Your next big discovery in gift giving and art collecting just pulled up at 126 Matheson in Healdsburg.
Gallery owner, Kay Young smiles as she tells you “If you are searching for what has not been found before we are your new best friend. Our feel-good shopping experience offers our customers an Optimism Revolution of gift giving.”
Sandwiched between Oakville Grocery and Williamson Family wines at 126 Matheson, Hopscotch Gifts & Gallery specializes in handcrafted American gifts and art. Featuring work from all over the country Young also proudly exhibits a large proportion of Northern California work. From textiles to glassware, ceramics to jewelry, furniture to paintings, the store has a rich collection to suit any taste. It is one of the newest Healdsburg galleries and is located right off the Healdsburg Plaza.
“I don’t do beige well” Young laughs! That is apparent when you first walk in her lively store. Walls are painted aqua, orange, burgundy, and purple with black and while checkered trim all around. She hand painted most of the display tables herself and says, ”This is where Dr. Seuss could shop for Alice in Wonderland!” When a customer starts smiling and complimenting her gift selections she knows she is doing her job. Remarks often include questions by professional interior designers, who do visual displays for their own clients, asking who does the “curating”. Young thinks the word curate is quite a compliment because it is rarely used to apply to a retail merchandise mix but rather to a gallery art exhibit.
Small local shops like Hopscotch Gifts & Gallery are proof that small businesses have big rewards, Not only can you find a gift or a piece of art to fit your budget, her staff will gift wrap your selection or ship it anywhere in the country. Re-envision what a gift store looks and feels like. Take a step towards experiencing the talk of the town.
Hopscotch as well as Kay Young have plenty of history which defines them. The small gift gallery started out in Jack London Village in charming Glen Ellen in 2015. The 2017 Firestorms changed all of that. That October was a dark time for many Sonoma County families. Her 31 year old son lost his house in Coffey Park to those fires. Young recalls not even being able to access her previous store for 23 days while the last of the local fires were being put out in Glen Ellen which kept Arnold Drive inaccessible. While the physical building at Jack London Village was secure, so much of the residential structures had been destroyed. She had looked for a suitable replacement location but ether rentals were nonexistent or simply too large for her store’s needs. It was obvious that she would need to close her store. So almost a month after the fires had begun, she decided to close her store and mark the occasion by having an old-fashioned Irish style wake for the business. She met a friend at Willi’s Seafood in Healdsburg for dinner and drinks as they celebrated all the positive good their Glen Ellen store had done for the local art scene. They toasted to fond memories and made a firm decision that the store would have to close. And that seemed to be that.
The next morning, Young was standing at the corner of Matheson and Center Streets right in front of the Oakville Grocery. She was wistfully looking around at the cute storefront windows of other small shops admiring their signs and awnings. Feeling inspired by the quaintness of the Healdsburg Plaza she let her mind wander. She said it was almost like a Hallmark movie when she silently said to herself, “I wish I had my store here in Healdsburg!” Immediately there was a small thought she picked up on in her head that suggested that she go look for storefronts a half block away on the side streets around the plaza. She turned her head and saw an awning for the now closed Options store at 126 Matheson. They walked over to that storefront and in the window there was a sign that read, “Gallery Closing. Inquire Within.” Five minutes later they were in an engaging lively conversation with Options storeowner Sue Sacks. Within an hour, a deal was struck and Young became the new tenant for that location. Options closed its doors at the end of November 2017 after 24 successful years of retail. In its location, Hopscotch Gifts & Gallery opened on January 12, 2108. The rest as they say is history, or in this case HERstory.
Young ‘s art career began with her studies and an eventual BFA degree from The California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, CA. As an established national artist she was the first to produce painted glass dinnerware and stemware for the commercial market in the 90’s. In those days she traveled to eight trade shows a year setting up her tradeshow booth in San Francisco, Baltimore, Dallas, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and New York. Her buyers ranged from the top American Craft galleries to Henry Bendel of New York, Jacobson, Borsheims, and Yonkers department stores, Nordstrom’s, and Neiman Marcus stores. Catalogs such as Horchow, Boston Museum of Fine Art, and FeMail Creations carried her work. Her brightly colored dishes were featured in many publications including Better Homes and Gardens, Traditional Home, Sunset Magazine, Rhode Island Bride, Spirits and Cocktails, San Francisco Chronical, and Decorative Home. Collectors and celebrities such as John Travolta and Sandra Bullock own her work, She was invited to the White House to place one of her ornaments on the Clinton’s Blue Room Christmas tree and also created a special ornament for Victorian Magazine which represented the magazine at the Woman’s Craft Museum in Washington, D.C. She has also appeared for two segments on HGTV’s “That’s Clever” showing how she paints her glassware.
Her love of making her own art, successfully merchandising the selected works in her Healdsburg store, and connecting with customers from all over the country is her golden ticket these days! She enjoys mentoring local artists and teams up with them to arrive at tasteful product placement, pricing, labeling, and packaging. One of the perks of shopping at Hopscotch is that Young purposefully supports only American artists. Her no imports policy is firm. Having had her own martini glass designs illegally produced in Romania for pennies on the dollar and sold to American stores
without her consent, she stands solidly behind not encouraging the sale of imported items Young honed her retail buying skills over thirty years ago for her own 3,000 square foot retail store which was located in Alameda, CA Since she has been in the retail/wholesale business for over 30 years, she is pretty jaded by most products on store shelves which all start to look the same and loose her interest. “My buying eye is very developed and it takes a lot for me to pay attention to a line of work.” She is proud to carry items created by beginning artists because it not only supports the artist but it also insures that the selling prices are a good value. “Customers remark all the time about how reasonable things cost at Hopscotch Gifts & Gallery and how beautiful the store looks,” she proudly remarks.
It is this valuable combination of being a production artist as well as a gallery and store owner which brings a zesty, retail vibrancy to Healdsburg. “I have no interest following industry trends, popular colors, or touristy merchandise.” Humor, bold colors, affordability, fantastic craftsmanship, textures, functionality, and sheer joy touch the items she displays in her business. She thinks it is important to offer the people of Healdsburg a true value for their gift giving needs. In fact Young beckons everyone to come in for a “cup of visual joy” by visiting her shop on Matheson. You won’t be disappointed.
Whether you’re searching for a perfect gift or something to add character to your home, her team will walk you through her collection to find exactly what you are looking for. Come see what everyone is talking about!
Hopscotch Gifts & Gallery
Healdsburg, CA 95448
Photos by BOURNE PHOTOS | bbourne.com