City Lifestyle

Want to start a publication?

Learn More

Featured Article

Country Colonial Gift Shop

The Best of Everything

At the corner of College Highway and Depot Road, Country Colonial Gift Shop anchors a well-traveled and visible Southwick intersection. A simple sign—"We Have the Best of Everything"—modestly adorns the front. Selling furniture, gifts and household goodies since 1961, the Southwick staple approaches its 60th year in business. We sat down with the family to hear their story and, as they each share their unique perspective, the sign begins to take on new meaning. 

Owners Joe and Judy Radwilowicz started the family business by first making furniture in the basement of their Agawam home.

"We eventually expanded to a tiny, little store on Springfield Street in Agawam. We quickly outgrew that space, so we bought the old Balch Grocery Market in Southwick," Joe says. "It had been abandoned for many years, and the store needed a lot of work. We fixed it up and kept adding on over the years. The original store was just one level, so we added the upstairs and the back." 

We visit with the Radwilowicz Family at the Old Mill Village Shops, their second location in Granby, Connecticut. As we chat, the family, one by one, gathers around Joe. Perched upon an old barrel in the shade, the patriarch enjoys his reprieve from the heat while regaling in memories of their childhood. 

"Our kids grew up at the store. When we still lived in Agawam, they would get off the bus and come work in the store. Customers used to find them taking naps upstairs on the beds," Joe says.

The couple's four children, Kim, Joey, Kerri and Kristie, now adults with children of their own, still work at the store.

"I remember having so much furniture everywhere that I had to sleep in my brother's room because Dad would store furniture in my bedroom," Kim says with a laugh. 

"We had the opportunity to buy the Granby location in 1972. We opened up the Old Mill Village, which is really Country Colonial on a much bigger scale. It's a destination for customers, near and far," Joe says.

The property is home to seven different buildings, including a year-round Christmas Shop, a gift shop, a furniture store and a garden shed.

The family remarks upon their customer loyalty and how fun it is when people notice something new every time they visit. When asked why people keep coming back, Joe and Judy proudly state, "it's because of family."

"It's that personal attention that you give to customers that's so important," Judy says. "We have generations of customers that have shopped with us; first the parents did, and now their kids are."   

It is most assuredly a family affair with the Radwilowiczes and their multi-location business. With a bright future ahead of them and no plans to slow down, it is clear that this family does have the very best of everything: each other.