentree clothing lines. For each Parks Project item purchased, a percentage of proceeds from the sale goes to one of over 30 different conservancies across the United States to provide funding for National Parks. For every item purchased at tentree, ten trees are planted. This is the sort of thing that excites Brenna Marlowe: “Not only are you buying something; you’re buying some thing,” he says. More mainstream products include Patagonia, Hard Tail, Royal Robbins, and a line of sunglasses to die for: Maui Jim, Olukai, Ray Ban, and Shwood. 

Marlowe graduated from Ole Miss with a degree in exercise and physiology with an emphasis on pre-medical studies, but he had this idea for the store, and he just wanted to try it. “A lot of people have ideas,” Marlowe explains, “and I thought to myself, well, why not just do it? If it fails tomorrow, I will still be young enough to try something else.”  Admirable courage.

Stop by the Green Canyon Outfitters on Second Saturday, March 10, between 4:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. for special Hot Spot sale items.  Stock up on your favorites. Feel good about yourself in the process. 

Antique Maison Ulman and Tea Room

In July 2014, Sylvia and Ed Young opened the Antique Maison Ulman and Tea Room, managed by Missy Geisel. The Ulman location, a branch of Antique Maison on Second Street, is an ideal place for private events like showers, graduation parties, and wedding receptions.

Once owners of a business on the 2000 block of Magazine Street, the couple relocated to Bay St. Louis in 1990. A year later, they opened a tuxedo, bridal, and costume shop on Second Street. However, like many Bay St. Louis merchants, Hurricane Katrina played a role in the lives of Sylvia and Ed Young. After Katrina wrecked its havoc on the Second Street building, Sylvia and Ed renovated and reopened it as an antique store—Antique Maison.

The Antique Maison Ulman and Tea Room came later as did Sylvia’s latest vision—an outdoor garden. In the center of the garden stands the Heavenly Tea Garden Tree, an historical tree dedicated by Father Jim of St. Augustine Seminary.

In addition to two tea rooms, one private with seating up to twenty, the expansive main dining room, which holds thirty-five, and the garden and deck area, which adds additional seating for thirty-five, is the store itself. The Ulman branch of Antique Maison features three large display rooms housing antiques, nostalgia, and vintage in quality furniture, home décor, art, collectables, jewelry, china, and crystal. If guests do not find what they are looking for, Sylvia will happily walk them into the Quonset hut dedicated to special sale items and overflow. Treasures abound!

Sylvia delights in operating the Ulman site. She explains that many of her customers are just passing through. Some are visiting. Some are lost. Some just got off the highway and found themselves at the store. “I always play tour guide,” she says. “I take out the map and tell folks where things are, where to eat, and so forth.” Sylvia notes that her first-time customers often fall in love with Bay St Louis. Sometimes they mention buying a house, and she calls upon her 35 years in real estate to give them information.

The Antique Maison Ulman and Tea Room, Garden is open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The Tearoom offers a wide assortment of hot and cold teas, iced and hot coffees, soft drinks, and desserts. High Tea Windsor is offered, as well, albeit by reservation only. Reservations are requested 48 hours in advance.

 Whether you are a frequent visitor, a newbie, or have lived here all your life, do stop by on Second Saturday, March 10, between 4:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. Sylvia and Missy will be serving soups from the High Tea menu to those with proof of Mudfest purchase along with samples from the High Tea menu. 

Elsewhere for Second Saturday

Visit Gallery 220 at 220 Main Street, Bay St. Louis to celebrate SOUPer Mudfest and Second Saturday. There you will also get the chance to meet featured artist Herb Willey and enjoy the newly-renovated gallery.

Willey is an internationally renowned artist. Last year, he was granted Master Membership by the International Watercolor Society Global division based in Hong Kong.

He has been lauded by the Louisiana Watercolor Society numerous times; and recognized by the International Watercolor Society, with shows in Hong Kong and Taiwan.

As a self-employed designer from 1965-2003, Herb won awards from companies including Mercury Outboard Motors and Cook Chemical Company.

His primary watercolor instruction was with the well known New Orleans watercolorist, Harrel Gray and his work was on display at the Old Quarter Gallery in the French Quarter during the 90’s. Herb is a full-time Bay St Louis resident.

His work is displayed at Gallery 220 and Bay Life in Bay St Louis and his prints are for sale in the Walter Anderson Museum in Ocean Springs. His watercolor pieces have been juried and honored in regional, national and international shows including the Arts of Hancock County, The Gulf Coast Art Association, the Ocean Springs Art Association, The Pass Christian Art Association annual shows and the River Road Show in Baton Rouge.

California Drawstrings

The Mudfest isn't the only thing "Souper" in Old Town this weekend -- the prices and selections at California Drawstrings -- 216 Main St. -- are pretty "super," as well.

"We don't try to be everything to everybody," store owner Linda Keenan says, "but we concentrate on comfortable clothing, made in the USA if possible, and we carry all sizes from extra small up to 3x, so we can fit almost anybody, and if they like comfortable clothing, this is where to come."

Keenan makes sure that California Drawstrings offers the Coast's finest resort wear.

She prefers clothing that is made in the U.S. and uses natural fibers, like those made by brands such as Flax and Matchpoint.

A native of Park Ridge, Ill., and alumnae of Spring Hill College in Massachusetts, Keenan fell in love with the Gulf South when she came down to New Orleans in advance of the 1984 World's Fair.

She was in real estate at the time, but knew people coming from the north to New Orleans would be in need of some lighter clothing. She started at the French Market with two tables and a $1,500 investment, which eventually grew into a $1.4 million a year business, with stores on Royal Street in New Orleans; in Covington; and in Bay St. Louis.

She originally came to the Bay a few years ago in response to an invitation from Maggie May's owner Nancy Moynan. Keenan determined that Bay St. Louis is where she wanted to spend the rest of her days.

She first opened a shop inside Maggie May's, then expanded her inventory and moved into the building at 216 Main St.

Stop by on Second Saturday for a "super" shopping experience. For more information, call 228-463-2124.

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