Everything Must Go at the Canterbury Art Shoppe

By Katherine Brubaker

Nancy Veits in the Canterbury Art Shoppe, which she established in 1967, in Westchester. | Photo by Luis Chavez

Nancy Veits started the Canterbury Art Shoppe in 1967. The shop sits on West 87th Street in the Westchester Triangle, which Veits describes as a “tiny part of old-time America.” There are broad sidewalks, leafy trees, and a wide array of mom-and-pop shops that have been owned by the same people for years. Veits was at the helm of the Canterbury Art Shoppe for 30 years, until she sold it in 1997 to the current owner. Today she is back in her beloved shop, only this time as the landlord closing it down in the age of COVID-19.

Veits was originally a middle school English teacher. After visiting an art gallery with her friend in Long Beach, they were inspired to start their own. Six months later, they had a shop. Veits “didn’t have any knowledge about art,” she says, so she’d go to the library and read up on different artists. “By the end of six months, I had a pretty good art education,” said Veits.

The Canterbury Art Shoppe started out by selling reproductions on canvas and readymade frames. A year later, in 1968, Veits was building her own wood frames and had other people making pieces for the shop. “We had a girl who would carve masks for us. I also had a person who carved frames. It was a really fun place,” said Veits.

Veits sold the shop in 1997 to current owner Margot Zuzek. “I was sure I was going to die in that shop — it was just such fun to be there, and it is fun to be back,” said Veits.

Zuzek was originally a customer and friend of Veits’. According to Veits, Zuzek chose to turn the shop into more of a gift shop rather than a picture framing business. “There are porcelains, these little jeweled frames, they are gorgeous. She has some antiques, and lots of framed and unframed artwork,” said Veits. Zuzek has slowly phased out of running the shop over the last two years, according to Veits, and is now completely out of the picture — her whereabouts unknown to Veits. Neither Veits nor The Argonaut have been able to reach Zuzek.

“She even left her dog’s ashes there [at the shop],” said Veits.

So Veits, the previous owner turned landlord, has taken on the responsibility of closing up the shop and attempting to return unclaimed art pieces and frames to the customers who commissioned them.

Veits is opening the shop for one last time this weekend, and selling the remaining merchandise for 50% off. The money made from the sales will be put into an account for Zuzek.

“Everything has to go!” said Veits. “I have some lovely, old, antique frames. I have jewelry, some very interesting jewelry, lots of ready-made frames that are pretty ornate, and a lot of things you don’t normally see in stores.”

Saddened by the closing of the shop, Veits holds onto her memories of it.

“It really is a charming little shop on one of the best streets in Los Angeles,” she said.

The Canterbury Art Shoppe’s liquidation sale happens from noon to 7 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday (June 27 & 28). The shop is located at 6329 W. 87th Street in the Westchester Triangle.