The 1934 red engine parked outside the newly opened Tradewinds Treasure Gallery is a fitting welcome to a store that refers to itself as a “most uncommon shoppe.”
When the downtown Gig Harbor store opened in June at 7700 Pioneer Way, Suite 104, it was a dream-turned-reality for owners Shelby and Candice Langston.
“We started talking about opening a store filled with treasures from around the world on our honeymoon seven years ago,” Shelby said.
To the Langstons, treasure differs from art.
“A treasure is something with a personal connection,” Candice said. “It’s something special to you. We want to help people find whatever that may be for them.”
The Langstons have focused on filling the store with an eclectic mix of world and local art, heirlooms, collectibles and jewelry. Each display case is filled with a variety of antique pieces and newly crafted items.
“Our collection gives people a chance to see and experience rare and unusual pieces not normally seen outside of a museum,” Shelby said.
Candice added: “Our goal is to have everyone be able to find a treasure. Something for everyone, at every price point.”
Shelby relies on his extensive contacts from around the world to form a global network to put together the collections on display. The Langstons’ passion for history and unique, one-of-a-kind finds shows throughout the store.
Notable at the entrance are two Maytag gas-powered race cars used in the 1930s to teach race car driving on the Indianapolis Speedway. The original washing machine engines are in place, while the bodies are replicas refurbished by Richard Lewis, a former race car builder from Riverside, Calif.
“They are modern-day collectibles,” Candice said. “There were less than 500 created, and few remain. We hope someone will buy them for their children to use and to treasure.”
“As part of the sales agreement, we are donating 25 percent of the proceeds to the non-profit organization Million Kids, which helps fight human trafficking around the world,” she said.
Antique items include jade pieces from China, intricate ivory carvings from Japan, a Philco radio set, an 1805 German vacuum coffee maker, plus replicas of Dimitri Chiparus bronze and marble art deco statues.
Jewelry has been a big seller for the store. It includes pieces from designer Jaqu De Lili of Los Angeles.
“Many of our pieces are investment grade, but we want to make them attainable and affordable to our customers,” Shelby said.
The Langstons have appreciated of the welcome and support from the Gig Harbor Downtown Waterfront Alliance, the Gig Harbor Chamber of Commerce and the public.
“The Gig Harbor Art Festival was great for the start of our business,” Shelby said. “We had as many as 500 people coming though our door over the weekend. The response from business owners and residents has been tremendous.”
Opening the store was a joint family effort: The Langstons’ sons helped to redo the space. After painting, carpeting and texturing walls and floors, they already are looking to expand. They’ve maximized the square footage with merchandise.
Pricing is as unique as the items in the shop. Everything is for sale, but prices can fluctuate with the market.
“We will buy, sell, barter and consign,” Shelby said. “There is a value range for pieces, preferred-customer prices and always creative ways for customers to take home what they want.”
“If someone has a dream of a treasure, we will go looking for it for them,” Candice added.
The gallery owners are looking forward to getting connected on the First Saturday art walks through Gig Harbor, as well as other events, such as Ladies Night Out.
“We encourage customers to come see some of the unusual gifts we have available,” Candice said. “Inventory will continuously change. Once something is gone, another unique treasure will replace it.”