Retail trends may come and go, but in Baltimore’s the Village of Cross Keys, some things have stayed the same. The 54-year-old shopping center has remained a fixture of North Baltimore with loyal customers who come for the unique merchandise, personalized service and walkable, outdoor courtyard with seasonal plants and benches. Anchored by Williams Sonoma and Talbots, the center’s small businesses include the Pied Piper, Store Ltd., Octavia Boutique among other specialty tenants.
The Village of Cross Keys is the perfect spot to support local stores as you kick off your holiday shopping on Nov. 30, also known as Small Business Saturday. Bring the kids to visit Santa and enjoy the carolers and hot cocoa during its Holiday Hoopla. Some of the stores will feature their own celebrations, like the Pied Piper, which will have champagne for the adults and lollipops for the kids along with a festive window display.
“There’s no other place in Baltimore like the Village of Cross Keys,” says Pied Piper owner Rosemary “Cookie” Schneider. Schneider’s mom opened the children’s clothing and gift store 54 years ago, and she moved it to Cross Keys in 1995. “It’s a gem of Baltimore City and always has been.”
Parents can outfit their kids in style for the holidays at the Pied Piper, which is selling smock holiday dresses, boys’ suits, and jackets, sweaters and jumpers that can be monogrammed. There are also pajama sets that come with matching books and raincoats with matching boots and umbrellas. Select merchandise will be 30 percent off.
“We go the extra mile to get our customers what they want,” Schneider says. “Our customers are still seeking us out. We’re still sought after.”
People have come to the Store Ltd since the center’s debut in 1965 for contemporary jewelry and gift items. Its holiday merchandise includes many unique imported holiday items, including bright Finnish mugs, animal hand puppets from the Caribbean and European block toys, says owner Betty Cooke. It’s also selling hand-made Nativity scene crèches from Bolivia and Peru, plus plenty of scarves and, of course, silver and gold jewelry.
“It’s a great place because it’s small and intimate and it appeals to a lot of people who don’t want to face a big shopping center,” Cooke says of the Village of Cross Keys.
After a day of shopping, head to the Village Café to enjoy comfort food and live music on select evenings at the café from 6-7:30 p.m. “Our business continues to thrive as we have become a destination for simple, fresh food combined with warm hospitality,” says Co-owner Roseann Glick. She estimates that the bulk of her customers are regulars who visit two to seven days a week. “This is what makes our business so special.”
You can visit the Village of Cross Keys at:
Village of Cross Keys
5100 Falls Road
Baltimore, MD 21210