Thursday, February 7, 2013

Windsor Button to Close

Horrors! Universal Hub reports that Windsor Button — beloved of seamstresses, crafters, knitters, and anyone hunting for a replacement button since 1936 — will be closing its doors. Fluorescent-lit and linoleum-floored, this old-lady old-fashioned downtown shop is the place for ribbon and trim, thread, embroidery floss, zippers, dress shields, yarn, buttons, and feather boas (I guess there's a market). It is one of the last and best vestiges of Old-School Boston Retail. It's hard to imagine it will soon be a memory, like Filene's Basement, the London Harness Company, Jordan Marsh (moment of silence for the blueberry muffins), and so many others.

What's left from downtown's heyday? The Jeweler's Building. Bromfield Camera, family-owned for decades. The Brattle Bookshop, thank god. I don't know if Commonwealth Books was in its current location decades ago, but it feels as if it were. E.B. Horn Jewelers seems to be thriving. If that window display of diamond rings ever disappears, downtown will have yet another gaping hole, this one emotional. Those diamonds are always stopping people in their tracks to dream, sigh, scheme, or just soak up the radiance of all that dazzle.

The Windsor Button sale begins on February 11 and, when it's over, it will be hard to think of a good reason to go shopping downtown when you're not in the market for diamonds or a camera. (Bookstore-browsing is a different story.) You can still eat, however. There's the Marliave, one of the city's oldest restaurants. It looks ancient, which I love, and I also love the menu, which is not ancient. I also crave the Signature Salad and flatbread at Così, so I'll still traipse downtown for lunch, anyhow.

 I'll be heading to Windsor Button next week (assuming the sidewalks ever get cleared after tomorrow's alleged snowstorm) to stock up on a lifetime supply of all the notions I might ever need — there is simply nowhere else in Boston to get such necessities.

The last time I was there, I bought narrow red and green Christmas ribbon, which turned out to be just the thing for my candy sleds. I also bought a packet of hemp cord (heaps of it, in four colors) for cat toys. That's the stuff that Toffee swallowed, which sent him and Harris to the emergency vets at Angell Medical Center. I won't be needing any more of that. But I'll be looking over my cardigans and coats to see if some interesting new buttons might spiff them up. We tie back our curtains with long lengths of wide, double-faced satin ribbon, so I'll be searching for rolls of that, in peachy beige or similar neutrals. And, for years, I've been wanting a pair of those little gold-plated stork embroidery scissors, like my mother had. The time has come.

I think we should cross our fingers that the store gets rescued at the last minute, in the tradition of Bob Slate Stationers and KitchenArts. It's probably too much to hope for, although you'd think a yarn store would be a hit around here since we have guerrilla knitters in town. If only they'd take on the project of filling  the Filene's Hole, perhaps with city funding. That much yarn could keep Windsor going all by itself.


  1. I got an email from them directly and it seems the landlord is tossing them out in order to renovate the building.

  2. Say it ain't so!

    --Constant Knitter


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