…and leave the ordinary behind
Opening the door to The Escape Fine Crafts and Gifts on the Square is like opening a door to wonder and curiosity. The exquisite and unusual catch shoppers’ attention with an array of colors and media. Looking for a standout necklace or a colorful scarf? Seeking the perfect gift for a special someone? These items and many others can be found at The Escape, where new delights wait at each display.
Len Lester, co-owner of The Escape with his wife, Judy, says, “Primarily, we started the store as a hand-crafted art and craft gallery, but we have morphed into more of a craft and gift store.”
When Judy reminds him of their home décor offerings, Len adds, “It’s all handmade and mostly all American-made.”
Many of their most popular items are made right here in Texas, in fact. The Escape sells beautiful pottery and dinnerware by Sunset Canyon, which, as Judy says, “is as functional as it is beautiful.” The shop carries stunning cedar boxes with turquoise inlays from Texas Mesquite and Cedar Treasures. Jewelry beckons from cases and displays at the shop’s center. One of The Escape’s best jewelers hails from West Texas, where she makes affordable jewelry in mixed media. Carved Stone has been with The Escape from the very beginning, offering stone paperweights, bookends, and business cardholders crafted from limestone. And Len and Judy believe that Music of the Spheres makes the best wind chimes ever. “We’ve tried about any American-made wind chime,” Judy says, “and Music of the Spheres is outstanding.”
When selecting inventory, Judy and Len aren’t as concerned about trends as about what appeals to them. “What people love here [at The Escape] is that everything is unique,” Judy says. “It’s timeless. It doesn’t really fit a trend.” Judy and Len don’t consider The Escape a “trendy” store; however, they do feel that their craftspeople and artisans are not on the cusps of trends but are in fact setting them. For example, a current kids’ fashion is to wear mismatched socks. “The original maker of mismatched socks is the Sock Lady,” Judy says, “and we carry her work. It’s all hand-knitted, cool, mismatched socks, and she was doing that for years and years before that hit the stores.”
“When we first started this business,” Len recalls, “there weren’t a lot of businesses, not a lot of choices down here on the Square, so we covered a lot of ground for years. But as downtown has diversified and new businesses have come in, we’ve learned we don’t have to be everything.”
“To everybody,” Judy interjects.
“Not anymore,” Len agrees.
The Escape may not be everything to everyone, but walking through its doors provides what its name suggests: an escape, a welcome distraction from everyday life. Folks who take a moment to enjoy works of beauty in a friendly atmosphere are greeted by the welcoming and knowledgeable staff that has been with Len and Judy almost from the beginning—people who are just as happy to talk about a shopper’s day as about the gift he or she might be searching for. “That’s what people like about us,” Judy says. “We’re not what you find everywhere else.”