September 2019

Keeping Bluffton Eccentric: The State of Mind lives on at Eggs ‘N’ Tricities

Author: Barry Kaufman | Photographer: M.Kat Photography

The front room of Eggs ‘N’ Tricities simply gleams. There’s no other way to put it. Amid wall displays of sophisticated clothing and tables bedecked in jewelry, there’s a vibe that mirrors the newly emerging sensibility of Southern charm. It’s not ostentatious, but it ain’t nothing like humble. It’s cultured, but don’t you dare go calling it refined.

Gazing across all of this tastefully displayed casual glamour, it’s almost impossible to reconcile this vision with memories of visits past, when Eggs was located in a rustic (read: dilapidated) old service station further down Calhoun. There, you were greeted upon entering by a decidedly more eclectic offering, one which varied with the date. At first blush, they may seem like entirely different stores, their only similarity the wide semi-circle of a jewelry case that still serves as checkout.

But look deeper and you’ll see that the crisp stylings and Southern chic of the new Eggs ‘N’ Tricities have plenty in common with the anything-goes atmosphere of its old haunt. They’re just different facets of a state of mind.

“It’s evolved a lot,” owner Nancy Golson said. “The funky junk didn’t sell as well when we got here. I don’t know—it’s a different neighborhood. The atmosphere in Bluffton has changed and become more sophisticated, I guess.”

It could be, if you’re new to Bluffton, you might not understand the meaning of the phrase “State of Mind.” You might not know that the town’s former newspaper was called The Bluffton Eccentric, much less understand why anyone would choose such an odd name for a paper.

If you’re new to Bluffton, you may not know that what you see around you is actually the result of a fairly short period of radical change. Today, Old Town teems with people wandering from shop to shop and restaurant to restaurant, embracing a carefully cultivated small-town ethos that has made Bluffton a jewel of an emerging Southern sophistication. But it wasn’t that long ago when the charms of Calhoun Street were largely limited to a handful of shops and galleries that reflected a town that was proud to be a little weird.

Sea Lily Necklaces made from Piano Wire

Eggs ‘N’ Tricities was one of those stores, offering an array of goods that suited its name to a tee. Yes, there were ladies’ fashions and jewels. But there were also old crab pots, quirky pieces of folk art, the occasional gag gift item, and even “Zoo Doo” fertilizer made from
elephant dung.

“We always tried to have funky little gift items like that,” Golson said. “They fit the style of the building.”

The move into a new building came as the old one was falling apart around them.Jimmy Jeffcoat, their new landlord and kin to long-time employee Patsy Hodge, happily converted a Lawton Street home he owned to suit their purposes.

“He made this house into a nice retail space,” Golson said. “He enclosed the garage, fixed up the windows, re-did the wiring … everything. He went full-tilt boogie on the whole thing.”

And with the move came the next step in the evolution of Eggs ‘N’ Tricities. As Bluffton developed a decidedly more uptown vibe around it, Eggs followed suit. Oh, you’ll still find the odd item here and there (and we use odd in several senses), but the fashion has moved to the forefront: womenswear from Emily McCarthy, Hazen & Co. bracelets, Catherine Canino pearl earrings, oyster shell votives, curated folk art from regional creators, all displayed with the utmost attention to style.

It’s a subtle shift that presents itself as a giant change but is still underpinned by the same service that made the old Eggs the place where Blufftonians would come to socialize first, then shop if something caught their eye.

“It’s what you want in a business—friendly people who know and remember customers,” Golson said. By contrast, she tells of a recent shopping trip to Savannah where she and a few of her employees stopped in a store selling similar lines to their own. “No one spoke to us the whole time we were there. When we left, I told the lady, ‘Thank you,’ and she said, ‘You’re welcome.’ That’s all we got from her.”

Stop by Eggs ‘N’ Tricities, on the other hand, and you’re liable to find yourself engaged in all manner
of conversation. Most of it will be centered on finding you the perfect gift item. “I have a really great staff,” Golson said, eliciting humble nods from Hodge as well as manager Rachel Pepin, both of whom were manning the counter when we spoke. When you’ve found that perfect gift item, however, don’t be surprised to find yourself wrapped in conversation over the jewelry case. It’s a throwback to a time when Bluffton was a small river town that moved at its own pace.

“I miss those days, because nobody had to worry about where to park,” deadpanned Golson. (For the record, Eggs ‘N’ Tricities offers plentiful parking, one of the few spots in Old Town that can make that claim).

It’s been an evolution from Eggs ‘N’ Tricities’ quirky past to its glamorous present, one which mirrors the town around it. If you want to see the Bluffton State of Mind alive and well, you’ll find it here. 

Nancy Golson, Patsy Hodge, Georgia Holaus and Rachel Pepin

Eggs ‘N’ Tricities is located at 5 Lawton St., Bluffton. For more information, call (843) 757-3446 or follow on Facebook at Eggsntricities Bluffton.

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