Entrance & Middle: Pamela Barclay finds magic in proudly owning, working Wonders of the World

Pamela Barclay has been working a museum the place all the pieces is on the market for almost 30 years.

In 1992, Barclay based Wonders of the World, a world import store within the historic Flour Mill at 621 W. Mallon Ave., Suite 412. The store accommodates a large, eclectic assortment of knickknack, artifacts, sculptures, fossils and minerals.

A few of these one-of-a-kind objects embody Annie, a 50,000-year-old cave bear skeleton, and Sherman, a life-size reproduction of a T-Rex cranium.

Barclay expanded Wonders of the World in 2003 to incorporate a bead store throughout the corridor from the primary retailer. The store has an intensive number of beads, incense and aromatherapy merchandise.

“(Wonders of the World) has been the enjoyment of my life. Not counting my household – my household are the at the start of my life,” Barclay mentioned. “However when you put it by way of belongings you try this make you content – I completely adore all the pieces there may be about Wonders of the World.”

Out of the company world

Barclay was born and raised in Phoenix. She married and moved to Spokane in 1973. Barclay, who has two kids, was a homemaker till about 1986. After Barclay and her husband separated, she obtained employment with Weight Watchers, a Heinz Corp. subsidiary on the time, the place she rose via the ranks of the corporate to turn into normal supervisor for an 11-state area.

The late Sandi Ashton, Barclay’s mom, was an completed Phoenix-based artist who bought hundreds of work on the top of her profession. Within the Seventies, Ashton opened Carl’s Gems and Minerals, which bought jewellery, fossils and minerals. Barclay would usually trip in Phoenix and work alongside her mom on the store.

“I found that I cherished it,” Barclay mentioned. “I completely cherished her work.

“In the meantime, I regularly found that the company I used to be working for was downsizing in 1988. My job was eradicated, and I used to be sidelined,” she added.

Barclay inquired a couple of severance bundle from the corporate.

“It was my success that they went to the vice chairman of human sources, who mentioned, ‘six months severance pay and all her inventory choices,’ which had been price sufficient cash to start out this enterprise with out debt,” she mentioned, referring to Wonders of the World.

Previous to Barclay’s departure from Weight Watchers, the corporate paid for her to finish a bachelor’s diploma in communications at Whitworth School, now Whitworth College.

The corporate additionally offered Barclay with the chance to study the monetary expertise wanted to open a enterprise.

“I needed to be taught tips on how to learn a profit-loss assertion as a way to turn into what I grew to become with the company. Nonetheless, I used to be taught by an accountant,” she mentioned. “I discovered loads in the course of the company years, and all that company coaching was in my head and out there to me after I began Wonders of the World.”

She based Wonders of the World with enterprise accomplice David DeGraff in 1992. Barclay later purchased out DeGraff, and he left the enterprise in 1996.

Wonders of the World underwent an growth that 12 months. Barclay had additionally briefly operated Creature Comforts in an area throughout the hallway from Wonders of the World.

“It was all about issues that characterize animals, however it was not profitable,” she mentioned. “It’s the one factor I’ve ever accomplished that sort of flunked and someday, one among my managers mentioned, ‘Let’s simply transfer all of the beads over there,’ and we moved the bead store over and it has been dynamite.”

When Barclay relocated the bead store, Wonders of the World grew to become two separate areas once more, spanning a mixed 2,600 sq. toes.

“There’s solely two locations now that I do know of in Spokane that promote beads,” Barclay mentioned. “We at the moment are the go-to web site for beads and likewise for incense, and all the issues associated to that specific market.”

Discovering a hidden gem

Within the store’s early days, Barclay traveled to Bali in Indonesia, the place she procured “container masses” of Balinese artwork.

“At the moment, it was extraordinarily common,” she mentioned. “So, I used to be profitable in these sorts of purchases.”

Now, Barclay finds a overwhelming majority of the store’s objects by way of catalogs or wholesale gem and mineral exhibits, that are usually held twice a 12 months.

“There’s an excellent large, large Tucson gem and mineral present the place I purchase jewellery, minerals, fossils, crystals and quite a few different kinds of artifacts,” she mentioned.

Barclay and Andrea Broemmeling, normal supervisor of the store, additionally attend commerce exhibits, though that has slowed in the course of the pandemic.

“We don’t plan to go to these however each two years,” Barclay mentioned. “They’re extraordinarily demanding, and it’s important to wander via an terrible lot of stuff that you simply’re not taken with in any respect as a way to discover something you’re (taken with). Whereas the gem and mineral exhibits are like heaven. They’re so unbelievable. I’ve gone to the Tucson gem and mineral present for 13 years.”

Uncommon, distinctive and great

Wonders of the World rapidly gained recognition amongst Spokane-area residents and guests for its distinctive and fascinating objects.

“They had been impressed with the truth that we had issues no one had ever seen earlier than – the uncommon, distinctive and great,” Barclay mentioned. “In 1997, I bought Annie, the cave bear, and put her within the window. No one in Spokane had ever heard of a cave bear or seen a prehistoric creature.”

Barclay additionally featured Native American artifacts from her mom’s store in Phoenix.

“I bought something that I preferred myself or thought can be fascinating, and folks on this city gravitated to it,” Barclay mentioned. “I’ve usually mentioned that I’m the perfect saved secret within the metropolis, as a result of a couple of third of the individuals who are available have by no means been in earlier than.”

Barclay’s private favourite gemstone is rutilated quartz.

“It’s attractive. It has a gold shimmer to it, and I adore it as a result of it symbolizes multitasking,” she mentioned. “All of the stones have symbolism, and that specific stone represents how I must be as a way to achieve success.”

Wonders of the World has 12 workers, a few of whom have been working on the store for a number of years, Barclay mentioned.

“My best reward is the those that I’ve,” Barclay mentioned, referring to her workers. “I deal with them with love. I run the store with love. Love is the middle of all the pieces in my enterprise.”

Recognition in the course of the pandemic

Wonders of the World, like many different retailers, needed to quickly shut due to the pandemic final 12 months. Nonetheless, gross sales skyrocketed after the state lifted stay-home restrictions, permitting the store to reopen, Barclay mentioned.

“In case you have a look at Wonders of the World, it’s leisure,” she mentioned. “You may go and see a fossil that’s 400 million years outdated. You may go and take your youngsters and there’s toys for them. The perfect factor I ever did was get the toy part. Or when you love fantasy, we’ve bought fairies, elves and gnomes.”

Jewellery and beads had been among the many extra common objects in the course of the pandemic, with clients trying to deal with themselves or work on beading initiatives whereas spending extra time at residence, Barclay mentioned.

“We’re so grateful to get to come back again, and we’ve had an unbelievable response. I’m conscious that may decelerate as soon as we lastly grasp COVID and that we would see this peak after which a valley,” she mentioned. “I don’t fear about it as a result of the place is profitable and worthwhile at no matter degree it’s functioning.”

A artistic calling

Barclay, 77, usually works 4 days every week at Wonders of the World.

When Barclay isn’t on the store, she enjoys gardening.

“All spring, summer time and fall, I’ll spend no matter time I can tending my backyard, and it’s all flowers,” she mentioned. “So, that’s the opposite factor I try this makes my coronary heart sing. I’ve accomplished issues like write poetry. My mom lived with me for 10 years, and we wrote poetry collectively earlier than she died.”

Barclay additionally likes to spend time along with her grandchildren.

“All of them dwell inside a number of miles, and I like that,” she mentioned.

Barclay mentioned she discovered her calling at Wonders of the World and that’s what retains her enterprise going.

“It’s ardour for what I do. Ardour for having happy clients and interacting with my workers. Ardour for the product. I like shopping for it. I like ordering it,” she mentioned. “I don’t know the place that got here from, besides it’s part of me and I fell into it and knew virtually immediately – even within the very starting of that tiny little 699-square-foot store – that I had come residence and the larger it bought, the higher I preferred it.”

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