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‘Lovely things’: JJ Jackson’s continues a fun tradition

Teresa Berliner shows off some of the more popular items for sale in her store — JJ Jackson’s — in Nevada City, including a popular cooking and cookbook section.
Photo: Elias Funez

The history of the building that now houses JJ Jackson’s in Nevada City has a long and storied history.

Built in 1853, it has survived a number of fires, and has seen a variety of businesses pass through such as a furniture store, a saloon, JJ Jackson’s Bee Hive Grocery, and Osbourne and Woods variety store.

In more recent history, the business was bought by Teresa Berliner in 2006, and Berliner is committed to keeping the fun, quirky ambiance she remembers from visiting the store as a child.

“It came about in a crazy turn of events,” Berliner said. “I had been raising our children, and had really not been working fully outside of the house, and was doing a lot of fundraising.

The 169-year-old building that houses JJ Jackson’s on Commercial Street in Nevada City was built by the Kelsey Brothers in 1853.
Photo: Elias Funez

“My brother Eric saw that this business was for sale and he was like, ‘You’ve gotta buy it.’ And I was like, “Eric, are you kidding? I’ve worked in retail before; you haven’t. You give up your weekends. You give up your holidays.’ And he said, ‘But it’s JJ Jackson’s.’”

That was enough to convince Berliner to take over the spot where she continues to sell a variety of fun, colorful home wares, jewelry, body care, candles, artwork, and more.

“We couldn’t let this wonderful icon (go),” she added. “It had to be preserved in some form similar to that which we remember because I have beautiful memories of coming in here to Osbourne and Woods as a child.”


Berliner said she and her staff make every effort to maintain the spirit of the space, and while they continue many traditions, the store is constantly evolving.

JJ Jackson’s features a popular travel book section.
Photo: Elias Funez

The locally famous toy table remains one of Berliner’s favorite parts of the shop, a nostalgic glance to her childhood.

“My fondest memory was the toy table. It’s a requisite that does not change.”

The wall lined with greeting cards also attracts a lot of attention.

“There are very few people who come in and not buy a card,” said Berliner. “Very often that is their primary purpose of coming in. Then they see a towel they love, a cookbook, a candle, and they are like, ‘I like that, or I need that for a gift.’”

JJ Jackson’s staff includes a number of home cooks, which is evident in the selection of kitchen items and cookbooks.

“We do a lot of cookbooks because all of us on our staff love cooking,” Berliner explained. “We love the textiles, the tablecloths, the dish cloths. Isn’t it stunning?”

Melissa Clark cookbooks are a poplar item at JJ Jackson’s in Nevada City, owned by Teresa Berliner since 2006.
Photo: Elias Funez

And as much as she loves and is proud of the merchandise her store carries, Berliner said what makes JJ Jackson’s unique is the people who visit there.

“We really care about community and connection, and for us the strongest thing is: just come in,” she said. “You don’t have to buy anything, but we just love to see the beautiful faces of our community and it’s so meaningful to me to have a conversation with people.”

She is happy to serve the community by selling “beautiful things, artistically stimulating, lovely things.”

All are welcome at JJ Jackson’s, and the more the merrier.

“Come on in,” Berliner said. “We are always interested in hearing what you’ve got to say. And we’ll share some good recipes, if nothing else.”

JJ Jackson’s is at 244 Commercial St. in Nevada City.

Jennifer Nobles is a staff writer with The Union. She can be reached at jnobles@theunion.com


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