Retail Spotlight

Meet the Shopkeeper: Charley and May Co.

A little bit of everything on the top of Queen Anne.

By Caitlin Creel August 15, 2011


Owner: Lauren Formicola
Charley and May Co.

WWD: What song or album is playing on your store’s sound system right now?
Formicola: “Cuddle Fuddle” by Passion Pit.

What was your first job in retail? What did you love or hate about it and how does it compare to what you do now?
I worked for McCarthy and Schiering Wine Merchants in Queen Anne. It was awesome to work with the pros in the wine business, Dan McCarthy, James Fessler, and Kurt Krause. I tried to just hold my own as the “pour girl” on Saturdays. Pouring, selling and talking about fine wines from all over the world is like a civilized party that you get paid for. I am not sure it was work.

What’s your favorite thing in the store right now?
The ultra cool, classic Tivoli radios. The inspiration for my shop is based on form and function and fun and the Tivoli has it all. The tiny, highly designed radio continues to wow with outstanding audio and design. I have had a Tivoli for years and they are perfect for small, clean spaces. The original designer Henry Kloss produced the Tivoli to listen to the Boston Symphony Orchestra with better clarity.

Where do you shop when you’re not at your store?
Mostly, I shop to keep my shop going. Ken’s Market for provisions, Five Corners Hardware for fix it gear, Queen Anne Dispatch for an outfit on the go, and Video Isle for popcorn and my film fix. Right now I am working on season three of Weeds.

What do you love about your store’s neighborhood? What nearby restaurants, coffee shops, etc do you recommend?
I love the dogs. Every day is a dog parade, minis and large pony-sized mutts strut the Ave on a daily basis. Also, it took a village to open up Charley + May Co. So, many of my neighboring friends and business owners pitched in to make it happen. Also, Queen Anne Avenue is chocked full of places to hang and mighty favorites. Caffe Ladro is a few doors down and they are masters of coffee, Hilltop Ale House for a cold one and Ototo Sushi. I also send people to A. J. Meats, Portage, Betty’s, Emmer & Rye and Malena’s Taco Shop on McGraw for a crispy chicken taco.

What’s the weirdest thing that’s ever happened in your store?
Well, it may not be weird but it is different for Queen Anne. In my front window I have a fully restored 1974 Honda CB200 Cafe Racer with custom green blue shifting metal flake paint, with nickel plated “clubman” handlebars with LED bar-end turn signals from Jerimah at North City Vintage Honda. Also, out front greeting all who walk by, I have April, a polka dotted pig from Kinga Cerska’s Pigs on Parade submission in 2001. People like to tap April on the nose for good luck. At night I place the giant pig in the shop with assistance from the butcher of A. J. Meats; he knows how to handle his bacon.

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