Posts Tagged ‘Balzac yarn shop in Ocean Grove’

Balzac brings color, class, creativity and warmth to the OG downtown. Paul Golfinger photographs. 10/10/18 ©

Russell Brent, the proprietor of Balzac, chats with Joan Ann, a Grover knitter who couldn’t wait to visit the shop. Looking on is Liz who works there and is a knitter herself.  The enthusiasm is quite palpable in Russell’s “gathering place.”

By Eileen Goldfinger and Paul Goldfinger, editors at Blogfinger.net.

Russell Brent is an Ocean Grover who wanted to participate in the community by opening a shop that would be a “welcoming gathering place” for creative folks who were interested in knitting or crocheting.  He is an expert in knitting, and his shop  “Balzac” is now open at #50 Main Avenue in the Grove.

Balzac is a lovely place because of all the colors and textures on display.  In the windows are some beautiful hangings which he knitted himself.  Russell sells natural yarns (“fibers”) made of wool, cashmere, silk, cotton and alpaca.  He also stocks “notions” which refer to the accessories one needs to engage in the knitting/crocheting arts.

Russell says that he “loves” Ocean Grove and was attracted by the welcome which he received when he moved here one year ago.

His shop will be a meeting place where a wide spectrum of knitters/crocheters can come to discuss their “wips”  (works in progress).  There is a large table in the store where customers can bring their projects and work on them there. He wants enthusiasts to stop by, have coffee, and discuss their works.    Lessons will be available for individuals and groups.  Spinning classes will also be held.  Russell says that he will “have something for everyone—a broad range.”

The yarns come in different weights, and he buys from a selected group of independent yarn producers.   For example he carries a wonderful display of fibers from The Neighborhood Fiber Company of Baltimore.

Working with Russell is another knitter Liz Scott whom some will recognize from the OG Hardware store.  Both workers are enthused and happy in their endeavor.

Russell is a bit of a philosopher. He named the store after Honoré de Balzac, a 19th century novelist and playwright. “He wrote about people and treated them equally,” said Russell, so his motto for his shop is “we will create together.”

Since the store opened a few days ago, many excited fans have arrived to check it out. A knitting club “Navesink Knitters Guild” already visited, and Eileen’s group “Happy Fingers,” who meet in Bradley Beach, is planning a field trip, and Russell couldn’t be happier. He says, “The response is overwhelming. They are coming out of the woodwork.”

Blogfinger has been looking forward to more shops in the Grove that will promote the arts and be geared towards the residents as well as towards tourists.  Because fine knitting stores are fairly rare, this shop should attract enthusiasts from elsewhere, so it is a win-win situation for the Main Avenue downtown.

And, by the way, the coffee shop “Odyssey” should be opening in November  (next to Comfort Zone’s small store.) We plan to interview the owner. He has placed some fine literature in the window, probably from the 8th century by Homer,  so the cultural indicators seems to be rising in town —a welcome change.

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That’s me taking the photo and waiting for the door to open. 10/10/18

Eileen is crocheting a pumpkin. She says it’s orange. This is an unfinished work of art. Her hook is on the left, but she is no hooker.  And please, no knitwit jokes. ©

FRANK SINATRA:  From the movie What Women Want.

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