The Most Interesting Shop In The Quarter
The French Quarter is a beautiful must see part of New Orleans. The architecture alone is worth a stroll through its three hundred year old streets. There are plenty of restaurants, art galleries and shops to visit, though some of the shops can get a bit redundant. If you are “that person” who is constantly seeking something unique I highly recommend one particular shop on the corner of Chartres and Dumaine streets.
The name of the shop is a curiosity in itself: Queork. Queork? Yes, Queork. Pronounced “Cork”, the name is a mash up of “Queen” and “Cork” as in the Queen of Cork. Side note, Quercos suber is the Latin name for the cork oak tree. So voila, Queork! Not what you thought is it? Let me explain.
On a trip to Portugal visiting family with Julie, Amanda became obsessed with the cork products that she found there. The cork oak finds the most suitable habitat in the western Mediterranean and the cork forests of Portugal produces about half of the world output of commercial cork. It was amazing to realize that it was actually the bark of the cork tree that was harvested and was then processed into a textile/fabric that these products were made from. Fun fact, the bark grows back! Completely renewable! The bark can be harvested every 9 years over the 270 year life of a single tree.
With attributes like sustainable, water resistant, stain resistant, anti-microbial, vegan-friendly, durable, etc. Amanda knew she had to have it. And “it” started in the form of a single dog collar. This sounded like the perfect solution to the end of the wet, nasty, smelly dog collars that was par for the course with her Burmese Mountain dog.
Now comes the hitch, Amanda couldn’t order just one collar. The manufacturer would only do 500 item lots. So in true entrepreneur fashion Amanda bit the bullet, ordered 500 dog collars to sell in and around New Orleans. Amanda, now known as the Queen of cork, along with partner Julie opened their first brick and mortar store June 1, 2012. After a year the store was moved to its current location, the flagship store at 838 Chartres Street in the French Quarter.
Fast forward 7 years later, Queork now has two locations, as well as an online shop, all of which provide free shipping in the U.S. and Canada. The French Quarter store and the second located on Magazine Street in the Garden District offer a wide variety of beautiful cork items from housewares, handbags, shoes and personal accessories for your hands on shopping experience. Many items are now made in Queork’s own manufacturing facility in the city.
What a story! In a city full of “different” Queork just may be the most interestingly different thing you will see. Trust me, Queork in the Quarter is a great addition to your New Orleans French Quarter “must see” list!
Sharon Denise Talbot