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Cockamamie’s, a New Hope mainstay, closing its doors after 20 years

On July 4th, 1996, Herb Millman and John Dwyer opened their Art Deco boutique Cockamamie’s in New Hope. That was Independence Day. Now, after 20 years, and the graying of the proprietors, Cockamamies’s will be closing its brick and mortar store at the end of May, a few days after Memorial Day.

The symbolism of independence and new beginnings, when they opened two decades ago and now closing at a time of memories and remembrance, is not lost on the owners.

It was with great pride that they opened the store. Their first day they sold out their windows. They won Best New Business that year when the town honored local excellence when the New Hope Chamber of Commerce held The Arty Awards.

Over the last 20 plus years, Herb and John AKA The Decoguys sold all things Art Deco but found a special niche in lighting. They purchased from estates and also used dealers and pickers but much of their lighting and furniture was imported from France and England. To date, they have two dealers in both France and England as well as over 50 dealer contacts all over the country.

Cockamamie’s specializes in art deco lighting, furniture, home accessories, barware as well as a wide selection of celebrity autographs. Not only have they worked with a number of interior designers, they have also served as decorators and designers for a number of their clients.

After much thought and consideration, the Decoguys have decided to retire their retail store and will close their doors on May 31st. Since opening their store, Herb and John have written two coffee table books for Schiffer Publishing and are currently writing their third.

Their books “Art Deco Lighting” and “Popular Art Deco Lighting: Shades of the Past” have sold thousands of copies to art deco collectors. They were also hired as the on-air lighting experts for the QVC television network for four years representing all of the networks lighting vendors.

QVC sent the Decoguys to glass classes so they would learn how Tiffany-inspired glass lamps were made.

While in school, they had the opportunity to cut and solder glass the way the artisans do to create their lamps. They appeared on a number of cable television shows discussing art deco and its origin. They also have given lectures on the subject for both the Michener Museum as well as Artsbridge.

Countless magazine and newspaper articles have been written about the Decoguys and their specialty being art deco. Several years ago one of their clients, a television producer, put together a television pilot called “Out of the Closet with the Decoguys.”

The producer also had them do a two-hour show called “On the Road to New Hope with the Art Deco” which was an art deco appraisal show before a live audience in the ballroom of the Eagle Fire Company. Unfortunately, the producer passed away and neither of the shows were picked up by a cable network.

Both Herb and John have been very involved in the community since opening their store.

Herb was a past president of the New Hope Chamber of Commerce for four years and currently sits on the chamber board. He also held the position of Executive Director of both the New Hope Merchants Association and the New Hope Business Alliance and was on the New Hope Revitalization committee for nearly nine years. He is currently a member of the New Hope Eagle Fire Company and has been for the last eight years.

John was on the board of the Chamber of Commerce for four years from 2000-2004 and currently sits on the chamber board. He is currently on the New Hope Revitalization Committee as well as the Economic Development sub-committee. He is also a member of the New Hope Eagle Fire Company and serves as a member of the New Hope Fire Police. He has appeared in several shows for The Bucks County Playhouse and produced shows for The Bridge Theater Company

Herb and John have the philosophy that when one door closes another one opens.

They are currently in the process of building a website called Cockamamies.net. They plan on launching the site within the next month. Best of luck to these two icons of the New Hope entrepreneurial scene.