Monday, November 22, 2010

Stationary Done Right: Welflleet's Jules Besch

Michael Tuck speaks in a soft voice that carries. “We’ll see you again, I hope,” he sings out from behind the cash register as a customer exits his Bank Street shop. The little bells on the Victorian door jingle. Shopping at Jules Besch is like stepping into another century. The mansard-roofed building was originally created to house a savings bank. Rich mahogany woodwork, high ceilings, and the colors of the walls give the display rooms a special feel. Jules Besch is not just any shop and Michael is not just any shopkeeper. What strikes me is his sincerity and enthusiasm. Here is a man who genuinely loves his merchandise and it shows.

The folks who wander into Jules Besch in search of a perfect greeting card, are fortunate indeed. Often they find it impossible to resist the old-fashioned bookmarks, journals, or scented candles, and buy them, too. Oh, and did I mention the stationary? What a selection! When I needed wrapping paper to make a gift even more exceptional last spring, I knew exactly where to go. I was even able to purchase the perfect gift tag.

There are greeting cards for every occasion, some historical, some funny, some artistic. And no wonder: Michael has worked as a judge for the American Greeting Card Association. He knows what’s available and does his best to provide original cards that are a pleasure both to give and to receive. “I love the challenge of keeping up with European import choices,” he chortles.

Michael has lived on the Outer Cape for 30 odd years. His shop celebrated its 16th year in 2010, which is remarkable in itself, especially in time of recession. “The right people have found me,” he says to explain such longevity, without bragging that these customers return every year, but they do.

Next weekend Jules Besch will hold its end-of-season sale and everything will be 20% off. Hours will be longer to permit early and late browsing. Sven enjoyed the antique selection of inkwells and bronze bookends. Think I know where we will be going next Friday ….