On Route 7 in Gaylordsville sits an unassuming home goods store that’s reached its 100th year in existence. Enter The Basket Shop and The Carriage Barn—the two shops were previously in separate buildings, but are now being merged into one—and you’ll discover a wide range of reasonably priced finds. Owners Reed and Carol Hotchkiss issue a warm welcome to come by and visit the shop; you’re sure to find a gift or a pleasant new item for you or your home.
Reed explained that they want to “meet customer’s expectations,” noting that in the past they had added some more upscale items, but realized that their clientele was truly more interested in well-made, but price-friendly goods. Anyone who’s interested in supporting this quaint local business will enter the store and see gorgeous baskets in an array of shapes, sizes, and colors. The intricately-woven, high-quality baskets are made from a variety of materials and sourced both in the United States and internationally. Start up a conversation with Reed about the shop’s baskets and you’ll be immersed in the interesting world of basket making. “He loves to talk about the baskets,” Carol said.
In addition to the many basket options, customers will find gorgeous throws, handmade rugs and linens, hand-dipped and homemade candles in a host of scents, unique crocks and kitchenware, beautiful wreaths, country-style lampshades, delightful-smelling potpourri, and more. There are also many fine soaps and lotions in a wide variety of scents, plus lovely greeting cards. And be sure to check out the delicious treats that are available, such as jams, jellies, mustards, and other spreads.
The Basket Shop has been Reed’s store since 1987 when he took over ownership from his parents, Grace and DeWolfe Hotchkiss, after they had run the business since 1967. Prior to the Hotchkiss’s ownership, the business was owned by Al Farnham, who ran the shop for over 20 years and who incorporated a nursery/garden center into the store’s offerings in his time. The Basket Shop was originally founded in 1921 by George Ward. The shop’s current building was constructed in 1926, with subsequent additions built in place as the business expanded. A popular roadside spot throughout its history, the shop once offered gasoline, ice cream, and other convenience items, but baskets have always remained the focus of the store. A long skinny space, the building backs up to the Housatonic River and has gorgeous views to admire while you shop.
There’s a storied past to The Basket Shop, from being a destination for travellers heading up the highway to the Berkshires and being featured in a commercial for Australian biscuits to its ultimate 15-minutes of fame as the setting of a feature film. In the aughts, Connecticut offered incentives for studios to shoot in the state, which brought Hollywood knocking at Reed and Carol’s quiet spot. A movie scout happened upon The Basket Shop and knew instantly that it fit the vision for the setting of a crime/romance film All Good Things, starring Ryan Gosling and Kirsten Dunst. The Hotchkiss’s look back fondly on the experience, saying that having hundreds of movie hands on site was fascinating and that everyone was truly kind and respectful of the property. Reed and Carol are reopening on Friday, July 9, after a year of closure due to the pandemic. They are pleased that their business will continue to make a contribution to the fabric of the community. The Basket Shop/The Carriage Barn, at 703 Kent Road in Gaylordsville, will be open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. In recognition of health safety guidelines, the Hotchkiss’s encourage wearing a mask while shopping.