When the opportunity to move into a better location arose, local Native American arts and crafts specialty store The Trading Post jumped on it.
The Trading Post moved from Hughes Road to 101 Bank St. in Grass Valley, closer to the prominent downtown area.
“It was one of those issues of expand or die,” said Susan Gleason, owner of The Trading Post, who runs the store with her sister, Janet Pedersen.
“We have Native American goods, a lot made by local artisans, both me, my sister and our family, as well as other people, and we have smudging and herbs, wild crafted herbs, glass supplies, leather, bones and feathers.”
Gleason wanted the store to focus on art and history.
Gleason received a doctorate in archaeology and wanted to enlighten the community on the rich history of Native American art, which often is misinterpreted, she said.
“The idea was that we’d have all kinds of artwork and educate the public about the wide variety available about native things,” Gleason said. “When most people think Native American, they think Southwest or Plains, not California artwork or the Northwest or other areas. Everything becomes pretty mixed, but it’s pretty distinctive when you actually see it.”
With the expanded location, the store is able to feature a room dedicated solely to rocks and gems, Gleason said. “We have a rock room with all kinds of different rocks and gems and minerals,” Gleason said. “It’s one of those things we could expand and have more of.”
The Trading Post will also offer classes taught by Gleason and Pedersen, who serves as business manager and picked up arts and crafts during her time as a school teacher.
“We’re going to have, starting probably the beginning of March, monthly classes on things like basket weaving and dream catcher weaving and Native American beading and stuff like that,” Gleason said. “I do the basket weaving. My sister does the dream catchers. We’ll also be teaching flint knapping, making arrowheads.”
Pedersen also utilizes her educational background to enhance the store.
“I make most of the dream catchers that we feature in the store,” Pedersen said. “I have my bachelor’s in home economics and interior design, so that gave me my eye for color and balance.”
The sisters both learned how to be crafty from their parents, both of whom worked with their hands.
“My mom loves to sew and do quilts and handicrafts and needle art, and my dad was a carpenter and mechanic in the garage, so they both taught us how to make things,” Pedersen said. “I do most of the jewelry and dream catchers, so I do a lot of piece work. I’m doing what I love, and I love what I’m doing, otherwise I wouldn’t be doing it.”
The increase in space allows for a wider variety of merchandise and display space, Pedersen said.
“Having a lot more space means we’ve taken that merchandise, and it’s exploded,” Pedersen said. “So everything can be seen individually now.”
To contact Staff Writer Jennifer Terman, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4230.