Nostalgia galore in new old-fashioned store

Barrels of salt-water taffy set the old-fashioned theme just inside the front door and the nostalgia keeps on coming, right up to the life-size John Wayne and Lone Ranger cardboard cutouts against the back wall.

"I make an extra effort to find things that aren't normally found in the area," owner Patty O'Neal said of her Old West and old-fashioned inventory. And if customers want a particular item, she said, "I go on a treasure hunt for them" to try to track it down.

Choosing her merchandise was a little overwhelming at first, O'Neal said, but she loves to see the reactions when people find something nostalgic that they love.

"The older people can't believe it when they see the Walnettos," she said, pointing to the empty container, sold out for the moment to customers who remember the candy they loved as children. There are plenty of Root Beer Barrels, Coconut Long Boys and Mary Janes to satisfy the sweet tooth.

O'Neal was excited to pick up a line of Amish-recipe sauces, jams and jellies, and popcorn. The popcorn comes in blue, yellow and white and has fewer hulls, she said.

The children's department is a treasure trove of nostalgic toys like wooden alphabet blocks and rocking horses, along with fun modern touches like a toddler's plastic booster seat in the shape of the Yellow Pages phone directory.

"I stick with the old classic type toys," O'Neal said. "I don't carry anything that takes batteries."

O'Neal goes the extra mile in carrying out her nostalgia theme. She wears a prairie dress and apron in the shop and plays recorded cowboy, western and folk music, which also is for sale.

Along with the "past time" side of the business, O'Neal carries some more present-day gift items, including jewelry, clothing and mouse pads and dish towels with sassy sayings.

Gift certificates, in the form of wooden "coins" in various denominations, are available and come in a tiny burlap bag filled with peanuts. The coins are consecutively numbered, like more traditional gift certificates, so O'Neal knows whether or not they have been redeemed.

Free gift wrapping is available for purchases, in bandana print paper or more traditional patterns. O'Neal also sells helium balloons for all occasions.

O'Neal worked for years as an office manager in Port Angeles but dreamed about opening her own shop. A couple of years ago, she jumped in with both feet. Her first shop was in Port Angeles, but this summer she moved the business to Sequim. Her grand opening at Rock Plaza on Sept. 26 brought in quite a few first-time visitors to the shop.

The Sequim community and other businesses have been very welcoming, O'Neal said.

"It feels good."

Reach Sandra Frykholm at sfrykholm@sequim

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