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FINAL: Calling all Tacomans, Pierce County-ians and beyond: Let’s make a local gift guide

Post by Kathleen Cooper / The News Tribune on Dec. 7, 2012 at 6:00 am with No Comments »
December 26, 2012 11:23 am

The News Tribune’s stock in trade is local news. As a business reporter, one of my jobs is to try to sketch the local economy and how it affects, and is affected by, broader forces.

But one of the topics I enjoy writing about most is goods produced and sold locally. And we’ve gotten some calls in the past few days asking for, basically, a local gift guide.

Let’s make one together. I’ll start with a rough list of some of the items I’ve bought over the years as a way to send the flavor of Tacoma to my relatives in Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Wisconsin. I’ll also list the spots I shop. Will you do the same — in the comments, or in an email to me?

And please send me items from all of Pierce and Thurston counties. I live in Fircrest and am tasked with covering Tacoma, so I don’t get out to the east part of Pierce County much, or down south. My knowledge of local goods and makers there is limited.

I will keep updating this post until I run out of suggestions or my editor cuts me off. Then we’ll publish it next week.


  1. Lynnae’s Gourmet Pickles — on the shelves at Stadium Thriftway, Tacoma Boys and other local grocers.
  2. Valhalla Coffee
  3. Johnny’s spices — I bought mine at Fred Meyer. I’ve done a two-jar set tied up with ribbon.
  4. Tacoma playing cards — I bought several sets for gifts at King’s Books, but they’re available online and at several local retailers.
  5. Mad Hat Tea — sold at the namesake shop downtown and also at lots of other local retailers.
  6. Pampeana empanadas — Made a special order last year for Christmas week since we were the host family. They deliver and you can pick up locally. I’m not sure if they ship directly.
  7. Nikki McClure books — I’ve bought them online (see below) and at Best Loved Baby.
  8. Johnson Candy Company – 924 Martin Luther King Junior Way.
  9. Brown & Haley — Locals can shop the outlet store in downtown Tacoma, 110 East 26th St.
  10. Chehalis Mints — I’d not heard of these before, so I’m not sure if they’re sold locally or not. But you can buy them online! A reader says they’re lovely.


  1. Market on Market — 1122 Market St. Closed until next year.
  2. Amocat Cafe — 625 St. Helens Ave. You can find T-shirts, Mad Hat Tea, 253 stickers and other Tacoma pride items
  3. Sanford & Son Antiques — 743 Broadway. In addition to the antiques themselves, all the little shops inside are fun. My husband and I found a hand-made wooden truck there for one of my son’s Christmas presents.
  4. The Pacific Northwest Shop — 2701 N. Proctor
  5. LeRoy’s Jewelers — 940 Broadway
  6. Best Loved Baby — 4002 S. 12th St.
  7. The Design Cottage — 2624 N. 21st St. A reader reports, and their website says, they carry many handmade items by local artists as part of their line of home decor and accessories.
  8. Poppy & Co. — 765 Broadway. This also is a collection of hand-painted furniture and other home decor items made by local women.


  1. — This is where I have bought most of my Nikki McClure books, but I’ve also bought some of her books and prints at Best Loved Baby and King’s Books.
  2. Slide Sideways — I discovered them just a few weeks ago at the Tacoma is for Lovers fair at King’s Books. They make handmade screenprinted goods including posters and tote bags. I bought my sister some of their produce bags. She lives in Austin and loves Whole Foods. (I’m also hoping she doesn’t read this.)
  3. Springtide Press — Jessica Spring. You all must know Jessica’s work, right?
  4. Anagram Press — Chandler O’Leary. Ditto.
  5. — This is a list of local businesses with links to their online presences.
  6. Salsa! – Hacienda Flores makes wonderful mexican salsa and spice mixes, a reader reports. Order online:
  7. Parisienne Girl Designs – affordable vintage inspired jewelry, a reader reports.
  8. Libertine Tacoma – gourmet salts by Tacoman Christy Reedy
  9. C-Dub’s BBQ Rub – delish, a reader reports, and the business is run by a veteran.
  10. SeaStone Botanicals – soaps, scrubs and creams made by hand in Tacoma, using either organic or personally wildcrafted herbs from the Pacific Northwest.
  11. Itty Bitty Kitty Committee – cat related stationary and gifts made in Tacoma.


There are so many wonderful local businesses who don’t sell only local items — or may not sell local items at all, but focus on well-crafted ones made fairly in the United States and other parts of the world. I can’t list all of them here, because we were trying to be focused on local goods. A few of my favorites are Learning Sprout Toys, 809 Pacific Ave.; Teaching Toys and Books, 2624 N. Proctor; King’s Books, 218 St. Helens; Culpepper Books, 2521 N. Proctor; Basic Goods, 1734 Pacific Ave.; Purple Peacock, 1744 Pacific Ave.; almost every store on Antique Row… See? You get my drift.

You wouldn’t know it from this post, but I’m not really a shopper. I actually don’t like shopping that much. I do like giving gifts, though, and sorta geek out on finding presents to give that reflect our area and support our economy.

Remember that many local businesses, particularly restaurants, offer gift certificates or gift passes. “Experience” gifts are super popular among my friends.

Turns out two of my smart colleagues also wanted to put together a local gift guide. Check out Sue Kidd’s guide to local food gifts by going to And scroll through Rosemary Ponnekanti’s detailed posts on art gifts by going to

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