Explore Geyserville: Hidden treasures await shoppers at Gin’Gilli’s Vintage Home

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Loosely translated, Gingilli is an Italian word meaning a lot of little things together; a little bit of junk, a little bit of jewels.

With 45 vendors and an eclectic mix of handmade, one-of-a-kind, antique and vintage items for sale, Gin’Gilli’s Vintage Home in downtown Geyserville certainly lives up to its name.

Elisa Burroughs and her mom, Linda Elgin, opened the 5,000-square-foot store in 2009. Housed in a building that was once an auto dealership, Gin’Gilli’s has become a ”must visit” destination for locals and tourists alike.

While most of their vendors are from Sonoma County, including a few from Geyserville, others are from Mendocino, Lake and Humboldt counties. One is from Redwood City and another, a shop favorite, is from the Sacramento area. Six vendors have been with them since they opened.

One vendor, who chose to identify herself only as “BP,” considers the store and her booth a rebellion against big box stores and internet shopping. The back wall of her space showcases framed paintings of various sizes, many of which depict horses or landscapes. She also has several unique lamps for sale, as well as chairs, pottery, statuary and mirrors.

“Being here is entertaining in its own way,” she said. “I don’t expect to get rich from my sales, but I really enjoy what I’m doing. I meet a lot of interesting people and once even sold a piece to a local museum.”

For folks moving into their first home or those looking to decorate or redecorate their current one, shopping at a store like Gin’Gilli’s is probably the best kept secret.

“The stuff they find here will be 10 times more interesting and a heck of a lot less expensive than they’ll find in a regular department store,” said BP.

At the “Previously Possessed” booth, set up by a Geyserville resident who majored in textiles in college and previously ran a division for Levi Strauss, visitors can find a combination of antiques and collectible kitchen and primitive items.

Burroughs says shoppers visit their store from all over the world.

“We had a couple from Scandinavia come in just last week. Another time, a gal from Japan, whose husband had business in San Francisco, came in because she had seen our information in ‘Romantic Homes’ magazine and fell in love with our pictures,” she said.

Holly Barber of Cloverdale works in Geyserville and is a frequent shopper. Most recently, she was in the store trying to find knobs for a newly purchased chest.

“I first discovered Gin’Gilli’s while attending the annual car show and I’ve been a steady customer since,” she said.

While a few out-of-town customers request certain items be shipped, others are more resourceful, opting instead to carry their purchases home in one of the vintage suitcases on display.

Prices throughout the store generally range from 25 cents for little metal pins or Scrabble tiles to $1,200 for a vintage stove. A 14-karat gold fleur-de-lis framed mirror from France sold for $2,799. A mid-century six-piece tumbler set and matching pitcher, each sitting in a woven wicker holder, was on sale for $38.

A seasoned vendor, who happens to have experience with a well-known auction house, once brought in a large mirror and placed a $900 price sticker on it. After doing a little more research, she discovered the piece was actually valued at $12,000. She immediately returned to correct her mistake.

Elgin, a former corporate sales trainer, and Burroughs, who has a background in banking and real estate, chose to open in Geyserville because they love the small-town, casual feel. It reminds them of the way parts of Sonoma County used to be: friendly and with no traffic.

Burroughs has always been budget-conscious and enjoyed painting, decorating and repurposing items around her home. In fact, she and her mom used to trade furniture to redecorate and give each other’s home a fresh look without breaking the bank.

She got her feet wet in the resale business by having a booth for five years at Shoffeitt’s off the Square in Healdsburg, a collective of vintage, antique and handcrafted treasures.

Wandering the aisles of Gin’Gilli’s is akin to visiting many different eras. There are handmade soaps, delicately crocheted metal jewelry, kitchenware, vintage toys, knickknacks, signs, old-time photographs, large wall clocks, furniture, horse bits, belt buckles, Amish needlework and more.

The sellers at “Sea Urchin Creations” have turned sea urchins into a host of decorative items. They are involved in a project dedicated to saving the kelp that is being destroyed by sea urchins.

Since 2010, Gin’Gilli’s has hosted two flea markets each summer. It originally started as a way to sell extras and garage sale items, like Beanie Babies and clothes.

“Now we have anywhere from 12-30 outdoor vendors each time, many of whom are incredible artisans, and we always have some really good junk,” Burroughs said.

The shop’s outdoor Junk Garden not only sports a variety of rescued plants, garden décor, rusty relics, birdbaths and fountains, it also features a selection of vintage windows and doors. To discover unique ways to repurpose old doors, check out the “ADooRable” section of Gin’Gilli’s page on pinterest.com.

Beginning Aug. 20, the women will offer at their store “Paint Made Easy” workshops at 11 a.m. on Tuesday mornings. Using Debi’s DIY Paints and CeCe Caldwell Chalk & Clay Paints, participants will learn to paint, distress, dry paint and wax. Cost for each two-hour class is $50. Participants should bring two wood pieces, each smaller than a breadbox, for their project. All paints and other supplies will be provided.

In the future, Burroughs hopes to add other kinds of classes, such as origami and stained glass.

Before heading to the store, at 21079 Geyserville Ave., shoppers be forewarned. Although Gin’Gilli’s is normally open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, posted signs indicate they may close early for “extreme heat and Warriors games.” If in doubt, call ahead to 707-857-3509.

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Visiting Geyserville?

If you’re planning to head to this north Sonoma County town, make sure to check out these other sites.

Bosworth & Son Hardware

Address: 21060 Geyserville Ave.

No visit to Geyserville would be complete without a stop at Bosworth & Son Hardware, a downtown fixture for more than a century. The family-owned retail business carries an array of western apparel for both adults and children, western jewelry, toys, boots and gift items.

History buffs will want to check out the newly added Geyserville Museum inside the store, where visitors can peruse the many artifacts on display, including personal journals, photos, yearbooks, and cemetery records.

Hours: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Thursday through Sunday.

Details: 707-857-3463; bosworthandson.com.

Locals and LocalsCreate

Address: 21023 Geyserville Ave.

Specializing in flight tastings, Locals features wines from 10 unique, award-winning wineries.

Taste from over 60 wines in side-by-side flights in a fun, informative and casual atmosphere. It is a great way to learn about some lesser known varietals and discover something new.

Shop while you sip at LocalsCreate. Located inside the tasting room, shoppers will discover an array of both local and vintage items, including menswear, womenswear, shoes, unique jewelry and handbags. New items arrive daily, so it pays to stop in regularly.

Hours: Open daily 11 a.m.-6 p.m.

Details: 707-857-4900; tastelocalwines.com; localscreate.com.

Dallas A. Saunders Artisan Textiles

Address: 275 Highway 128, Suite 101.

A destination fine art gallery and artisan textiles showroom, Dallas A. Saunders Artisan Textiles is located in a former prune packing plant. The gallery exhibits Belgian woven jacquard tapestries by internationally recognized artists.

Their home interiors fabric showroom is a direct importer of artisan woven fabrics from family-owned mills in Belgium, France, Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland. They design and print Belgian linen fabrics as decorative pillows and throws and custom sew decorative pillows, throws, bed covers and window treatments.

Hours: Open 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday-Sunday, weekdays by appointment.

Details: 707-706-9065; dallasasaunders.com.

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