Shopping: Shop the world at the eclectic Silver Onions

Courtesy photo
 Fans of the ‘90s sitcom “Seinfeld” may remember the charismatic J. Peterman, the fictionalized founder of the (very real) J. Peterman Company, whose travels around the world yielded exotic merchandise accompanied by tales of adventure in its shopping catalogs. If that adventuresome character had opened a shop with his sister in Las Vegas, it would probably look very much like Silver Onions.

Last August, siblings Todd Hallenbeck and Noori Eells took on that challenge and opened Silver Onions at 5655 Centennial Center Blvd. The name, Hallenbeck said, was the product of much “excited discussion” between the two owners.

“We wanted a name that showed we had international product and product that was of good quality,” he said. “So ‘onion’ symbolizes the world, and the many different layers of languages and cultures we deal with, and the ‘silver’ represents the value, or the quality, that we try to achieve.”

Their store is an eclectic mix of furnishings, personal products, house wares and food items they’ve curated from the far reaches of the globe and our own backyard’s local and regional artisans.

“I was living in Thailand for a previous job and I kept seeing so many products and styles and fabrics and textiles that weren’t available in the U.S.,” Hallenbeck said. “I thought there was such an opportunity to bring in these high-value niche products.”

These products include things like a small, round box with what appear to be pins sticking up inside.

“Those come from a small village just on the Thai side of the border between Burma and Thailand,” Hallenbeck said. “A little man makes those. I met him one day in a market. He showed me these neat little herb grinders and I’ve been buying them from him ever since. We sold about 15 of them in two days right before Christmas.”

“This piece of jewelry comes from a designer who went to design school in San Francisco,” Eells said. “She then decided after years working as a graphic artist to take a risk and start the Cojoe jewelry line. She’s following her dream and we are excited to support her.”

Though they have done some advertising as well as maintaining the usual online and social media presence, the owners’ best publicity has been other customers.

“Word of mouth has been terrific,” Hallenbeck said. “We’ve been amazed at how many people say their friend was talking about us and told them to come down. That happens so often.”

Lovers interested in gifts outside of the roses-and-chocolates standard for Valentine’s Day should find something enticing at the store.

“We have a lot of things that might be considered a traditional gift, like custom jewelry and scented candles,” Hallenbeck said. “We also carry hand-loomed silk scarves, which are light enough (for) the
summer, and they’re very colorful and are a great accent.

“For the typical male, we’ve got handmade fudge. Every man that comes through the door goes right to that,” Hallenbeck continued. “We also have interesting cooking utensils as well.”

While some may think “international” equals “expensive,” Eells is quick to point out that purchasing quality products directly from local and international artisans helps to keep costs in line.

“My brother and I started the business because we enjoy quality things, and we both enjoy bringing these things to (the customer),” Eells said.

That’s a sentiment of which the fictional J. Peterman himself would have approved.

Published on bestoflasveags.com

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