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Treasure hunting in Puyallup

Finding unique things downtown

Many treasures can be found at Victoria Sells Antiques. Photo credit: Allegra Antwine

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Countless treasures are what one can expect to find while browsing the plethora of quaint shops in Historical Downtown Puyallup's Antique District. Whether lining shelves or lying in wait behind glass display cabinets, objects beckon for patron appreciation; each item has a story to tell.         

There are six shops that comprise the Antique District, all brimming with eclectic finds suited for various tastes and interests. Victoria Sells Antiques rests on the corner of South Meridian, its grand windows luring in shoppers with displays of Polish pottery, rustic wooden hutches and Pacific stoneware.

Once inside, the 10,000-square-foot building hums with the activity of roughly 100 vendors, each offering great finds ranging from elaborate costume jewelry to Native American relics. A true collector's paradise, Victoria Sells has something for everyone: autographed movie posters from the Twilight Saga, Star Trek: The Next Generation trading cards and an endless selection of porcelain dolls.

Amid the shelves upon shelves of multi-colored Depression-era glassware, a customer reflects nostalgically, "There are things in here that take me back to my childhood - fond memories of (my) grandma and grandpa's house."

It's easy to see why the merchandise teleports people back in time, as collections of tin trains, Beach Boy records and vintage photography equipment are plentiful in the two-story building. For those who collect military memorabilia, meritorious service medals and old Civil War cannon replicas can be found here as well.

A few doors down, Pioneer Antiques and Accrete Lighting draws people in with the luminous glow of numerous lighting fixtures in all shapes, sizes and variety. Among the pretty chandeliers and oil lamps, plenty of aged Puyallup Fair memorabilia lines the walls, depicting wholesome family fun from decades ago.

For interactive shopping, Just a Memory encourages its patrons to test out the merchandise by actually playing the restored jukeboxes, pinball and slot machines. Trekkies will be overjoyed at the sight of an original Star Trek pinball game, which sits beside the patriotic themed Bally Freedom machine. With a vibrant red, white and blue display, the pictures of George Washington and Uncle Sam inspire American Pride while playing one of the most beloved arcade games of all time.

A couple of streets over sits the 15,000-square-foot 3rd Street Antique Mall, which has over 60 vendors and boasts being the largest business in Puyallup's Antique District. With a current nomination for the 2015 Best of Western Washington award, this store epitomizes what it means to be a true antique store, and could be considered a haven for collectors and enthusiasts alike.

Star Wars, Masters of the Universe and Lord of the Rings action figures rest in their original packaging, displayed neatly for buyers to observe once they make their way up to the vast second story. A matchbox car lover's paradise awaits just around the corner, three walls dedicated to the pristine presentation of the pocket-sized vehicles in an endless selection of color, make and model. Additionally, the record selection in this store eclipses that of the others, with a great deal of vinyl to sift through.

Interesting and uncommon goods are scattered around the huge store: old Wheaties boxes, Disney memorabilia and Pez dispensers share space with beer steins, Betty Boop merchandise, and metal lunch boxes with iconic figures printed on them. Military uniform patches, aged issues of Sports Illustrated, and a rather impressive collection of cast iron cookware can be found downstairs.

After browsing the inviting stores of Downtown Puyallup's Antique District, one is left with the invigorating feeling that they've witnessed parts of history unfold. Objects from decades past wear dust and nostalgia, reiterating the old adage that one person's trash truly is another person's treasure.

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