Inspired By River Queen Handmade & Collectibles
In the friendly little town of Guerneville deep in the Russian River sits a sweet little shop where the spirit of the community shines. River Queen Handmade and Collectibles sits right next to the 76 gas station on Main Street. It offers the community and visitors alike the chance to find unique, one of a kind treasures and a friendly chat to go with them.
How it began...
Jilla Gauthier used to take leisurely drives through the Russian River area and right out to the Pacific Coast from Healdsburg for years. She loved the community here in Guerneville and longed to be a part of it. Then the winter of 2014 came and the time was right so Jilla bought a home in our charming little town, loaded up her belongings and moved to the Russian River. It wasn't long before a local shop in town, Sharon's Vintage Emporium, became available. Sharon Sprinkle had decided to sell her shop and everything in it. Jilla was faced with a decision...in the end, she decided to buy the shop and create a place where local artisans could feature their creations and she could meet people from all over the globe and every walk of life. In the spring of 2015 Jilla opened the River Queen Handmade & Collectibles; named after the boat that used to sail up and down the Russian River..
River Queen has three different inspirational elements to it. The first is that Jilla and her daughter Geena not only work in harmony assisting guests and expressing genuine interest in their needs, but they also add their own creative aspects to the store with their own handmade items sprinkled among the shelve. Jilla makes natural wood wine stoppers that radiate the feel of the redwoods and her daughter Geena creates modern and unique jewelry with rare elements that she has collected. These two have put their hearts, thoughts, and time into the River Queen and it is glorious to witness such a thing in our community.The second element they offer is handmade products from local artisans such as handmade soaps, jewelry, handmade locally designed clothing and accessories, and locally made wine barrel furniture. Members of the community are expressing themselves everyday in this shop and visitors just can't get enough of it. The last element is that they offer antiques and collectibles that are great little treasures for anyone visiting or living in the Russian River. "I have had people from all over the world show up in here..." Jilla remarked. "...and I love to ask them where they are from...It's very very interesting the walks of life that come through here and I really enjoy that. What sets my shop apart from other places is that I carry unique and different things that none of the other stores carry in town..
"I don't carry anything that would compete with the other shops.
I don't carry stained glass because of Glass Images and I don't carry vintage clothing because of Seconds First. I love every little store and shop that I have visited here."~Jilla Gauthier
The Russian River Community
I asked these two women what other places in town they liked to visit besides the River Queen and they both started listing all the shops in Guerneville. Everything from art galleries to restaurants and they didn't stop there! When asked what aspects of the Russian River inspire them they both said the Redwoods.
"I think everyone here in town...we are all of like mind. We all have the same reason why we are here. We like the lifestyle; we like the trees. We like the area, we are all very eclectic in our ways."~Jilla Gauthier
It was clear to me that this community had quickly become their home and that the sand of the Russian River had worked its way into their hearts. Their prediction is that the community will continue to grow in its artistic qualities even though as Geena put it: we are already a "weird artistic melting pot." This was by far one of my favorite descriptions of the Russian River!
Jilla's Message To Visitors
I asked Jilla if she had any advice for someone coming out to the Russian River to visit and this is what she said...
"Put on your walking shoes and be prepared to see some amazing sights and an amazing small town community!"~Jilla Gauthier