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Crafts, collectibles at Union Bridge shop


Gladys Cofiell had often talked about opening a shop to sell the dolls, clothes and other crafts she's been making for 20 years.

Her son, David Wheeler, finally decided he'd heard enough talk.

So he found a first-floor space at 34 N. Main St. in Union Bridge for his mother.

"He said, 'Mom, if I get you one [a shop], will you keep it supplied?' " said Mrs. Cofiell, 65, who now spends nearly all her time working at her Westminster home to turn out merchandise for the Union Bridge Emporium.

In addition to Mrs. Cofiell's crafts, the shop sells "nearly new" items and the work of about 12 local artisans.

Unfortunately, Mrs. Cofiell hasn't spent much time in her shop because of knee surgery she had shortly before it opened two months ago.

"Hopefully, I'll get down there soon and I'll be in full swing again," Mrs. Cofiell said.

In the meantime, her husband, Bob, has been running the shop for his wife.

"We're hoping to make a go of it," he said.

The shop fills three small rooms in a building next to the Union Bridge stop on the EnterTRAINment Line.

The Cofiells had hoped that railroad passengers would stop to visit their shop, but so far not many of them have ventured next door.

"They don't want to buy before they go on the train, because then they'd have to carry packages," Mr. Cofiell said. "And when they get back, they don't have any time because they have to get back on the tour buses."

The Union Bridge Emporium offers an unusual assortment of merchandise. In addition to dolls, knickknacks and crafts, the shop carries Lehigh Portland Cement and Union Bridge T-shirts and marigold seeds at 99 cents a bag from Mr. Cofiell's garden.

"I hand-picked them and hand-packed them," he said. "I have enough marigold seeds to plant half of Carroll county."

One room of the shop is filled with merchandise that Mr. Cofiell refers to as "flea market items," such as books, a Yamaha digital drum set and a set of cast-iron frying pans.

He collects many of the items through his work providing janitorial services to condominiums throughout the Baltimore area.

Some of his finds include a never-used Dust Buster in its original box and several copies of "The Satanic Verses" by Salman Rushdie.

"We had six or seven of those, but this is all we've got," said Mr. Cofiell, pointing to the last copy of the book on a shelf.

Of all the items in the shop, Mr. Cofiell is especially fond of the dolls made by his wife.

"The country-western rabbits I adore," he said. "They're so cute."

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