Clothing & Gifts with Vintage Appeal
Treasures & Uncommon Finds at Gatehouse in Southport!
STORY BY: LESLIE FOSTER
Perhaps it’s the porch brimming with its unique pieces that beckons to shoppers to come in and browse this charming and eclectic Southport shop. And if the pieces on the porch don’t tempt you, the goods inside certainly will!
Meesha, the owner of Gatehouse has been a store owner for 13 years in Southport. Her eye for selecting beautiful women’s clothing trends to vintage style and old world charm. (Think French) and her knack for finding beautiful and unusual pieces for the home compliments the rooms and front porch of her shop on Howe. Whether you are searching for the softest pajamas you will ever wear, or a vintage inspired dress to wear this summer, Gatehouse is a shop not to be missed! One of the most appealing things about Gatehouse is that it is not your typical gift shop catering to tourists. Meesha chooses her inventory carefully and it shows. Shop here for truly unique, pretty things, gifts that are whimsical, functional, vintage and new. This is a shop that calls out for you to stay awhile, touch the merchandise, try on the dress and buy that special gift. Southport is a special town, filled with wonderful small businesses and Gatehouse is certainly one of the best.
Q: How would you describe the vibe of your shop?
My customers have commented that the Gatehouse has a very French, New Orleans feel and vibe to it. I have been in business for almost twenty years. Thirteen of which have been here in Southport…originally on Moore St. many still remember me as Under the Eaves.. I changed the name when I moved uptown in 2008 to Meesha Co. Now at my final location 620 Howe St. Meesha Co. at the Gatehouse. I added Gatehouse to the name because, at one time, there was a gate across Howe Street that was opened and closed in the mornings and evenings. I am located in one of the 3 houses built in the 1920s for 3 sisters and they came to be called the Gatehouses because there proximity to the gate. I believe I can attribute my longevity in the retail business to my pure will to be independent and make a living for myself and being able to adapt to changing economics and circumstances as a chameleon would.
Q: What do you attribute your success?
The Gatehouse is a very eclectic shop and I suppose that is a reflection of my personality. I imagine I could make more money buying and selling run of the mill chain store type gifts that appeal to the majority, but I would have been be bored years ago I love the thrill of hunting for treasures not found everywhere.
Q: Your shop is very eclectic! Which items are your bestsellers?
Typical a gift item you would find at the Gatehouse would more likely be a brass sparrow paperweight, a wind mobile with black bats made from driftwood or a magnifying glass with a goat horn handle. I would have to say thought that my most popular item is my vintage inspired clothing that is ageless with a romantic feel yet something you would feel comfortable wearing to the waterfront. To enjoy a glass of wine and watch the sunset.
Q: I find that the shops in Southport are a reflection of their owners tastes and interests. How is Gatehouse a reflection of you, Meesha? The front porch of your shop holds an assortment of garden related gifts. What can $50 buy? You have a large reclaimed wood mirror behind your counter. Where do you find such unique and appealing pieces? If I came into your shop in search of a gift for my mother/sister/friend, what would I probably leave with?
I would say that the Gatehouse reflects my love of vintage items both in clothing and gifts. Since I have such a beautiful large porch on the Gatehouse, I like to have a spattering of garden related items, unusual flower pots in the shape of burlap sacks, baskets, water faucet soap dishes and bud vases…all under $50. I also have some more expensive items such as metal alligator yard art and deer planters made from recycled steel drums. I always like to have a few one of kind pieces I pick up on my travels found in old barns and farms of friends in Virginia. So, if you were to shop in my store for a gift for your mother, friend or sister, you would come away with something they would love …something uncommon. Perhaps a necklace made from orange peels and tropical seeds and hand dyed in magnificent hues, a fringed vest or an arrowhead necklace.
FAVORITE FOOD: Well, I drive an Italian Fiat… creamy white with a chocolate brown leather interior and a personalized license plate that reads ‘Cannoli’
FAVORITE BOOK: My all time favorite book is still the DaVinci Code. I love the history and mystery.
FAVORITE MUSIC: I love the Blues…Keb Mo and Gypsy guitar!
FAVORITE PLACE TO TRAVEL: St. Augustine, Florida and New Orleans. I feel transported in time.
FAVORITE THING ABOUT SOUTHPORT:
The music and the waterfront. I like to drive to the waterfront every morning to remind myself of how fortunate I am!