Growing up near Woods Hole, I’ve shopped at Under the Sun many times, hunting through the cool collection of earrings or admiring the hand-made lamp shades and other local crafts. But it wasn’t until I met owner Joyce Stratton and her partner Peggy Cunningham that I realized all the history I was missing about this lovely little shop in the middle of the village.
Turns out, Stratton has been operating her shop since 1968, first in the small space on the ground floor of the Woods Hole Inn (now known as “Local Colors”) and seven years later from the top floor of her current location. Later, Stratton was able to purchase the entire building and move her store to the downstairs, closer to shoppers and foot traffic.
Even more interesting, the current Under the Sun building was originally a Congregational Church built in the 1800’s. The buildings’ large glass windows and stone side steps reflect its past purpose.
Under the Sun began as a gallery of local art and soon evolved into a retail shop, combining art, accessories, clothing, and gifts. Stratton and Cunningham work hard to keep prices reasonable, and prefer to source product from the U.S. Some of it comes from Stratton’s creative workspace upstairs, where she spends the winters crafting and making delightful Cape Cod painting, crafts and objets.
Asked about the focus of Under the Sun, Cunningham stated, “I think the store has always been Joyce’s vision, like a gallery of the arts. And our customer appreciates the focus on American made.”
Cunningham grew up around Woods Hole and remembers visiting Under the Sun in its upstairs location as a little girl. “I remember walking down to the village and just looking at all the earrings,” she said. Years later, Stratton invited Cunningham to work alongside her and Cunningham jumped at the opportunity.
Under the Sun is open year round with seasonal hours. Summer hours are seven days per week, and in the winter they cut back to three days.
The combination of art, clothing, history, and a staff that can keep you engaged in great conversation for hours, makes Under the Sun so much more than a fine gift shop.
To contact the store for further information call: (508) 540-3603.