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The Country Store in Walla Walla, Washington

Updated on August 11, 2013
The Country Store in Walla Walla, WA
The Country Store in Walla Walla, WA | Source
Individual Booth
Individual Booth | Source
Blue Willow China
Blue Willow China | Source
Coca-Cola Tray
Coca-Cola Tray | Source
Betty Boop Memorabilia
Betty Boop Memorabilia | Source
Vintage Chess Set
Vintage Chess Set | Source
Individual Booth
Individual Booth | Source
Individual Booth
Individual Booth | Source
Classic Vintage Car Model
Classic Vintage Car Model | Source
Classic Vintage Car Model
Classic Vintage Car Model | Source
Vintage Dolls
Vintage Dolls | Source
Vintage Pewter Plates
Vintage Pewter Plates | Source
Local Native American Art
Local Native American Art | Source
Vintage Farm Machinery
Vintage Farm Machinery | Source
Vintage Hay Wagon
Vintage Hay Wagon | Source
Vintage Farm Tank
Vintage Farm Tank | Source
Sign on Wagon
Sign on Wagon | Source
Vintage Tractor
Vintage Tractor | Source

I am a creature of habit.

The weather notwithstanding, I'm at one of my favorite coffee shop haunts in downtown Walla Walla working on this hub. It happens to be raining quite profusely at this time, and while I'm not seeing any cats and dogs falling from the sky, it still strikes me as odd, one week into June, that I'm also not seeing any cats and dogs walking around, either, thanks in large part to the topsy turvy weather.

Usually, late spring and early summer means hot, sunny days in southeastern Washington. Lately, however, our weather has been akin to the schizophrenic meteorological scene more familiar to Seattle, some 250 miles or so to the west and devoid of any mountainous protection from the occasional Pacific storm fronts.

So I'm glad that I mowed my lawn this morning. And I'm equally pleased that I went to The Country Store yesterday when the sun was lazing narcissistically in an empty azure sky and took some great internal and external shots of that local Mom and Pop shop.

Grateful to be a resident of the Walla Walla Valley, I have a self-imposed mission to contribute my share of good citizenship by spreading words of sincere appreciation for the wide spectrum of small businesses in the local area. The Country Store is one such enterprise.

The seemingly overnight success of Walla Walla wines and subsequent surge in small businesses have been responsible for bringing more traffic to our picturesque valley. Once known primarily as a wheat farmer's haven and a penitentiary town, Walla Walla might very well have remained just another mundane stereotype.

But thank goodness that isn't the case. In fact, the pride of southeast Washington has, thanks to the agrarian sprawl of vineyards and wineries, made quite a definitive statement. The proverbial mouse that roared, as it were, is making a name for itself...not just regionally, not just nationally, but on a grand global scale.

Which brings me to the point of this review. Like the initial wide swings of a pendulum, it's comforting to know that changes, even and perhaps especially good changes, can blend in nicely with and serve as complements to the longstanding, deep, and secure roots that color the character of the local area.

The Country Store in Walla Walla is vital to this community in that it is a perfect resting spot for the wonderful memories previously stored in great-grandmother's trunk in the attic, or in the old red barn that looks like it could fall apart come the next wind that sweeps down from the majestic Blue Mountains, or on the antiquarian bookshelves of ivy-walled college as well as personal libraries.

For a mere pittance, enterprising entrepreneurs can rent store space for their beautiful vintage wares, rich with area history. When their items sell, a percentage is given to the store, and the private parties pocket the difference. A great win-win scenario!

And the rest of us have at our leisure this wonderful museum of rural Americana that is simply jam-packed with sweet yesteryear nostalgia.

In fact, during my transition in late 2011 from an online vendor of fly tying hooks to a novice seller of vintage ephemera (prints, print ads, articles, magazines, and postcards), it was at The Country Store where I found my first substantial inventory of dirty old paper. Meandering into an upstairs booth, I discovered a couple of cardboard boxes filled with National Geographic magazines from the 1920s, 1940's, and 1950s. The original price of $65 had been crossed out, and in its stead was written 50% Off!

Probably due more to my impulsivity than any good business sense--although, like the fish tale that gets increasingly embellished with each telling, my entrepreneurial acumen keeps getting bigger and bigger--I rushed downstairs and pleadingly presented the merits of the purchase to my wife. I just knew that I could turn that $32.50 plus 8.7% sales tax several times over in a relatively short time!

My original intent was to sell each magazine for a small profit. But once I opened a few of these old issues and realized the wealth of informative, well-written articles; magnificent black and white as well as color photographs; and magnificent true-to-life nature prints that lay within the covers, I knew that it was my destiny to become--yes!--a magazine coroner.

Hawaiian Odysseus, M.D.D...Magazine Dissecting Doctor!

At least once a month, my wife and I return to where it all started. The Country Store is neatly organized into a couple dozen booths or so, and I just love to explore every nook and cranny. Every now and then, a booth owner leaves, and another takes his or her place. It's fun and interesting to check out both the familiar relics as well as more recent additions to the shelves. You can see from the photos on the right why these gorgeous vintage items are like nostalgic eye candy for one such as I.

Invariably, we never walk out of the store without having made a purchase. On different trips, we've purchased a book containing Vincent van Gogh prints; issues of Saturday Evening Post, Collier's, or Life ; tin canisters; a book containing prints of birds indigenous to North America; figurines; collector's plates; lamps; baskets; Coca-Cola memorabilia; and other knickknacks.

We're in the business of reselling most of these items online--on eBay, Amazon, Craigslist, Yardsellr,, Etsy, etc.--or at one of our occasional yard sales, but it's equally rewarding to know that we're also engaging in commerce with our Walla Walla Valley neighbors. Ultimately, each and every one of us is eking out a simple, practical, and honest living, liberated from corporate bullying; bosses demanding more and paying less; and--hopefully--the wolf at the door aka the turbulent economy.

To that end, we look to the neighborhood icons that serve as the glue that strengthens and binds the hardbound spine of our community.

Thank God for The Country Store. Just as its very name suggests, there is inherent and priceless value in grass roots simplicity.

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  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
    Author

    Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    @rajan jolly

    I'm writing a Hub about certain appealing attributes certain HubPages writers exemplify that others find so appealing. One of the traits is attentiveness. You are certainly attentive to your readers and their feedback to you, Rajan. As busy as you are, you always respond to others' comments, and you make time to go visit their creative endeavors. That's the mark of a true gentleman, and I for one really appreciate you, sir. Thank you for all that you do to enhance the HP community. Aloha, and have a wonderful rest of the week!

    Joe

  • rajan jolly profile image

    Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

    It's indeed a small world and looking at the antique tractor and the rest it seemed I was in some village in my country. Sure, the Country Store is a storehouse of treasures and you seem to have exploited the store's huge vintage offerings exceedingly well true to your new, should I say the, self awarded degree M.D.D. Great read, and some lessons well learnt here, by yours truly.

    Your hubs are very educative, my friend and it's a treat to read it; written as it is, in your inimitable style.

    Aloha and God Bless!

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
    Author

    Hawaiian Odysseus 5 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    @ Teresa Schultz

    Yes! I have a theory that recovery from self-defeating addictions can best be accomplished if one fills the hole with compelling, socially acceptable behaviors. It's no wonder, then, that movement away from my knucklehead days finds me smack dab today in the pursuit of vintage items, entrepreneurial pursuits, and--yes!--HubPages involvement. Along the Odyssean journey, I'm grateful for the fellow travelers I encounter along the way...interesting and thought-provoking writers like you and Tony. Thanks so much for stopping by once again. Always a pleasure! Aloha!

  • Teresa Schultz profile image

    Teresa Schultz 5 years ago from East London, in South Africa

    Lol, hadn't even realised Tony had already popped in here to comment - and yes, Naturel came to mind right away. I wonder if that Naturel blog post you pulled up was ours, lol! You write really well, and as Tony said, one reads finished before one even notices one is reading more and more. Thanks for sharing your history about this lovely little shop with us. It's great, too, that they allow people to rent some space there, to sell their own stuff - must produce a wide variety of interesting items to browse through. It sounds like you are really passionate about visiting vintage stores, and making them work for you in some way. Keep it up! Sharing your hub with my HubPages followers!

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
    Author

    Hawaiian Odysseus 5 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    @Hawaiian Scribe

    Thanks for the heads up about Antique Alley! How about the Big Island? You folks have some good shops over there? I fantasize about finding an old style Hawaiian quilt for a really cheap price (like I said, fantasy) and making a killing on eBay. Thanks for the faithful following! Glad it's the weekend and I can take a little break before hitting the challenging schedule all over again! Aloha!

  • Hawaiian Scribe profile image

    Stephanie Launiu 5 years ago from Hawai'i

    Another great hub! You're really a gifted writer and I love places like the Country Store. Reminds me I gotta make time to go see what's new at Antique Alley on Kapiolani Blvd. next time I'm in Honolulu. You'd love the piles of old Hawaiian black & white photos he's got there. Aloha!

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
    Author

    Hawaiian Odysseus 5 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    @dpsimswm Welcome aboard! Thanks for sharing! This was only the second time I've used my iPhone to capture some images for HubPages, and I'm pleasantly surprised at the great quality. The fact that one of the images conjured up a warm memory for you really means a lot to me. So glad you stopped by to comment! I'm making a note to read a couple of your Hubs after dinner. Have a great weekend!

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
    Author

    Hawaiian Odysseus 5 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    @wetnosedogs Thank you for your comment. (That's three from you in one day! I'm honored!) By the way, if you haven't already, please watch the video. The young woman who owns the store is a real gem--good-natured, personable, down to earth, and, all the while, a savvy businesswoman. One of the harsh criticisms of The Country Store in the past--it's been around for over 6 decades--is that it was disorganized and poorly maintained. Well, since ownership changed hands (she owns and manages the business, and her parents own the real estate), The Country Store Consignment and Antique Mall has undergone a remarkable makeover. I'd put it up against any of the big time antique stores in the Seattle and Portland areas. Still, the business owner reflects what her shop is all about--rural Pacific Northwest respect for good, old-fashioned values and look-you-in-the-eye friendliness. It was definitely a privilege and a pleasure to have shared this article with you and our fellow Hubbers!

  • dpsimswm profile image

    dpsimswm 5 years ago from Richmond, Virginia

    I love the old farm tractor. Reminds me of when I was a kid.

  • wetnosedogs profile image

    wetnosedogs 5 years ago from Alabama

    Sounds like a heavenly place and enjoyed reading about the country store. You found a real gem. Happy magazine hunting.

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
    Author

    Hawaiian Odysseus 5 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    @Tony Flanigan Hey, Tony, thanks for viewing and commenting. I pulled up someone's blog description of Naturel in Kei Mouth and can definitely see what you mean. Looks like a really nice respite from the urban life yet alive and hopping at the same time. Yeah, I find these kinds of shops with antique and vintage memorabilia really fascinating. Took me 59+ years to get my head straight about what really matters in life, and now I'm really looking forward to returning for a visit to Kaua'i and checking out all the thrift and vintage stores there. Aloha!

  • Tony Flanigan profile image

    Tony Flanigan 5 years ago from East London, South Africa

    This looks like my kinda store. Teresa and I visited Naturel, in Kei Mouth a few years back, and when I opened this Hub, Naturel just popped into my mind. Of course you describe Walla Walla so much better than I could do for Naturel. by the time I wanted to go find our description of Naturel (which I wanted to do very early in the Hub), I'd already finished reading your Hub! Thank you for the nostalgia trip, and for introducing me to the one store I would have to visit were I to visit the US!

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
    Author

    Hawaiian Odysseus 5 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Wow! The power of social media to heighten our awareness as to how small our world really is! Thanks for sharing! Aloha!

  • LaciKomula profile image

    LaciKomula 5 years ago from Indiana

    I've been there a few years back. I grew up in Washington State not too far from Walla Walla and have made the drive there many times.