Tina Cullison graduated from Auburn High School, married Justin Solmonsen 20 years ago, and has been living in Graham ever since. Her husband is an iron man, not the Ironman of comic book fame, but rather one of those high-rise fellows you may have seen doing handstands 40 or 50 stories up in the air while constructing the framework for a new Seattle skyscraper. He’s also the owner of Carbon River Archery, which makes bows and arrows from scratch. Given the popularity of “Hunger Games,” I would presume there’s currently a big demand for his products – and such an unusual and fascinating pursuit probably deserves a column of its own one of these days.
But our present concern is Tina. She’s an attractive and hospitable lady with a ready smile and effervescent personality. A few weeks ago, she took over the site and much of the inventory that was formerly City Perk and, in its place, opened The Parlor Room. Generally speaking, this is Tina’s first venture into the risky and shifting world of retail business. She’s received invaluable help and moral support from her sister-in-law, Sabrina, who’s had considerable experience in the retail field.
Tina has retained the espresso bar and I can attest to the fine vanilla lattes she makes. The pretty, glass-topped tables and comfortable chairs and surroundings are still there. She attracts local business owners and employees for morning and afternoon coffee and a number of City Hall workers drop by, including Mayor Liz Reynolds. Of course, to go with the coffee menu, Tina offers muffins and various pastries with the speciality being homemade cupcakes produced by local cupcake connoisseur, Stacy Loop.
Tina has installed a piano in the front of the store and anyone who’s skilled or vain enough is encouraged to play a tune or two. The other day, someone was doing so and several customers joined in a spontaneous sing-along.
However, whether you’re there for the coffee, friendly conversation or the piano recitals, you might take time to walk around the store. It’s quite a hodgepodge of odds and ends; everything from Christmas ornaments to hand lotions and lipstick. There are a number of potted plants, old milk cans and antique wood stoves scattered about. There’s nothing that’s an absolute necessity, like clothing or booze, and little in the way of food except for those exquisite cupcakes. Nevertheless, amid the clutter you just might find that ideal Christmas gift for that special someone.
The Parlor is open 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.
Drop by some afternoon and say hello.