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Cotuit shop sells antiques, vegetables, and much more

A Cotuit couple’s shop is a celebration of their many passions.

Photography by Jennifer Dow

Many thought they were crazy.  “The oceanographic people I worked with were horrified,” laughs Joe. “They said, ‘What? You’re leaving to make belt buckles?’ Cause no one ever left WHOI, you see.”

Over the years, the Barretts’ business has expanded and contracted, and in 1990, they got into the antique trade with fervor. They attended craft shows and antique fairs and traveled around the country. Today, they are members of the Society of Cape Cod Craftsmen and the Artisans Guild of Cape Cod. They design and sell their buckles wholesale. Throughout the growing season, they also sell produce out of the shop, including asparagus, strawberries, tomatoes, raspberries, butternut squash, and, according to Anne, “anything we have extras of.”  Joe also has a small side business doing custom rototilling.

Living and working with integrity has always been an important aspect of Anne and Joe’s lives, as has an almost dogged determination to pursue what they love. They are not wealthy by traditional measures but through their various pursuits of creating, collecting, and farming, they’ve been able to provide for themselves, raise their three boys—Joe, Jamie, and Sam—share their treasures with others, and in the end, live the life they want. Some might argue that is the ultimate luxury.

The couple’s work, as Anne explains in her straightforward way, is really just an extension of the life they have shared together and is more about the simple pleasures of living. “I just collect things that please me,” she says. “I think people should surround themselves with things that please them. It makes people happier. It gives them a home.” After a pause, she adds with a smile: “And it doesn’t matter if anyone else approves of it or not. . . except maybe one’s spouse.”

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