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October 03, 2007

The Middle Floor Merchants

I have to start off this entry by apologizing to Deidre Norris and Jennifer Foster, who I promised I would write about way earlier, except that my life got in the way. So here is the blog entry that I should have written a week and a half ago...

Despite having lived in Tacoma for over two years, I had never visited the often talked of, almost mythical Sanford and Son. I'd head tell of the Middle-Floor Merchants, but didn't really understand how the whole thing worked. Turns out you walk into Sanford and Son on Broadway, viewing their amazing collection on antiques, then follow the signs downstairs. At that point you are at the "middle floor" deciding to go left or right, where there are amazing shops tucked away in stalls of varying sizes.

Deidre Norris' one is awesome. Deirdre was so much fun to meet and talk to about her art. She was in the middle of reorganizing her shop, so things were a little chaotic at the moment, but she still gave us the back story on several pieces she had put together ("I'm a dumpster diver!") and how she changed things from tossed trash to amazing art.

Currently Deirdre is "offering one-of-a-kind yard art, birdhouses, chair flair, unique & vintage chairs, pillow talk, custom headboards/wall panels, and many other unusual, vintage and quirky home decor items". She gave me a big hug as I left, encouraging me and my Mom to venture across the street to The Helm gallery, "Look! I just go goosebumps when I mentioned it! You must go!"

I bought this from Deirdre:


Bingo 2.jpg

I'm thinking of mounting it on the wall.

Another of my favorite of the Middle Floor Merchants is Jennifer Foster who owns Country Girl Gardens where I stocked up on hemp washclothes (4 for $12!) and bought a gorgeous, handmade wool scarf that I've been using everyday for the last week. Jennifer handmakes the soaps she sells and has a great selection of items that make excellent gifts or just items to spoil yourself with. Decadent, environmentally-friendly products, as well as cool clothing that you'll want to buy.

Jennifer also let us into Folie A Deux, a space which sells art and old, (sometimes) refinished furniture, which was closed for a few days while the proprietor was repainting her house. I recognized the furniture - she used to sell it on the side of the street on North 21st. and had told me she would be moving into a Sanford and Son space some time ago when I had stopped to admire her work.

Also of note in the Middle Floor Merchants are Mondo Bizarro, a toy/comics shop that caters to the indy comics collector. My Mom purchased the Maus comics for my brother there (OK - so that's not so indy...) but don't go expecting to find a bunch of X-Men and Batman comics.

Sisters is a Muslim clothing shop that has fantastic scarves at great prices. You can find everything from tunic tops to burquas there if that's what you're looking for. The woman who owns the place runs a Muslim halfway house for women and is extremely friendly.

And, correct me if I'm wrong, but I think that Re-Fine Clothier is where I met Nannette and, in a vintage pram, her daughter Natalie. Vintage clothing (and an especially fine selection of gorgeous coats!) at bargain prices. Mom bought a beautiful red sweater for only $5.00 and has been cursing the warm weather in San Diego that hasn't allowed her to wear it.

The entire list of Middle Floor Merchants is here, but I truly recommend that you check them out in person at 743 Broadway. Several of the Merchants have odd hours, but Saturday seems to be a good day to catch most of them open at one time.

Posted by Ensie at October 3, 2007 10:44 AM

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