Downtown Leesburg reviews, winter edition: Shoes Cup and Cork, The Sunflower Shack, and Muz and Rose

During winter break, I invited my friend and fellow high school Junior, Leina Young, to visit several shops in the historic district of downtown Leesburg. 


The chilly winter air was offset by the holiday cheer present in the lighthearted chatter of the pedestrians around us and the decorations present in every storefront. 


The first place we visited was Shoe’s Cup & Cork, a quaint cafe situated in the center of the downtown district. After being directed to one of the booths, which provided a comfy corner, Young and I looked over the menu. 


Shoe’s Cup & Cork offers a variety of both snacks and meals as well as vegetarian and gluten free options. 


Young chose the “Sausage and Eggs Sandwich,” and I chose the “Veg Sandwich” with a side caesar salad. We appreciated how patient and attentive our waiter was, since it took us a long time deciding what to order. 


When the food arrived, neither Young nor I were particularly impressed. 


For fifteen and thirteen dollars respectively, the sandwiches were bland and dry, with neither having any discernible condiments. Young’s specifically, was a little more than the size of an average mobile phone, and in mine several of the smaller vegetables had started wilting.


“It was kind of small for the price, and the food wasn’t bad, just not overwhelmingly good,” Young said, choosing to rate the meal as “average.”


However, the mediocracy of the food was barely noticed between the friendly servers, the comfy seating, and the interior decorations, which created a picture perfect escape from the cold and grey outside with its warm hues, shelves of antiquated books and blackboard walls. 


Young and I particularly enjoyed the conveniently placed cushions along the back bench, which both provided  both a cheerful splash of color and a comfortable place to lean back and relax.


Our final rating of the cafe, therefore, came out as a 7/10.


After reluctantly stepping out of the warmth of the cafe, Young and I made our way to the Sunflower Shack.


The Sunflower Shack is a store known for its “old fashioned candy” as well as a variety of goods ranging from candles, to stickers, to jewelry.


The store’s cheerfully colored, elaborately decorated interior was made even more chaotic by the goods scattered almost haphazardly around the store.


Christmas themed items were scattered over a bench in the corner, spilling out onto the floor below, which led to a station that graciously provided free coffee and water to customers. 


Shelves at the front of the store held various candies, both old -fashioned and new, while the back of the store held jewelry, scented oils, candles, and toiletries, while a table in the middle held stickers, crystals, and various items related to alternative spirituality. Another shelf was stacked with incense and incense holders, a second shelf contained novelty cards, and a third held different thermoses and tumblers. 


Overall the random nature of the merchandise created a busy atmosphere, with the pandemonium only increased by the many customers milling around the store. 


Several times Young and I were separated by the crowd and had to wait before squeezing carefully between a captivated customer and an overflowing shelf.


The thronging customers and the cramped walkways gave the impression the aisles were created as an afterthought to the copious wares. 


However, as disorienting as the hectic layout is, it still provides a certain small town charm to the store, reminiscent of the cluttered thrift stores trademark of more modest American towns. 


As Young said, it undeniably had “a good energy.”


The merchandise seems to be of generally good quality, and several small brands have shelf space in the store. The prices are also good, ranging from cheap to moderately expensive. The candy in particular, which is what originally drew us to the store, is priced extremely fairly with most ranging from one to five dollars. 


The store associates were also friendly and helpful, even after Young and I checked out a second time after the nostalgic PEZ candies caught Young’s eye on our way out of the store. 


Young and I both agreed we enjoyed it alot, rating the entire experience as a 8/10.


Finally leaving the store, Young and I made our way to Muz and Rose, a boutique committed to sustainability and the idea of “slow fashion”  – which is an antithesis to fast fashion – that focuses on ethically sourced, environmentally friendly products. 


The store’s cool whites, sages, browns and muted decorations provided a calming  atmosphere, especially when compared to the prior store. 


Jewelry, hair ornaments, and both vintage and modern clothing was arranged on various tables through a front and back room, while candles, perfumes, and toiletries were situated on shelves and tables. Although many categories of merchandise were sold, they had a coordinated feel, with a chic, modern vibe. 


Young particularly appreciated the more unique items as she said, “The place was nice, it had a lot of stuff a regular clothing store wouldn’t have, like crystals, a cocktail book, and cute zodiac totes. I think it would be a good place to shop for both oneself or for finding a gift.”


The trade-off to the high class aesthetic of the wares is the high price that accompanies them, with few items, including singular hair clips or sunglasses, costing below $20. However, the prices also take into account the ethical sourcing of all the items. 


The store associates were also helpful without being intrusive on our shopping even when Young and I were the only customers in the store. 


That being said, the final score for Muz and Rose tallied to a 9/10.


Once again Downtown Leesburg provided a wonderful afternoon with the unique character of the various cafes and shops together creating a warm afternoon filled with holiday spirit, regardless of the frosty temperatures outside.