Dr. Iris Kern and Bill Needham outside their new Cruz Bay shop, Encore.
Behind the brightly painted doors of Caribbean gingerbread detailed building in downtown Cruz Bay is the home of Encore, a combination art gallery and consignment shop recently opened by Dr. Iris Kern and husband Bill Needham.
Kern and Needham’s newest venture is located across the street from Da Livio’s Restaurant, in an historic building which housed the island’s first bank at one time.
Today the shop is full of paintings by Madeleine Meehan, silk batiks by Eunice Summer, African masks, Maasai wedding necklaces, collectibles, clothing, jewelry and more.
Encore, an upscale consignment shop, is a reflection of Kern’s personal tastes.
The shop isn’t easy to categorize, since it’s not necessarily a second-hand store, or a classic art gallery. More than anything Encore is more a reflection of Kern’s own taste.
“It’s something the Virgin Islands hasn’t had before,” she said. “It’s really an upscale consignment shop. Some items are new, some items are really gently used and there is artwork and collectibles too.”
“It’s really something you wouldn’t expect to find on St. John,” said Kern.
While Kern has a full time job with the Department of Justice on St. Thomas, she is also an avid art collector who yearned to get her creative juices flowing again.
“I almost majored in Art History back in college,” she said. “I really like African art and I’ve been collecting it for 40 years. This is a great excuse to get more and then share it with others.”
“I adore my job with the Department of Justice, but, like I told the Attorney General, I need an opportunity to do something more creative,” said Kern. “Plus I really like start-ups and I think this is really fun.”
Encore truly is a reflection of Kern’s personal and exotic taste. There are two main rooms in the shop, one dedicated to art, masks, collectibles and jewelry and the other mostly filled with clothing, shoes and some pottery and stained-glass.
“The art will be very selective,” said Kern about the paintings, musical instruments and small sculptures. “We’re going to be changing up the art as well and one of things we might do is feature one artist and have an opening of sorts dedicated to that particular artist.”
Women, men and children can look to Encore for their wardrobe needs. From a hot-pink corset and designer capes to vintage beaded dresses and Egyptian cotton skirts, the store has a wide array of attire, all chosen by Kern herself.
“I really just picked things that I like and I was very particular about what I put in here,” she said. “Not everything in here is super cheap. When you know the value of something, like a vintage beaded dress, you know you are getting a good deal; but that doesn’t mean it is necessarily cheap.”
Kern’s husband Needham agreed that the store is almost an out-post of the two’s family home.
“The idea was really to show a combination of all the things that Iris loves,” said Needham. “Iris is the consumate consumer and I see this as sort of the realization of a fantasy of hers to have this shop full of all the things she loves and she believes others will love too.”
Encore should really be browsed through for full enjoyment. Stop by the store located next door to the Lime Inn shops in downtown Cruz Bay. Encore is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Kern accepts consignments on Saturdays only.
For more information call 626-0927 or just stop by.