Since opening Milkweed seven years ago, owner William Anton has relied almost exclusively on word of mouth to promote his store. But after underwriting WJFF, his beloved local radio station, he became entitled to on-air promotions and was forced to come up with a quick description: Unexpected trappings for the inspired home and whippersnappers. Or, as Anton rephrases it, “A bunch of stuff I love for adults and kids.” For those who want a little more clarity, a Yelp reviewer refers to the “wonderfully curated collection of textiles, clothing, books and art,” and calls the Honesdale store “the best shop on Main Street.”
After guests to the Pennsylvania home Anton shares with his partner Paul Ludick repeatedly asked him about the provenance of its contents, he finally decided to open a store where it was all available. Now the answer to the inevitable “Where did you get that?” is simple: Milkweed. The shop is housed in an 1845 building purchased from Yolanda Franco, an eccentric character whose likeness—clutching a stem of milkweed, her favorite flower—is captured in the whimsical logo. The interior is restored to resemble her family’s Italian grocery as it appeared in a 1929 photograph unearthed during the building renovation. A graphic designer with perfectionist tendencies, Anton describes the decor as “a series of disparate vignettes or dioramas that somehow end up telling a story, except the ending keeps changing as the merchandise ebbs and flows.”
Located in Maude Alley, a warren of small shops just off Main Street, Milkweed attracts a diverse clientele. Anton calls them “the best part of retail” and insists they have made him a better person. For someone who was once a dedicated New York City resident, Honesdale offers a surprisingly welcome reminder of his Wisconsin childhood—and lots of possibilities. Next up is an outlet store across the alley. It’s sure to keep people talking.
1019 Main Street, Honesdale PA
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