The holiday shopping season is well underway so don’t be caught by the calendar and start your shopping early. Local shops in your area have some ideas on how to make gift lists shorter. Shop local this year with Pacific Northwest-inspired gifts found in Pierce County.
Residents of the South Sound often struggle to come up with gift ideas for their family and friends who no longer live in the area and know a little about our piece of heaven here. Locally sourced and inspired gifts, therefore, play the role of promotional brochures or strolls down memory lanes to those unfortunate souls who live outside of Puget Sound. But with so many aspects of the region to celebrate, people find challenges in sorting through the roster of gift ideas.
One often-overlooked place to find uber-local gifts might just be a mile or so away, depending on where you live. Local history museums always have gift shops focusing solely on their city, town or area. The Lakewood Historical Society, Harbor History Museum, Puyallup Historical Society’s Meeker Mansion Museum, Lewis Army Museum, Steilacoom Historical Museum Association, DuPont Historical Museum, Olympia Historical Society, Fort Steilacoom Museum and the Washington State History Museum are among the list of places to check out for local gifts, particularly books and down-home pieces.
Since apparently books and historical items aren’t all that matter to some people, local retailers offer a host of other items. One business, in particular, makes whittling down the roster of options fairly easy.
The family-run Pacific Northwest Shop, which has locations in Tacoma’s Proctor District and in Seattle, offers hundreds of gift options from Washington, Oregon, Idaho and British Columbia. Sure, shoppers will find Almond Roca packs, regional wines, salmon samplers and the like. Still, it also has locally produced art made of glass, ash from Mount St. Helens, Native American jewelry and pampering products. Its website even has curated, ready-made gift packages at various price ranges with $4.99 shipping around the nation.
Specially crafted bronze coasters are also on the way in time for the holiday. These short-run items of only 50 will show Mount Rainier looming in the background of the Narrows Bridge that is being cast exclusively for the shop. “We are really excited about that,” gift-shop guru Matt Evans said.
For all-sweets, all-the-time gift ideas, Johnson’s Candy Co. has delivered the goods for almost a century. It was back in 1925 when Russell Johnson first started selling his own brand of chocolates at his parents’ shop on South K Street. He later bought the business and ran it as a lunch counter that specialized in old-time candies. His son Ron took over in 1963, and then his son William assumed the role of the chief chocolate maker, and he runs the place to this day.
Customers either browse through the shop to craft their gift packages for their holiday parties or have the chocolate treats shipped worldwide to deliver local flavor to far-flung fans. One holiday favorite has always been the shop’s brandy cherries.
“As soon as we get them, they are gone in a few days,” said candy clerk Carole Hill, a 27-year veteran of the candy operation. “While Valentine’s Day is our biggest day, the holidays are the biggest season.”
For gifts that are inspired by the Pacific Northwest, stop by one of these locations for presents that are sure to please even the pickiest of friends and family.