Downtown Tacoma has been experiencing a Renaissance for years now, and yet the momentum is still going with new shops, museums, galleries and restaurants settling in. The newest shop on the block—Stocklist Goods & Gifts—brings yet more coolness to Pacific Avenue with its quirky collection of gift items that range from novelty socks to locally roasted coffee to cards you won’t find in any Hallmark store. Whether you’re shopping for the holidays or for a birthday gift or for yourself, Stocklist adds something unique to the mix.
Walking into Stocklist is likely to put a smile on your face. You’ll be greeted by fun and fancy around every corner of every shelf, and that’s intentional. Store owner, Liz Van Dyke, chooses each item in the store with just that intention. She came to the store with a background in retail management at another gift shop, as well as helping her mother with a multi-generational family business.
“Since childhood I have loved shopping, buying gifts for people that mean something and serve a function, even if it’s just a moment of joy,” she says. “I’d like to think that Stocklist is stocked full of items that I love or that I have seen people love. The idea is you can find an item that has a personal meaning to the giver or the receiver, or an item that has a story.”
Within the walls of the shop, you’ll find an incredible variety of items, and most do have a story. The best-selling line at the store are socks with sassy messages printed onto them from Massachusetts. Liz is from Massachusetts as well, and equates the Massachusetts mill town with Tacoma’s own industrial past. Another product line she carries, Stickers Northwest, comes out of a connection she has with that company—Stickers Northwest’s first account was the last store Liz managed. Now Stocklist is one of hundreds that Stickers Northwest works with. Yet another line is out of San Francisco—Lady Alamo—and Liz discovered them when she asked a friend who runs a clothing store which products he most loved.
“Stocklist is about community, it’s about connections. In some ways, it all feels so corny to say, but it’s about love,” she explains. “The items in Stocklist have meaning to me in some way or another. They’re things that have had an impact on people. They can make them laugh, or tear up, or feel a little bit of joy. The community I have found in Stocklist is one that supports each other. Almost every day, I am able to observe a connection between people and others, or people and an item, that helps to fuel my passion and drive to create a fun and creative space.”
Stocklist’s ties to community and connections go deeper than the items on the shelves. The store opened with the help of the Spaceworks program, which pairs local artists and creative businesses with empty spaces in Tacoma. Spaceworks offers training to new entrepreneurs and has empowered business owners throughout town, as well as given Tacoma some of its niftiest shops.
The connection between Liz and Spaceworks started when Spaceworks invited her to a fundraiser, which she attended with her boyfriend Aaron, who helps her run the shop. While she didn’t have money to give to the program, she wanted to help. That desire led her to host a Spaceworks fundraiser, which then led to her realizing how the program could help her.
“Late last year when I was considering apply to Spaceworks I recalled how just six months before I had hosted an event for them, and here I was knocking on their door saying I’d love some help,” she says. “It was not an intended chain of events, but it’s been serendipitous in so many ways. And’s it’s been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life!”
She went into the program with the idea of outfitting a 1977 Pace Arrow RV to become a mobile gift store. Even though her ideas morphed and changed to become a storefront in downtown Tacoma, it was the support of the Spaceworks community that helped drive her forward.
Stocklist’s location is also driven by community. The storefront is not far from Tinkertopia, Urban X Change and the Harmon Brewery, so the store couldn’t have chosen a finer set of neighbors. It’s within the University of Washington – Tacoma footprint, which served as a major force behind driving the community in downtown Tacoma that exists today.
“We are absolutely honored to be surrounded by our wonderful neighbors here on Pac Ave!” says Liz. “Each and every store here is part of a vibrant retail community and are a part of the reason why were are here. There are too many to name! Before we opened up shop, Downtown was not a place that I frequented all that often, now it’s my second home! The University of Washington has worked with many Spaceworks participants in the past and we feel very lucky to be a part of this list!”
Liz also comes from a family of party planners and hopes to bring her own experiences event planning to the Stocklist. Watch for downtown shopping events, trunk shows and parties. In the works is a downtown Tacoma shopping day during the holidays, a scavenger hunt hosted by a few Tacoma businesses, and she hopes an event that brings together women-owned businesses in T-Town.
To visit Stocklist, head to 1936 Pacific Avenue, Tacoma. You can call the store at 253-720-0062 or follow them on Facebook.