Pat’s Porch really does have a very nice front porch, the kind you dream about on days when you feel nostalgic for the quiet, simpler times of the past. There are two large, sturdy black rocking chairs and you can sit there and watch daily life go by on Frederick Road (our version of Main Street) in Catonsville. People do sit there, husbands waiting for wives, mothers with small children, and people who probably have no business sitting there—but this habit of lingering is understandable because when I sat there on a recent late September day, I could have settled in for a while.
Beth Reymann, the proprietress, opened her shop doors at the end of May in 2016 and has creatively reimagined the space. What was once a beloved old-fashioned candy shop is now a charming gift boutique and a small candy shop. In the larger front room with two long windows looking out to the porch, there is, as Beth likes to say, “a little bit of everything.” Candles, jewelry, notecards, housewares, pillows, children’s books and toys, lotions, soaps, and a collection of decorative signs and other items pertaining to the local (Catonsville, Baltimore, and Maryland).
In the small back room there is a candy counter (a smaller version of what the old shop used to be) and pantry shelves with homemade confections (Bay Babies, which are crab-shaped chocolates, chocolate dipped graham crackers and pretzels) and local favorites (like Berger cookies).
I spoke with Beth about her long-time interest in the space, her experience in retail and need for a new business venture, her activism in the community, her commitment to selling merchandise primarily made in the U.S., her interest in expanding the candy business to include special events like weddings, her deep appreciation of the past, and her focus on the present and the future of the shop. She said that, in part, what inspired her to open Pat’s Porch was a need she sensed for a place to go to pick up a small gift or a card or box of candy on the way to dinner, a party, or a gathering of friends.
When I asked Beth what else inspired her, she said the character of the space, and it is clear to anyone who looks around that she has an eye for detail, arrangement, and presentation, and a knowing sensitivity about how to make a place inviting with a thoughtful collection of things that we might not think that we need, but that will brighten our day in a small way, or, better yet, someone else’s day.
Pat was Beth’s mother, who apparently knew all about the quote in her daughter’s shop that says: “The most important people in your life are the ones you can picture sitting on a porch with.”