Find a few of your favorite things at the Cedar Chest in Wimberley. And, usually these are things you can’t find anyplace else in town.
“You’re going to find things that shops in the outlet mall don’t carry and you’ll find unique things because many of our lines are exclusive to us in Wimberley,” says Sarah Barlow. Sarah and husband Steve own and run the shop.
They opened Cedar Chest in 1996, making it one of the oldest retail businesses in Wimberley. It was a dream Sarah had since she was a child when she got a toy cash register for Christmas.
That dream was stuck in the back of her mind while she worked in finances at IBM. Visiting Wimberley only made the dream more persistent.
“I always admired Betsy’s Hanger,” she says of the unique clothing boutique that was a fixture here. “I wanted to do something like that.”
She and Steve, who was an engineer at IBM, bought the old Texaco gas station on the Square and opened the Cedar Chest, working full-time at IBM during the week and weekends at the Cedar Chest.
The couple put a lot of sweat into opening the shop, putting in a new wooden floor in back by themselves, and making sure the exterior of the building fit in with the general Hill Country ambiance that is Wimberley.
It was a lot of hard work, but when they retired a few years ago, the Cedar Chest became a full-time fixation.
They started simply, stocking just a few handmade items at first, then evolving into the unique shop they have today. They’ve been so successful that the Cedar Chest in the small village of Wimberley is one of the top Pandora jewelry dealers in Texas. They do that by keeping on top of trends.
The retail business is a moving target, Sarah explains, and if you want to stay in business you need to move when the market moves.
She does that by frequenting several wholesale markets each year, often bringing along people like sister Elizabeth Hall and Jillian Atkins who help out at the store. It helps them understand trends and get ideas for shop displays, Sarah points out.
“You have to keep your product fresh,” she says. “You have to think ahead. You need to constantly have the pulse of the business. Go to market. Read trend reports. Know what will be popular and what color is selling.”
She’s ruthless about that, too. No matter how much she loves a product, she says, if it’s not paying for the space it’s taking up in the shop, it’s gone.
“And you need to listen to your customers. They vote with their pocketbooks. We have a very loyal customer base that we’ve built up over the years,” Sarah says. “If you listen to your customers, you can find out a lot. I want that feedback, so it’s important for me to be here.”
Indeed, it’s difficult to visit the shop and not find her there.
“I buy the inventory and Steve stocks it,” she says with a passionate smile. “We’re here seven days a week.”
Think Sarah is enthusiastic? Just try to keep up with her as she flits from display to display, telling you all about each one. How the Miracle Body clothing slims a figure; how you can customize several of the jewelry lines; how the Mariana jewelry is still handmade in Israel; how the Thymes line of lotions, perfumes and even dishwashing cleaners smell so wonderful; how the Pandora jewelry features 14K gold and diamonds and famed Murano glass beads; how the Tervis mugs keep liquids hot or cold and feature logos of sports teams or Disney characters; how the Smash books aren’t just scrapbooks but stylish ways to preserve personal history; how the oils in the Lampe Berger candles can not only eliminate odors but cure what ails you; how the fancy Yellowbox sandals are more than just cushy flip-flops; how the unusual Consuela handbags may be the most useful accessory a woman can have.
More? Plenty more. You’ll find a complete line of Brighton items, from jewelry to purses to belts to sunglasses. Waxing Poetic charms and jewelry. Pré de Provence soaps. Armadillo and horned frog piggy banks. Tyler candles. My Flat in London handbags and accessories. Beanie Babies. And still more.
What you won’t find here are cedar chests.
“We actually had some when we first opened,” Sarah laughs. “But they didn’t sell. So they’re gone.”
The Cedar Chest will also host several promotional events over the holidays, including one for Pandora, one for Brighton, and one for My Flat in London.
“We try our best to have something fun for everyone,” Sarah says.
The Cedar Chest is located at 13915 Ranch Road 12, Wimberley 78676. For more information, call 512-847-1100 or visit the website at cedar-chest.com.