A Hidden Gem in a Buried Treasure

As you all probably know by now, I like very much, and am fascinated by downtown Bristol.  All I want to see is Bristol rejuvenate, and grow (both richer and bigger!).  I want to see it adapt to an ever changing world, while maintaining its enormous history.  In writing this blog, and spending a lot of time on State Street, I came across a locally owned business that I am very excited about.  Recently I had the chance to interview one of the owners for a few minutes, which only made me more satisfied with what is going on downtown, business-wise.

Tammy Pickett, along with her sister Dina Miller, both own and operate Whimsical Gems & Treasures.  I have met both of these women, and in both instances, they couldn’t have been more welcoming, helpful, and friendly.  Ms. Pickett was the owner who happened to be there to give me the opportunity to ask questions about her store.

whim·si·cal

1. given to whimsy or fanciful notions; capricious

(Okay.  What does that mean?)

whim·sy

1.capricious humor or disposition; extravagant, fanciful, or excessively playful expression
2.an odd or fanciful notion.
3. anything odd or fanciful; a product of playful or capricious fancy
(There honestly couldn’t be a more spot on name for this out-of-the-ordinary, off-the-beaten-path, not-what-you-usually-find gift store.)

First and foremost, I want to say that I love the fact that the owners spend so much time in the store.  I think most of us can agree that no one should be able to help a customer out in their store, more than the person/people who own it.  Both of these women easily answered every one of my questions about the various products they have to offer.  Which brings me to my next point: a lot of the products are locally made.  It might not seem like it from the outside, but I’d be willing to bet that there is a little something for everyone if they took the time to mosey on inside.  Ms. Pickett was very informative about the local products she had available.  There were some interesting pieces I found.  There are a lot of gemstone jewelry items on display in Whimsical’s showroom.  All of which is handmade, and to my understanding, most of the gemstone items are handmade by Dina Miller, one of the owners!  Again, this is very impressive to me because in my experience, the owners usually don’t participate in the day-to-day business within their establishment.  And here we have 2 local women, who own their own business, on State Street, and make some of their own inventory!  Fantastic!  As I said before, I am very excited about Whimsical Gems & Treasures because it and the owners seem to embody what I want to see happen all over downtown Bristol. Along with the handmade jewelry, there are natural and organic soaps, herbal foot baths, bath salts, wind-chimes, and other assorted nick-nacks that are all unique, and very much representative of the local culture.  In fact, the person who makes the herbal bath accessories (I assume a close friend of the owners), is a local woman who gets the ingredients and materials from her own garden.  I am very serious when I say that this store is a breath of fresh air, and is exactly what Bristol needs.

This unique little store gives off a certain charm that I can’t really put my finger on.  It just feels good to be inside.  It’s not like walking into a Wal-Mart, or other chain store.  It’s more down-to-Earth, comfortable, and.. just different.  I don’t want that to be misconstrued into something bad.  Walking around the shops and eateries on State Street, every one is a little different.  They each stand out in their own way.  No shop downtown though, stands out more than Whimsical Gems & Treasures.

Also I believe that Ms. Pickett and Ms. Miller have the same mindset I do about our little spot on the map.  When I asked Ms. Pickett why her and her sister decided to open their first business on State Street, she responded by saying: “We saw the progress that downtown Bristol is making, and wanted to be a part of it!”  I wish more people were like Ms. Pickett.  Or even just shared her enthusiasm.  Another question I wanted to ask (because I’m pretty critical about what’s going on) was “What do you think your store brings to downtown Bristol that wasn’t already here?”  Ms. Pickett then explained to me the ins-and-outs of their children’s section.  “Kids can come in here any time of day and make their own beaded jewelry.”  The children’s section is very accommodating to kids.  It looks like a great little play area, with stools and a miniature bar-like setting which serves as an arts and crafts section.  I don’t have any kids, but if I did I would take them there.

All in all, Whimsical Gems & Treasures is a great addition to the personality and face of downtown Bristol.  It’s fun for the kids, has some stuff for the teens, and accommodates just about everyone older than that.  It really has a good atmosphere, and might spark your interest in things you may not have thought you were interested in.

The sisters opened the store in March of this year, so it’s fairly new.  And all I see for the store is great things.  The things Ms. Pickett told me we can look forward to is their beading classes they hold every Wednesday night at 6:30.  They both are very into arts and crafts, and are willing to teach their customers how to make crafty little things (which I think would make great “white elephant” Christmas gifts).  Also, there will be a book signing on September 16th, which will have V.N. “Bud” Phillips, and Joe Tennis in attendance.  Of course both of their books are available for sale at Whimsical Gems & Treasures.  I was then informed that there are more events and happenings put on by the owners around the holidays.  And lastly, as we all know the Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion is coming up!  Since Whimsical hasn’t been open for a year yet, they haven’t experienced a Rhythm & Roots weekend.  I wish them all the best especially during that weekend, and hope they have more customers then they can handle.  This truly is a unique store that Bristol needs to embrace.

Good luck ladies!!!

Whimsical Gems & Treasures

509 State Street, Bristol VA

(276) 644-1863

Tuesday-Saturday, 10:00am-7:00pm

http://www.whimgems2.com

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11 Responses to “A Hidden Gem in a Buried Treasure”

  1. […] around their store, and it really is a different place you can find some interesting things.  Like Whimsical Gems & Treasures, there are a lot of nifty little gifts that you wouldn’t find in mainstream stores.  The […]

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  10. […] Dina Miller once again.  You might remember her store, Whimsical Gems & Treasures, from the very first local blog article I ever wrote.  I continue to patronize her shop and have found many trinkets and gifts for people […]

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