A very unique, and very fragrant, store is nestled on the corner of the Lawrenceville Historic Square. It is owned and operated by a lovely lady, Nancy Abuaisheh, also an accomplished visual artist of Jordanian descent. Stepping into the small, square building is like visiting an exotic farmer’s market or bazaar. Open tubs of candies, spices and nuts compete for your eye with ready-packaged gift ideas.

With the holidays in full party and gift-giving mode, “Nancy’s Candy and Spice” offers culinary arts-inspired gift ideas that simply can’t be easily found at the corner grocery. The store, located at 186 W. Crogan St., is virtually impossible to leave without a purchase. Anyone with a sweet tooth, a love of cooking or a yen for yummies that can’t be found anywhere else needs to add this shop to their list.

Goods are open for shoppers to admire, with colorfully coated almonds and dried fruit making beautiful displays.

“I love the fact that visitors can sample items and that the smell is so enticing,” Abuaisheh said. “You get to eat before you buy. You can’t find that at Walmart. I have tried to create a sense of a farmer’s market with a foreign bazaar and its authentic smells and combinations of fragrant herbs and spices.

“Almost everything in the shop is locally produced,” Abuaisheh said. “We have soaps produced here in Lawrenceville. A local farm sells us honey. We have a wonderful ‘cookie lady’ from the neighborhood. Our baklava is locally baked.”

Others items come from more exotic locales. Indian spices are brought in from around the world. Almonds and other nuts come in unusual but delicious flavored coatings, such as lemon chili pistachios. Among her best sellers are seasonings for adventuresome cooks: lime pepper, Applewood smoked spice rub, hickory steak seasoning, mesquite and various BBQ seasoning mixes, and a special seasoning for your holiday greens.

After a customer samples the huge variety of flavors, they can put together their own gifts, filling a wide variety of containers that range in pricing from $5.99 to $39.99. Holiday bows and decorations are included.

Abuaisheh is also a professional painter. The walls of the store are filled with her work, which is also for sale. She has been practicing her art for ten years and has been shown at the Aurora Theatre and Luna Gallery.

“The biggest part of me is as an artist,” Abuaisheh said.

The delightful combination of exotic food items and art has given Abuaisheh’s business a number of local awards. The store has won a Lawrenceville City Award as well as the City’s Golden Hammer Award in 2014 as the Most Outstanding Commercial Downtown Project. Regular customer Charlene Randolph is enthusiastic.

“This is my favorite shop. I love the spices, the almonds and Nancy. It’s such a cool place,” Randolph said.

Visit the store on the Lawrenceville Square, go to nancyscandynspice.com, or call 770-910-7927.

Holley Calmes is a freelance writer and public relations consultant specializing in the arts. Email her at hcalmes@mindspring.com

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