Gina Earl loves antiques, and during all her years living in Tacoma, she collected them. She is also a potter accomplished in hand-built vessels and unusual finishes. Eventually her passions outgrew her home, and after dreaming of owning a shop for a decade, one day she just made a leap.
“If I don’t sell my house (in Tacoma) and get going, it will never happen,” she told herself. At the same time, while still working as a grant writer for the MultiCare Health System, she began to look for the perfect spot for her new life.
Earl found it in Burley, just next to the Burley Grocery Store. Friends she’s known for 30 years who now live on the Burley Lagoon, Bob Christel and Dewayne Grimes, had been looking at the building as a potential restaurant, decided against that, and mentioned it to Earl.
The building, zoned neighborhood commercial, had been many things in its life, beginning as a gas station in 1935; Earl couldn’t wait to transform it once again. She was still working in Tacoma when she first converted the garage into an espresso stand, a transition phase that would eventually become the shop she held in her imagination for so many years. Then she became seriously ill, had heart surgery and her dream seemed far beyond reach, both economically and physically.
Christel and Grimes stepped forward, purchased the property from her, then rented it back to her. “We are comfortable being ‘hands on’ owners,” Grimes said. “This has been Gina’s dream for a long time, and we want her to envision it as she sees it evolving. She’s creating a stir among people who know her.”
They see their decision as a way to help preserve the location, and note that Gig Harbor North is “creeping this way.” Although this round-about way of establishing “Moon on the Meadow” definitely is unusual, they all agree it has been an interesting chapter in their long friendship.
Earl’s shop, and the house she lives in next door with her two dogs and two cats, is painted bright yellow; both have red roofs, and the cheerful buildings can be seen from state Route 16. Volunteers help Earl with tasks she cannot yet do; that does not mean her enthusiasm for this new life has diminished. “I’ve never lived in the country before,” she says. “This little Burley area — it’s been here forever and I couldn’t ask for better neighbors. I feel like I’m actually part of a community.”
The shop is a cozy 750 or so square feet, and features a main antique/art salon and a doll room. An eclectic mix of Victorian furniture, Hummels and Franklin Mint collector plates greets visitors, along with art deco pieces and “One Hot Bag” one-of-a-kind purses. Earl plans to attend auctions to augment her stock of antiques and collectibles, and to bring in more local art. She also accepts artwork on consignment, and tries to make it affordable for artists to show their work. She has featured collaborative pastels by Ric Hall and Ron Schmitt, watercolors by Donna Fredenburg, and her own Raku pottery.
At the back of the shop, behind a door, is a small pottery kiln room. Earl accepts one or two students at a time who are interested in learning how to hand-build with clay; they work right in the shop, among the antiques, overseen by her Yorkie, Cinnamon.
“Moon on the Meadow” is located at 14938 Bethel-Burley Road, and has generous open hours.