November 20, 2022
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Little did sisters Jennifer McCubbins and Jamie Connelly know when they moved to the area several years ago that they would one day own a historic piece of downtown Murphys, or turn it into a store two-story arts and crafts center with a resident psychics and local makers to boot.
Yet that’s precisely what happened, thanks to several happy — or serendipitous — events that led the two to go into business last year.
“It was all so fortuitous,” Connelly said. “It all came together. … It was really fast.
The new business owners were craft vendors at Murphys Witch Walk last year when they started talking about how they would like to run a storefront at Murphys. A few minutes later, a friend told them that Twisted Oak Winery’s tasting room down the street had just gone up for sale.
Meanwhile, the sisters had no idea their husbands, both construction workers, were walking down Main Street, talking about buying an investment property.
They visited the property the following Monday and purchased it a week later. After nearly a year of renovations and planning, Serendipity is open and ready for business, with a grand opening scheduled for October 2.
“We want to be an arts hub,” said Connelly, who also owns a successful craft business, Doll Farmette Co., manufacture and sale of hand-sewn dolls. A self-proclaimed “knit spirit,” McCubbins also has a passion for crafts.
The two hope to support local artists and enthusiasts, both by providing them with the necessary supplies and by giving them the opportunity to sell their own works.
The Serendipity website states, “Our beautiful boutique was once a family home. Last known to house what we’ve heard are Murphys two prettiest sisters. Today, we are happy to perpetuate the tradition of fraternity! You will see our families working hard at this boutique to provide small town hospitality and doing our best to create a community of local artisans, right here in Murphys!”
A true family business, the owners’ children play in the shop, while their husbands, both entrepreneurs who have also gone into business together, take part in the maintenance of the building, which they own.
McCubbins and her husband Dan moved to Calaveras County about eight years ago with their two children. About a year later, Connelly, her husband, Shawn, and their two daughters followed suit and moved from Santa Cruz, where Connelly worked in the restaurant industry.
The girls’ parents had also moved to Calaveras County and opened their own successful business, a barbecue food truck called Smokin Hot Meats n Treats.
The shop at 363 Main Street in Murphys offers a curated selection of arts and crafts supplies, with a particular focus on textile arts such as knitting, crocheting, embroidery and sewing. Other offerings include small selections of supplies and tools for jewelry making, papercraft, tie-dye, paint, resin, woodcraft, leather, clay, floral, Cricut, etc. The shop also functions as “an artisan collective,” with the entire ground floor dedicated to vendor space for up to 38 local makers, artists, and creatives.
The store’s location in the heart of downtown Murphys was once the tasting room of Twisted Oak Winery and previously housed The Enchanted Workshop retail gift shop. The building was originally built as a home in 1909, supposedly for one of the daughters of a prominent Murphys family, which owned the Murphys Mercantile (now Union Public Water District) store next door.
A sign hung in front of the charming cottage features a colorful hummingbird perched in front of California poppies. The hummingbird was painted by artist friend, Martha Schwanbeck, and incorporates symbols (a blazing sun on its chest and moon cycles on its wings) that represent the sisters’ personalities.
The delicate bird itself is a reminder and memorial for the McCubbins’ daughter, Evelyn, whom they tragically lost at age 13 to a car accident. accident caused by “someone who shouldn’t have been driving”, according to McCubbins. Evelyn, who suffered from ADHD and was autistic, was nicknamed after the little bird known for her high energy, because “she buzzed so much”.
Inside, a “rainbow wall” of skeins of yarn greets customers near the front of the store, while on the opposite side hang rows of color-coordinated seed beads. Customers can browse rows of aisles loaded with craft supplies, choose fabrics from the back wall, or walk down to browse offerings from local vendors. A backyard includes a courtyard with access to the creek, where outdoor events and workshops take place.
So far, Serendipity has held a pottery and macrame workshop in space, both of which have sold out. The next book class is a macrame and crystal workshop on September 23 and will be “a magical collaboration” between Julie from Wild Cotton Design and Melissa from Mystique Murphys (the tarot and palm reader who rents a separate space in the low level of serendipity) which will teach participants how to incorporate crystals into a macrame design.
Upcoming events include a kids-only Tie Dye party led by “an 8-year-old instructor and her adult helper” on October 8 and a Makers Pop-Up event on October 15 at Murphys Witch Walk.