Ebb Tide Gift Shop, which has been a welcome stop for visitors to Hope Town for the past forty years, had to permanently close its doors at the beginning of the summer much to the disappointment of Debbie Patterson who had run the shop all of those years. This quaint old house which stands between the St James Methodist Church and the new Hummingbird Art Gallery is a landmark of old colonial charm.
“This house has been in the family for a long time and was owned by my great grandfather, Reggie Malone,” stated Mrs. Patterson. “My grandfather, Jack Patterson, decided to open it as a gift shop 40 years ago. The building is now owned by my father and four siblings who all decided that the time had come to sell, so the store had to move out.”
Fortunately, the Wyannie Malone Heritage Museum, just across the road from the Ebb Tide house, offered Mrs. Patterson the front of the building for use as her store. The museum entrance has now been moved to the side and so the Ebb Tide gift shop sits in what was once the entrance to the museum and so is very accessible to visitors wishing to purchase local souvenirs.
“We opened at 10 am on Thanksgiving Day, November 28, and we are truly a Bahamian gift shop,” stated Mrs. Patterson who was helped in the move by her son, Eric. “All our inventory is made in The Bahamas by Bahamians and expats and includes handcrafts, jewellery, artwork (originals and prints), carvings, jams, sauces, candles and books and maps about the Bahamas.”
Debbie herself makes friendship bracelets and her daughter Olivia makes sea glass and shell jewellery. Some of the other artisans are Bill Johnson from Lubbers– prints and maps; Kim Rody– paintings; Lillian Cash–‘ It’s In the bag’ Straw bags; Marc Andre– carved wooden fish and animal jewellery boxes; Amanda Lark —mosaic mirrors, and Roddy Pinder’s beautifully turned and polished native wood bowls. Cleaned conch shells, Bahamian calendars and notecards are also among the items sold.
Ebb Tide gift shop will be open six days a week from 9 am to 5 pm in its new home at the Wyannie Malone Museum.
Eric Patterson, who has just graduated from college with a Degree in Marine Biology, was filling in for his mother to give her a short break before becoming busy with his business Abaco Eco-Kayak Rentals and Tours. Once the Hope Town Sailing Club season opens from December 26 to mid-March, Eric admits that he will no longer have time to help his mother in the shop. He sails on the “Abaco Rage” which keeps him very busy. He sails her in the National Family Island Regatta in Georgetown, Exuma, the Long Island Regatta and Regatta Time in Abaco. He enjoys giving others the once-in-a-lifetime chance to sail on the “Rage” during Regatta Time in Abaco.