Spice & Co. - a Reborn Jewel of a Store
by Cate Murway
Every once and awhile, you stumble upon a town that's gotten everything right—a great location, food with character, and shop owners with purpose. Preservation and industriousness are key in historic Bristol on the Delaware. It's not hard to see why painters and photographers have been drawn here.
The town still lays out the ol’ welcome mat.
Spice & Co. has located in a revitalized old brick building with a high-quality façade and charming interior restoration that was once home to the town’s Business Association, “J. W. Clark’s Jewelry” and a restaurant. The oldest or one of the oldest buildings on Mill Street that was established in 1799 is now “the real deal” once again, a magical place full of treasures, firm handshakes, and American-made stuff.
Despite the myriad of preservation efforts, Spice & Co., which opened just this fall, isn’t a static relic of Bristol’s past. The building resounds with iconic and vintage, possibly an existing-forever feel, yet it’s definitely about the future. Nothing is just decorative, but a utilized antique architecture that is just wonderful, modeling an amazing example for other landmark locations! An old Victorian shop has evolved into a single gleaming immensity of fancy goods.
Co-proprietor, Mycle James Gorman grew up in South Philadelphia with his sister, Barbara and his late parents, truck driver/ longshoreman James and Mary Ann Gorman, who were natural artists. Ice hockey, basketball and multi-talented track and cross country athlete, Mycle is the first in his family to pursue an art career after studying interior design at Philadelphia College of Textiles and Science (now Philadelphia University) and at Philadelphia College of Art (now part of the University of the Arts). It was around that time that he picked up what he laughingly refers to as his stage name, Mycle, a variation of the Michael on his birth certificate. Mycle also owns a design and architectural firm, Design Works, that was established over 25 years ago. He and the Design Works team at 311 Mill Street provide award winning results locally, regionally and nationally.
Co-proprietor, Ronald Vincent McGuckin, Esq., who has gained a national reputation as “The Child Care Lawyer”, specializes in law practice for early childhood education. He grew up in Croydon with his late parents, Harry and Cecelia McGuckin. Ron’s father was the Head of Construction at Frank V. Radomski & Sons, Inc., the leaders in the industry. Their exceptional quality workmanship included industrial work for Rohm & Haas and prestigious renovations for Immaculata University. Ron is the founding Board President of a county wide Head Start Program and he has generously donated several million dollars of volunteer time.
Their quality business and personal relationships are long standing. Mycle’s father and Ron’s uncle were best friends and their paternal grandparents from South Philadelphia, James Gorman and William McGuckin, were business associates.
The partners have built and restored several homes and Mycle even hand-painted a 1600 era Cotswold cottage, a charming cottage style home, reminiscent of the picturesque English Cotswolds. They are obviously invested in making sure history is paid real respect. Mycle and Ron’s restoration projects included the 400 year old Mountainside Hotel in Point Pleasant, complete with restaurant and banquet hall and the Painted Lady in Cape May. Their accomplishments have been featured in many world-wide publications and other media, including "Builder Magazine", "House and Garden" and ABC's Extreme Home Makeover.
They contentedly reside in the Borough. “Ron and I have homes all over but we just love being here. It reminds me of where I grew up. It’s wonderful. We love it.”
They started retail ventures with their ‘In Detail’ shop and then located their Spice & Co. on Mill Street. “We needed to be closer to Philadelphia because of all our traveling. Bristol is the perfect place to come for accessibility to 95 and the turnpike.”
A special point of pride is that they were most careful to maintain the sentimental value of the building among the other straightforward brick storefronts. They painstakingly scraped and sealed the walls, preserving the original colors that dated back decades and truly found the balance between what existed there and what they needed to add in for its new usage. “The floors were so dry, they were gray. I tung oiled them.”
The small, irregularly-shaped rooms and the upper rooms with sloping walls and newly installed electricity project that indescribable something: a sense of energy, integrity and special attention to details. The shopkeepers welcome you as old friends, even if this is your first visit. You’ll be old friends before too long.
Spice & Co. is an adventure, for there are so many different vintage and antique items. Everything is sorted and displayed by groups. One could spend hours in there, enjoying the feeling and an atmosphere full of flavor.
The selections include spices and olive oils and vinegars, and bath, body and spa items, and soaps and butters, and even a pet section, with some eclectic ambiance props. There will also be an assortment of natural ingredient Sabon NYC products. Some of the goods are ones that Mycle and Ron personally like and use, including books that were in their personal collection. “Mostly everything is for sale.”
Paintings displayed from local artists include the renowned Joseph “Uncle Joe” Sagolla’s watercolors; and works of realist painter, Jennifer Elizabeth Renshaw, who has her painting, "Portrait of Sean, Winter Solstice" in the National Portrait Gallery in London. Handmade Fairy Beds by Lovie are crafted with complete attention to detail and natural pieces, branches and moss from cypress and oak trees.
The Bristol Cultural & Historical Foundation [BCHF] will command the local corner with salables, including Bristol postcards, maps and a series of books written by local author, William M. “Bill” Pezza.
“We visited the new store, made purchases and were impressed.” Historians and authors, Harold and Carol Mitchener
The 3rd floor is their next project. It will be an art gallery for the local artists as well as a perfect location in which to feature their own furniture line, “8 Leg Furniture”. This collection will be crafted by Mycle, Ron, and artists, Jennifer Renshaw and Stephanie Croquez, who will also showcase their “Serendipity”, tumbled marble coasters with local Borough themes.
“We’re about cost conscious and serving the community.”
Make it a point to visit Spice & Co. in historic Bristol on the Delaware with its wonderful little shops and scattering of restaurants. Bristol celebrates its small-town vibe with a series of festivals, jazz and blues and concert music in the summer, the highly attended Mill Street Run in September and a plethora of holiday celebrations from Thanksgiving to New Year’s. Visit for a healthy dose of small town America.
Spice & Co.
131 Mill Street
Bristol, PA 19007
Recommend a “Spotlight”. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
nephew of Ronald Vincent McGuckin, Esq
Harry J. McGuckin Jr. passed away Monday, Dec. 30, 2013, at Hunterdon Medical Center, Flemington, N.J. e was 53.
Born and raised in Bristol, he was a Langhorne resident for more than 20 years and had lived in Lambertville, N.J., for the past four years.
He was employed as vice president of strategy and business development at EADS North America.
Harry enjoyed playing golf and tennis.
He is survived by his wife, Crystal (Cannella) McGuckin; three children, Robert McGuckin, Daniel McGuckin and Caprice McGuckin; his parents, Harry J. Sr. and June (Ritter) McGuckin; and one sister, Sandra McGuckin-Okuma (Billy).
Relatives and friends are invited to attend his funeral service at noon Saturday, Jan. 11, at Wade Funeral Home, 1002 Radcliffe St., Bristol Borough, where friends may call from 10 a.m. until the time of the service. Interment will be held privately.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made payable to the Harry J. McGuckin Educational Fund for Daniel and Caprice McGuckin, c/o James Mulato, 4 Goodyear Drive, Irvine, CA 92618. Wade Funeral Home, Bristol Borough
June E. McGuckin passed away peacefully Friday, July 29, 2016, at Legacy Gardens, Bristol.
She was 81.
Born in Bristol, daughter of the late George and Bertha Ritter, she has been a lifelong Bristol resident. June enjoyed gardening and camping, but most especially cherished the time she spent with her family.
Mother of the late Harry J. McGuckin Jr., she is survived by her husband of 59 years, Harry J. McGuckin Sr.; her daughter, Sandra J. Okumu and her husband, Billy; and her three grandchildren, Robert, Daniel and Caprice McGuckin. One of 15 children, June is survived by three sisters, Ida, Peggy, and Ruth; along with many nieces and nephews.
Relatives and friends are invited to attend her funeral service 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 6, at the Wade Funeral Home, 1002 Radcliffe Street, Bristol Borough, where friends may call from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Interment will be held privately.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Alzheimer's Association at alz.org.Wade Funeral Home, Bristol