You can’t miss The Silver Box on Main Street in Gloucester Village, especially this time of year when graduates and tourists frequently stop for a spontaneous photo shoot.
A daffodil mural painted on the side of the gift shop at the corner of Main Street and Botetourt Avenue draws folks to the spot. Commissioned in 2018, the mural celebrates the first flower of Gloucester. Snap all the pictures you want, but make sure you also take a few minutes to browse inside The Silver Box, where an abundance of jewelry, clothes and accessories make gift shopping easy.
Twenty years ago, Martha Soles started the store, an idea that originated over dinnertime conversation about paying for college for her two children without the help of a loan.
Her son, Matt, 10 at the time, shared a thought. “You should sell jewelry. You wear it every day. People see it on you and will want to buy it.”
Soles chuckled, but the idea remained in the back of her mind. She started by selling a sterling silver line at home parties. “After a couple of years, I was doing it every single night,” she says.
When an annex to the former Kelsick Gardens on Main Street became available, Soles envisioned a space of her own. “I went with a measuring tape and roll of masking tape and taped off where my cases would go and how everything would fit,” she says. “Everything seemed to fit like a puzzle. I knew it was a sign.”
The Silver Box outgrew that space for another in 2004 and moved into its current location a few doors down in 2008. By then, the inventory had grown to include more than jewelry.
“I always employed young high school and college girls,” Soles says. “I was asked by them if I would carry some trendy clothing, accessories and shoes. That’s what I did, and it’s been very successful.”
Pandora is the store’s top seller. Nautical sterling silver also does well.
When Soles was approached about the daffodil mural becoming a permanent part of the exterior of The Silver Box, she was delighted.
“I thought it was a fabulous idea,” she says. “Hardly a day goes by when I don’t go out the back door and someone is standing there having their picture taken in front of it.”
Soles credits Bruce, her husband of 41 years, for his longtime support. When she first learned about the annex, they were standing across the street from it, in front of the fire department where Bruce is president. She brought up the idea for the store.
“I think you ought to do it,” he encouraged.
“He has been the driving force behind me, for sure,” Soles says. “Any time I need some type of electrical work or something else, he makes room in his schedule to do it.”
Soles loves being part of the camaraderie of shops in Gloucester Village.
“It’s a family, really,” she says. “Everybody is supportive, and I try to do the same for businesses on Main Street. Even during the pandemic, we were all in the same boat. Each of us understood the others’ worries.”
Every summer, customers delight in Soles’ unique window display that showcases her lifelong collection of Barbies. She even has the clothes for them her sister sewed by hand. None is for sale, but they’re conversation starters. Just like the daffodil mural, they invite you to come inside The Silver Box. When you do, you’ll be glad you did.
The Silver Box at 6630 Main St., is open weekdays 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and on Saturday, 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Closed Sundays. Call 804-694-3100 for information.