September 2018

eggs ’n’ tricities

Author: Becca Edwards | Photographer: M.Kat Photography

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away (well, only for south-end Hilton Head Islanders), there was a place with falling down fences so thick with vines and overgrowth that birds could nest and eat berries with autonomy, houses didn’t feel ashamed to have a little chipped paint and yard art, and part of everyone’s morning routine was going to the post office to get their daily mail and dose of gossip. This magical place, with its cast of characters, was deemed “a state of mind.”

“Bluffton was a special place then,” said Nancy Golson, owner of eggs ’n’ tricities, a boutique for “young chicks to mature hens” on Lawton Street. “I may have started my business (decades ago) to show people that Bluffton was not a small, speed trap, hick town, although now it’s changed. I guess you build it and they will come!”

(She also recalled how Bluffton earned its “state of mind” status. According to Golson, a car that broke down and, at one point started to grow a tree out of it, became emblematic of Bluffton. “I like the occasional broken down car. That particular [broken down car], well, you could sit on the back of it after work and have a beer with friends. Who cares if it died there 10 years ago?” she reminisced.)

Getting comfortable in funky turquoise rocking chairs on the porch at eggs ’n’ tricities, in the summer heat, waving to people strolling by, we are in Golson’s element. She asks about my family first. I answer, knowing that her family has suffered unimaginable challenges this past year with her husband’s health (local and well-loved chef Charlie Golson) and it should be me asking about her family.

We chat for a bit before I (regretting that I am not nearly as gentile as this woman and should take a page from her book and not overbook my time) ask my first interview question: How do you pick the merchandise for eggs ’n’ tricities?

“I try hard to find unique pieces and local people who can do interesting things. Like, well, like a local girl who does pillows who just walked in,” Golson answered, pointing to the interior of the store. Then with Golson’s signature humor she added, “But you know, you find a unique artist, they get famous or get big and want to do something different like be an interior designer, and there you have it.”

I laugh before asking Golson how her business has changed after all these decades. “We started out doing folk art and furniture and jewelry. Now it’s mostly clothes. Women want more clothes! Clothes, shoes and jewelry! And we want to give women what they want!” she said, laughing.

I shared with Golson that I still own an old medicine cabinet that she fixed up and my mother gave me 30 years ago.

“One time your mother-in-law Ruthie (who is a designer) came in and saw a piece of furniture I had,’ Golson said. “It was shabby chic—not that fake shabby chic but the real deal, you know. She said, ‘Nancy, you are lightyears ahead.’ So we had shabby chic, but then people wanted it to have chalk paint and now they want it to be sophisticated with ‘scrolly’ letters. But these trends just appear out of nowhere and then disappear. I keep wondering when the oyster trend is going to fade. It’s been popular for three years. It’s got to go some time.” She laughed again and then finished her thought: “I just try to stay on the edge of trends and not in the middle. Oh, and I have a weakness for old lamps.”

Just as Golson was about to expound on old lamps, a woman walked out of eggs ’n’ tricities and hollered back toward Golson, “I got the dress!”

“Good girl! That dress looked good on you,” Golson replied with a genuine Southern accent and smile.

“Be careful, it’s going to thunderstorm later.”

“I will. Bye, Nancy.”

Picking up our conversation without a beat, Golson looked at me and continued. “I just love beat up old furniture, too. I don’t like store-bought display racks. They don’t have any personality, and I don’t like things to be neatly organized.”

Then, the conversation shifted to something straight out of Steel Magnolias: “I came in the other day and one person said, ‘Who put the clothes this way?’ And I said, ‘It wasn’t me. I just keep paying y’all until you arrange something and it sells, because that’s the way it goes.’ No one gets their feelings hurt. It’s a sisterhood,” Golson said.

This sense of sisterhood is pervasive throughout eggs ’n’ tricities. Upon entering the store, you are instantly greeted, and the friendship between the women who work there, as well as their friendliness, creates a come-on-in-and-sit-a-spell, you-go-girl environment.

In fact, Golson attributes the store’s success to the women who work with her. “As they say, I get by with a little help from my friends. Well, I get by with a lot of help from my friends—especially this past year,” she said.

We talk about her husband Charlie, who has endured a year of poor health stemming from a spinal staph infection. During her absence while helping her husband, long-time employees like Patsy Hodge held up the eggs ’n’ tricities fort, but now that Charlie has stabilized Golson is excited to get more involved again. “I’m ready to get my eggy-ness back,” she admitted with a giggle.

Golson then shared a beautiful statement about why she loves owning eggs ’n’ tricities. “Over the years, I’ve learned people are inherently nice. Every so often, you will meet some rascals, but even the coldest person will warm up with a little Southern charm.”

Her words reminded me of a time long ago when shop owners knew their patrons—and not just their shopping preferences, but about their life and who they were as a person. A time when people caught up with each other instead of getting caught up in themselves. Golson and eggs ’n’ tricities not only capture the true essence of Bluffton, but also the true essence of what it means to enjoy life.

To learn more, y’all, visit eggs ’n’ tricities at 5 Lawton Street, Bluffton, SC or call (843) 757-3446.

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