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Through the Grapevine: Small town shop offers taste of Crossroads region

July 18, 2011 at 2:18 a.m.

With grapevines stretched out on the ceiling above and pickles made according to her mother's recipe for sale below, Marilyn Pagel welcomes customers to The Grapevine in Tivoli.

TIVOLI - Nestled in the backyard of Refugio County is a quiet shop along state Highway 35.

What is inside feels out of place for an unincorporated town with only about 300 residents.

"It's a cute little shop, isn't it?" Marilyn Pagel asked rhetorically as she danced around antiques in the shop.

Welcome to the Grapevine, one of about six businesses down the community's main drag.

The shop is a true crossroads, where items from Victoria, El Campo, Houston and Port Aransas meet - a place where people from anywhere and everywhere stumble upon.

The Grapevine has been in Tivoli for at least 12 years, but Pagel and Edna Schultz have only co-owned it for the past two.

"We like it," said Schultz. "(Tivoli residents) know it's here if they want to shop."

"This is the only place in town where you can get gift cards and bags," Pagel interjected.

Delegation and friendship is the key to the shop's success.

The shop has about 10 vendors, each who set up shop and design their area.

Pagel and Schultz usually work the register and the shop, but those who rent spots are asked to help volunteer for a day. Volunteering comes with a reduction in the vendor's rent fee.

Renting is based on how much space you're looking to sell on and prices vary, Pagel said.

Colors from the stained glass created by one vendor splashes into the front of the shop. The woman, JoAnn Sawyer, lives in Tivoli.

Toward the back, Texas-enriched paintings deck a pillar. The woman who created some of those paintings died recently.

Knowing the story about what each vendor sells, why they sell it and who they are is not uncommon, Pagel and Schultz said.

"Each vendor has her own story," Pagel said. "We're very diverse, you can find nearly anything here."

Schultz started working at The Grapevine when it first opened. She makes candles and sells other odds and ends.

Pagel started at The Grapevine when she and her husband began to produce and sell their line of canned vegetable products.

Sawyer was one of the original women who brought the shop to life.

Now a retired administrative assistant from Formosa, the 67-year-old Tivoli resident spends her time making stained glass and bird feeders during the summer, and quilts during the winter.

"I'm not one who can sit and do nothing," Sawyer said. "I have to have my hands occupied and working at something."

Sawyer also puts in her time helping at the shop.

To have a variety shop tucked away in a small town is a great feeling, Sawyer said.

"I enjoy going up there," she said. "It's really neat."



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