By Kristan Pagliei
On Dec. 3, under the sounds of the KU Brass Choir’s Christmas music outside The Publishing House celebrated its 2nd annual holiday pop-up shop.
The once-gutted and rebirthed space at 243 E. Main was warm and alive for Kutztown’s yearly Christmas celebration, themed “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” this year. From Normal Ave. to Constitution Blvd., Main Street cut its vehicle access for local vendors and businesses to showcase their contribution to the town charm.
The Publishing House Co., LLC. is a unique slice of the town, catering to a more artistic crowd but open and fit for any and all.
Katharine—or Kat—Keegan, the House’s Creative Director, uses the space to host open mic night, art exhibits, intimate concerts, workshops and pop-up shops.
Vintage and handmade were among the evident themes inside The Publishing House that Saturday. Upon entrance, the items for sale and the space itself are works of art in their own respect. For the event, Kat created wreathes and ornaments made from locally-foraged moss, pine cones and other forestry. She also knitted wool scarves which sold out quite quickly.
Framed prints by Erika Stearly hung for sale, most of which were cryptically-titled with addresses, displaying intimate apartment and home settings. The paintings took a keen resemblance to the inside of some of the town’s apartments. Chic succulents—and grow-your-own kits for the more brave costumer—were sold along with embroidery hoops and other crafts made by Kathleen Walck.
Artistically crafted macarons and pop-tart-esque pastries were sold by Melanie Lino who will be opening her own bakery and coffee roastery, named Lit, in 2017. Lit will reside in Bethlehem, a new setting for open mic nights and art shows. Her crème brûlée macarons tasted the way heaven should and sold out quite fast.
Among the vintage assortment were a fairly plaid covered rack of clothing and accessories, kitchen wear and home décor by The Archive Collection, and the atmosphere. It’s hard not to feel within another space and time inside The Publishing House—perhaps it’s the cozy and welcoming environment and the mild manners of the host, both which seem to stem from a more classic time.
Quilts, pillows and scarves were on sale, handmade by Kat’s mother, who assisted her at the register throughout the shop’s opening day. The Victorian-aged, gold-platted cash register also added nicely to the vintage feel—chiming for all of its customers to hear whenever a sale was made.
Towards the end of the day, Kat sported a sleepy but beaming smile. “The people who came out today and took time to talk to me just made my day. They were so supportive and curious. It was wonderful to see students and local business owners; their input is always invaluable. I’m exhausted!” Kat said.
The Publishing House will host its holiday pop-up shop every Friday and Saturday for the next three weekends and by appointment. On Dec. 24 she will be there for a few hours and then off to her own Christmas events.
Kat will also be packing 2017 with art exhibits, featuring KU students, graduates, and locals. For more information about The Publishing House, head to http://www.thepublishinghouseco.com, or search the name on any social media platform. For more on Kat, follow her Twitter and Instagram, @tkowkat or visit her Tumblr, That Kind of Woman.