Meet Your Merchant: Split Pea Accessories, from cowboys to caviar
Split Pea Accessories
Pine Creek Shopping Center
664-A Freeman Lane, Grass Valley
Facebook: Split Pea Accessories
Hours: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. Hours will change to 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. in April.
11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sundays year round
“Who do you suppose splits all those peas?” joked Maggie Turner’s father while eating split pea soup one day. The youngest of six children, Maggie remembers this long-standing family joke, which originated when her parents where high school sweethearts in the 1940s.
From then on, her mother’s pet name for her father was always “Split Pea.”
“Any card or letter from my mom to my dad was always addressed to Split Pea,” said Maggie. “They’re both gone now, but to me that nickname means love, kindness and laughter — everything that’s good in the world.”
Therefore it’s no surprise that when Maggie decided to open a small accessories store in Grass Valley, “Split Pea” was at the top of the list of names.
While working as a buyer for a Grass Valley discount store, Maggie came across a trade show specifically for accessories during one of her buying trips to Las Vegas. That got her thinking.
“When my daughter was in high school I’d take her with a group of friends down to the Roseville mall,” she said. “We’d always end up spending too much money. I kept wishing there was a local affordable accessories store that appealed to all ages.”
In Sept. of 2014, Maggie opened the doors of Split Pea Accessories in the Pine Creek Shopping Center on Freeman Lane in Grass Valley.
Inventory change trending
Prior to opening, the entire family had pitched in to fix up the small corner space, across from Jamba Juice. Maggie’s husband, Larry, did all the construction, including the flooring, walls and painting. Business quickly picked up as passersby began to pop to see what was inside the one-of-a-kind store.
“We try to offer something for everyone, from simple to over the top — ages 9 to 90,” said Maggie. “Our inventory changes all the time, and we always know what’s trending.”
“’From cowboy to caviar’ — that’s what we like to call our inventory,” said Donna Benson, an old family friend who splits the day manager position with Megan Hernandez-Merlin. “Right now our top sellers are handbags, scarves, leggings and CC Beanies, including the ponytail beanie with a hole in the top.”
Other popular accessories include wallets, a large selection of jewelry, tiaras and color-changing umbrellas, an item apparently popular with teachers on yard duty. Gift wrapping is available.
“My idea for the business was that people could come in and buy ‘just a little something,’” said Maggie. “I would rather see someone spend $10 and be happy, than $120 and later feel like they spent too much. I wanted the simple side of things — finding that one thing and being happy.”
Hosting the ‘best party in town’
Maggie’s daughter, Ari, was initially an integral part of the business, but she has taken an extended maternity leave. Needless to say, Maggie and Larry were thrilled with the November arrival of their first grandchild. In addition to the two day managers, two part-time sales clerks fill out the seven-day-a-week schedule, not to mention Larry, who is often found behind the counter on Sundays.
“He does all the cashiering on Sundays,” said Maggie. “He likes to chat.”
When asked if there were any changes scheduled in the future, Donna was quick to answer.
“Nope — it’s wonderful the way it is,” she said. “I feel like I host the best party in town. Some people come in for an hour and others rush in just before a party. The whole thing about Maggie is that she likes to keep things fun and affordable. Maggie, Larry and Ari are salt-of-the-earth people with big hearts. We’re not on commission here — it’s all about happiness first. That’s how Maggie is as a boss.”
“We can’t thank the community enough — we’ve had so many people come in and thank us for being here,” said Maggie. “And new people come in all the time and tell us what a fun little store we have. I like the sparkle in people’s eyes when they buy something they like, or they want to wear it out the door because it makes them happy.”
To contact Staff Writer Cory Fisher, email her at Cory@theunion.com.
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