From the outside looking in, Cindi Baca’s North Third Treasure Hunt shop doesn’t appear much different than any other of the businesses it shares the street with in downtown Oakdale. Showcased antiques in the windows, interesting and unique trinkets throughout the shop … and then there are paint cans.
The uniqueness of the shop owner’s 130 N. Third Ave. location is both obvious and discreet. The obvious would be the designated paint space where she houses a full array of CeCe Caldwell’s Paints. The all natural chalk- and clay-based paint offers a number of benefits which made the product appealing to Baca. CeCe Caldwell’s are water based, no solvent, no VOC, odor free paints offered in a variety of colors. While the product is available for consumers at $36 a quart, it is the expertise and instruction Baca offers that one might not expect.
“We do everything by hand,” Baca said of the furniture refinishing classes she has started. “Teaching people is so therapeutic. This is supposed to be your stress free time.”
Shortly after becoming a distributor of the exclusive paint product, the shop owner decided to expand the opportunity and teach the skill she was using to ‘revamp’ so many of the older pieces she features. Customers are encouraged to bring in a piece they would like to revamp or add color to. For a $60 fee they are treated to a two and a half hour lesson which includes paint product, brushes, and all they need to finish the piece before they leave. Baca has also done kitchen cabinetry for home owners in search of a fresh kitchen look.
“A lot of times they want me to teach them how to do it,” she said of the kitchen makeovers. “I always tell them, hon … do a piece of furniture first.”
An additional benefit to the colorful product is that as a chalk/clay based product it can indeed be written on and used to produce chalkboard pieces.
“It’s a great product,” Baca shared. “It’s safe for your children. You can basically make a chalkboard out of anything.”
The most popular color for the distributor is Vintage White. She shared the ‘Shabby Chic’ trend is still popular especially in the way of furniture pieces.
“We do a lot of kitchen tables,” she said, adding that she often encourages clients to paint the coordinating chairs a ‘fun’ color to accent the Vintage White table.
The painting workshop area however, is hardly the cornerstone of the shop keeper’s business. The classes are taught in the middle of her space, which houses 25 varying vendors. From depression glass, antique radios, jewelry, inspirational signs to mirrors ... the eye cannot get bored at Treasure Hunt.
An additional and unique unknown is who many of the vendors are.
“I’m not a large consigner,” Baca said. “Mostly I offer rented space, aside from the seniors. They don’t have to do anything (she said of vendors) but come and work their spot.”
I don’t even charge them rent,” she said of the senior crafters displaying goods in the shop. “There are so many seniors in our community that do arts and crafts.”
The ‘seniors’ she speaks of are people she met in her previous role as a property manager. Some first approached her with pieces or trinkets to sell as they downsized, while others had handiwork in need of a home.
The kindness and giving nature of the business owner is unmistakable as she speaks of her senior clients.
“They do beautiful work,” she said, “just really beautiful. They are really talented. I have one lady that does beautiful aprons, table runners, crayon bags for kids. Then another who does hand painted pieces for a wonderful price… wreaths… flowers.”
Seamstress Ruby Abel of Material Things, has been with Baca since she opened her doors in June of 2012.
“She’s a real talent,” Baca said of Abel’s aprons, table runners and custom pillows. “I told her burlap is in, you need to make some burlap pillows. So she started making burlap pillows and table runners. She’s such a seamstress, she even put a zipper in the pillows.”
Ultimately the business owner maintains a focus and ensures there is little if any repetition among her 25 vendors.
“Oakdale is just a really special town,” Baca summarized. “I’m really grateful to be able to do what I do and keep our doors open to service both our vendors and the community.”
For information regarding painting classes or contact information for shop vendors call 848-1110.