“If you are really thankful, what do you do? You share”-W. Clement Stone
The day started in gloom. A blanket of grey, dull, overcast that beckons one to stay in and sleep the day away. I avoided the hand that tried to pull me back into the mood of the morning and chose to meet someone who would brighten even the dullest day.
Bill Evans is the proprietor of a family owned business called the Pacific Northwest Shop. The red brick building on the corner at 2702 North Proctor, Tacoma, Washington, is charming. The logo on their business card states, “Gifts from our corner of America.” First you must understand, Bill supports local and small businesses from many areas as long as it comes from Oregon, Washington, British Columbia and Idaho.
The unknown foundation of the shop started forty-five years ago, when Bill and Ann lived in Peru.
He saw the work by local weavers as they produced beautiful products and then sold them. The money would be used to aid the village to support itself. So in 1978 he established the Pacific Northwest Shop with the understanding that all work sold would come from small cottage industry and tribal groups.
To give you an idea of how far Bill will go to bring back the best to his shop, we will start in Connell, WA. There you will find a woman who uses the milk from her pasture raised goats to make soap. In Langley, another woman makes chocolate candles and soap that smell so divine that I had to remember not to eat them. Bill supports local and family owned wineries. One label competed with the California big boys, and now boasts itself as a proud contender.
Plum Yum, organic in nature, is a fruit spread from Rock Island, WA. You can drive to Walla Walla for the best Bar-B-Que sauce in the state or you can stop by Bill’s store for a bottle. In Kittitas, a soup that was made for Black Angus cow hands, is now available for purchase. Labeled as the county’s “Best Kept Secret,” Tacoma Tacobet Tortilla Soup caused workers to wait in line for a dish of the hearty delight. Coffee, treats and sweets are also available.
Even the artwork, whether handcrafted, sketched or painted, are part of this project. For example, a handcrafted, thin copper metal design of a salmon, fused between two pieces of glass, is part of a dishware collection by Larry Jones. Ceramics are by artists from Port Townsend and other small communities. Even the common and simple, like greeting cards or books geared towards hiking, cooking, plants, travel and children’s stories are related to the beloved Pacific Northwest.
I delight in Bills easy way as he excuses himself to answer a question or sign for a UPS delivery. “Regulars” that stop by give him hugs and chat briefly before they leave. His easy personality makes this shop one that allows good old fashion browsing.
I wander through the store and find myself instantly attracted to large bowls of medium size, glass globes with marbled designs. Others shaped like tear drops dangle and sparkle in front of the large window, catching slivers of light that dare to enter. Even the beautiful red and clear shaped glass umbrellas offer a unique alternative. These visual delights are produced by a company in Seattle that uses the ash from Mt. St. Helen’s.
Pacific Northwest Shop is a gem that cannot be passed up. Family owned, professional and warm; it became the sunshine in an otherwise gloomy day. (www.pacificnorthwestshop.com)