By Bonnie Williamson
Photos by Josh Triggs
Treasured Finds, a unique store that literally is a treasure trove of objects from glassware to quilts to a wide assortment of other antiques, grew out of a lifetime of going to auctions to discover “treasured finds” and creating those finds as well. The store, located at 1754 Rock Cliff Drive in Martinsburg, is a new venture for its proprietor, Gina Walters.
“We’re not a boutique. We have a little bit of everything,” says Walters. “In the past, people have had to go to Frederick or Winchester to find items like we have here. Why should they have to travel? Our area should have something to offer.”
Walters’ store used to be part of her husband Robert’s professional plumbing and heating business. “He started clearing out the space. I have been collecting items for years. I’ve always had a good eye for antiques,” she says, smiling. “We decided to create a store to house our collectibles and offer them to others. We are doing this for fun, not to make a fortune.”
Treasured Finds opened in September, which customers can find when they spy its purple fence. Once inside, there is plenty to see. Her husband made the counter from barn boards found in the attic of the property. Friends made the curtains. There’s an interesting assortment of armoires filled with such items as Depression glass and carnival glass.
“I had lots of American Fostoria glassware. Brought some of it to the store to share with others. Fostoria is considered elegant glassware from high quality glass,” Walters says.
There are two antique sewing machines, which still work. Walters has glass Pepsi bottles along with other pop bottles with boxes to go along with them. There are also old fashioned milk cans.
Walters even has an elk skull she plans to paint. She also decorated a small antique table with yardsticks.
“I have a coal miner’s lunch box from a coal mine in Beckley, W.Va. along with a coal miner’s slide. It’s kind of like a sled the miners used to move around,” Walters says.
Sleds themselves are a very popular item. Walters says she had about ten sleds in the store, but they sold almost immediately. She is planning a paint night class to decorate sleds.
“If people wanted me to paint the sleds with designs that they wanted, I could do that. Then I decided to give people the opportunity to design their own sleds and other things, too,” she says.
Walters devised Paint Day/Night where customers can arrange to have a go at making their own creations.
“For $100, we provide the supplies they need. They can bring their own beverages, and I will have food catered. We also have a popcorn machine right in the shop,” she says.
Walters and her husband continue to travel to auctions and other antique stores for new items for the shop. “We go all over the area. It helps clear our heads and makes us appreciate our time together,” she says.
She adds you never know what you’ll find. She recently found a little Labrador retriever she thought was a bell. She was told by a customer it was actually a shot glass. “People tell me what they want, and I’ll go looking for it. I learn so much from people who come into the store. They tell me the history behind many of the items here.
Things bring back memories for people. That’s what we do, bring smiles and good memories.” Walters says she also enjoys teaching people different craft techniques.
“If we don’t teach this kind of handiwork, it’s going to be lost,” she says.
Walters is a life-long resident of the area. An only child, Walters’ grandmother Goldie Smith got her started in experimenting with arts and crafts. She learned how to crochet.
“My grandmother gave me crochet needles, told me to read everything I could about it. I went to children’s classes and learned how to make a crochet bookworm. I was always an avid reader so the bookworm made sense. I eventually made an afghan for my grandmother. I always want to challenge myself so I kept trying to make different things,” she says. Walters’ challenges became part of her professional and personal life.
She began working as a receptionist at Millers Electric Company, Inc. in 1989. The company was started in 1958 by her future father-in-law Doug Miller. She began dating Miller’s son Robert. They worked side by side and eventually married. She and her husband took over the company in 1993.
When her husband passed away suddenly in 2013, Walters learned the company had been left to her. She furthered her education. One of her degrees is a Master’s in strategic leadership. She decided to accept the challenge of running the company, and she loves coming to work and working with her employees. She had been working with her current husband on and off over the years. Bob Walters came into the picture and has helped her work toward her goals every day he is by her side. He eventually moved his business into the Millers Electric Building at 113 Tavern Road, Martinsburg. He stood by her and convinced her she could succeed.
Walters says she also received a tremendous amount of support from the company’s 17 employees. Walters continues to work long hours at Millers Electric. She says she enjoys the work.
“But I needed an outlet from work. That’s Treasured Finds,” she says. Treasured Finds currently has two part-time employees. It’s open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday and from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Walters says she wants to stay open one evening during the week. The hours are subject to change.
For more information, visit Treasured Finds on Facebook or call 304-262-FIND.