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The Cotton Exchange Wilmington Shops
321 N. Front St.
Wilmington, NC 28401

(910) 343-9896

The site of the largest cotton-exporting company in the world in the nineteenth century, this collection of eight buildings overlooking the Cape Fear River was converted into a shopping and dining center in the early 1970s. Its renovation marked the beginning of the restoration of downtown Wilmington. Shoppers can enjoy a bit of history as they stroll the mall's tri-level space where displays of cotton bales, weighing equipment and photographs tell the story of the center's evolution. Parking is free for visitors of the complex.

The sampling of specialty shops listed here suggests the scope of shopping possibilities at The Cotton Exchange (all stores are within the complex bounded by Water and Front streets). T. S. Brown Jewelry, (910) 762-3467, specializes in loose gems, custom settings and handcrafted pieces. The Celtic Shop, (910) 763-1990, features imported Irish and Scottish clothing, Celtic music, clan heraldry items, authentic Irish breakfast tea and many other gift ideas. Occasions ... just write!, (910) 343-9033, features social stationery and invitations, fine writing instruments, sealing wax, journals and desk accessories plus a large selection of cards. The Fidler's Gallery/Wrigley's Clocks, (910) 762-2001, offers art, custom framing and clocks and a new line of gifts for home and garden. BW's Surf Shop (910)254-1429, specializes in quality surf apparel. Olde General Store (910) 343-1342, has souvenirs, sundries and candy. Two Sisters Bookery, (910) 762-4444, carries a surprisingly wide range of books, including ones of local interest, as well as cards and gifts. Caravan Beads, (910) 343-0550, is a bead-lovers paradise offering classes and a venue for birthday parties. Port City Pottery and Fine Crafts, (910) 763-7111, features the work of 21 local artists showcasing woodworking, pottery, baskets, metal and weaving. The Golden Gallery, (910) 762-4651, exhibits Mary Ellen Golden's watercolor paintings of local scenery.  Pure Life Health Food and Vitamins, (910) 343-1374, carries a large selection of herbal and loose teas, as well as creations from their new juice bar. Vitamins, salves, and holistic therapies are only a few items in their inventory. Get the best supplies for your best friend, including homemade cupcakes, at Doggie by Nature, (910) 762-4846. Elizabeth's Ladies Boutique, (910) 763-7876, has a great selection on hats, jewelry, socks and everyday clothing. Ping's Tibet, (910) 772-1540, has cultural items from Tibet such as jewelry, clothing and art. Ask about their homemade fudge!

Some other shops you'll find worth visiting are Java Dog Coffeehouse, (910) 343-8890, for specialty coffee drinks and pastries; Down to Earth, (910) 251-0041, an aromatherapy gift shop; The Downtown Toy Company, (910) 399-3907, with modern and vintage toys and game for ages 4 and up; and Cape Fear Footwear, (910) 763-9945, which carries a large selection of sandals (including Rainbows), handbags and scarves. Native Soul, (910) 762-9667, specializes in native American decor, collectibles and silver. Fire and Spice Gourmet Kitchen Shoppe, (910) 762-3050, has sauces, nuts, spices and kitchen gear; at  Emory's Crystals, (910) 772-5415, offers crystal gifts, decor and jewelry. Don't forget to visit Top Toad/Carribean Amphibian, (910) 343-9245, for Wilmington T-shirts and hats and beach apparel.

Once you have worked up an appetite, try one of The Cotton Exchange's restaurants, such as The German Cafe, (910) 763-5523, which is known for its fresh soups, schnitzels and strudels. If you're more in the mood for a pub atmosphere, stop by Paddy's Hollow Restaurant & Pub, (910) 762-4354, which carries a diverse menu of pub favorites. New to The Cotton Exchange is The Basics, (910) 343-1050, which has wowed patrons with its gourmet southern cuisine. Or for just a mid-afternoon treat, get a double dip or a Nathan's hotdog at The Scoop, (910) 763-3566.

 

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