Family inspires business
Family is infused into just about everything at Barker Road Collection in Tacoma’s Old Town, and it starts with the name and the logo.
It’s a house, with palm trees fronting it, on Barker Road in Hong Kong, where the parents of three siblings – Ginger Shorey, Linda McElroy and William McElroy – who own and operate the gift shop met.
Then there’s the tea, now an Oprah favorite, but when Shorey was a child, the family carted it back by the case from England. Then there’s the bambi balls, which open to reveal gifts inside. The proprietors’ mother once made them; now they are sold at the store.
Every piece of merchandise, from a silver inkwell to French water glasses, comes from where the family has spent time, reminds the owners of their childhood or is something they use. Globe-trotting was made easy when the three were young – their dad worked for Boeing, delivering new planes to foreign countries.
Other items in the 800-square-foot store include high-end clothing (a trench raincoat is priced $616), handblown glass, candles, greeting cards, baby gifts, luggage, soaps and eyeglasses. You can also find a kitchen strainer for $5 – there because the family uses it and likes it.
The store was featured in Vogue in November 2001 for its Yansi Fugel clothing line and in 2005 won the Best in the Northwest Washington Family Business of the Year Award.
At the holidays, look for Santa and a toy drive. Halloween brings a family-style costume contest, where families arrive dressed up and get their picture taken with the hope of winning the annual prize.
Shorey sat down recently with The News Tribune to talk about Barker Road Collection and its place in the world of retailing.