Sumner store reveals owner’s love, passion for creating beautiful art

Kathi Gard didn’t leave her heart in the San Francisco Bay area -- she brought it with her to the Pacific Northwest after moving here 32 years ago. Today, she puts that heart into every piece of jewelry she creates for her new Sumner business, Maggie Mae’s Jewelry and Gifts.

Kathi Gard didn’t leave her heart in the San Francisco Bay area — she brought it with her to the Pacific Northwest after moving here 32 years ago. Today, she puts that heart into every piece of jewelry she creates for her new Sumner business, Maggie Mae’s Jewelry and Gifts.

Gard’s love of dressing up fashion by creating works of art began at the age of 16.

“I wanted to be creative,” she said.

News of her talent spread quickly and she soon worked with leather, flowers and plants. “I sold my work to co-workers, at craft shows and to stores,” she said. “Jewelry then went on the wayside so I packed up all my findings and beads and moved.”

While hobby interests changed in the coming years, Gard never closed the clasp of wanting to create more designs and in 1984 she picked up the hobby once again.

She applied Swaroski crystals from Austria and used metal stamping to create unique pieces. Once word of her designs spread throughout the Kent region – she sold her works at the Kent Saturday Market – she decided to supply beads to the public through her own Kent retail bead store on First Avenue. She closed the store last summer because she said she wanted to retire.

“I didn’t like being retired – it lasted two months,” she said. “I just love keeping busy!”

She opened Maggie Mae’s Jewelry and Gifts in mid-October.

“The whole idea was to do something fun and unique for downtown Sumner,” she said.

The namesakes for her business come from Mae, her grandma, and Margaret, her mother’s middle name and Gard’s confirmation name.

“I just wanted something different,” she said.

Along her journey she hired longtime customer Cheryl Wolfram. Together with one more jewelry designer, the three are able to make one-of-a-kind beaded bracelets, necklaces, brooches, earrings and even Valentine’s Day key chains for an eclectic range of customers.

Each woman delivers their own individual styles. Yet their craftsmanship delivers consistency with style and beauty.

A favorite supply of Gard’s is her use of vintage Lucite from the 1930s and ‘40s, she said.

She came across a supplier who had discovered a warehouse of the original pieces. Today she incorporates them into colorful finished products.

“You can wear clunkly without it being heavy,” Wolfram said. Some of her vintage designs include Lucite flowers mixed with small beads and filligree.

Those designs compliment Maggie Mae’s other products, some of which include a wide selection of jewelry dolls.

“The bridal jewelry dolls are very popular,” Gard said. “Brides come in here to buy them for their bridesmaids,” she said. Other designs include a black formal and one with Marilyn Monroe from a scene in the movie “Some Like it Hot.”

Other customer favorites are the silk and beaded shawls, which sell well, she said.

Both Gard and Wolfram said some of the best parts of working from the Sumner location are the customers and the ambiance of the shop.

“It’s imtimate and cozy,” Wolfram said. “We want the customers to feel that when they come in, they can walk in and feel like they’ve entered a different (world.)”

And those customers keep coming, despite the economic dip.

“I have a customer e-mail list with 2,500 names,” Gard said. “When you open a business (in a bad economy) you have to be very conservative in how you promote; you have to be careful what you buy. You’ll learn from the beginning to tighten the reins. But in a good economy, you might be a little more frivolous in your buying.”

“She’s had good business habits to start with,” Wolfram said.

Those business habits have led Gard to keep a steady pace of sales.

“We’ve sold 170 pieces of jewelry in two months,” Gard said.

She and Wolfram said the store is a perfect place to find quality-made jewelry and gifts and works especially well for girlfriend days – when women seek a slower pace of life with each other by having lunch downtown and shopping unhurried in stores such as Maggie Mae’s.

“We like to put smiles on peoples’ faces,” Wolfram said.

Maggie Mae’s Jewelry and Gifts is located at 1113 Main St. in Sumner and can be reached at 253-826-0499.

It is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

Reach Judy Halone at jhalone@courierherald.com or 360-802-8210.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@courierherald.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.courierherald.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 500 words or less.

More in Business

2020 Dodge Charger Hellcat SRT. Courtesy photo
2020 Dodge Charger Hellcat SRT | Car review

OK folks, buckle your seatbelts. This week’s tester is the 2020 Dodge… Continue reading

BMW X3 xDrive 30e. Courtesy photo
BMW X3 xDrive 30e | Car review

With forces like BMW pushing, it’s only a matter of time before… Continue reading

Congresswoman Schrier to host Zoom meeting for local businesses

You must first register for the July 20 event to get the Zoom link.

‘Lights out’ in Seattle in 2022 | Don Brunell

Seattle’s tax increases on businesses may make the one-proud city a ghost town.

MultiCare makes plans to come to Black Diamond

The Diamond Square complex is also looking for other local businesses to move in.

24 Hour Fitness to close clubs in Kent, Auburn, Renton

Panther Lake Kent location scheduled to reopen next month

China’s push for high-tech dominance

The country’s control of rare earth metals will give it a key advantage in this fight.

Westfield Southcenter Mall to reopen June 15

Modified hours; safety protocols

Enumclaw High students earn state FFA honors

Together, these eight students have completed a combined 2,880 hours of classroom instruction and 2,400 hours of work on their Supervised Agricultural Experience projects.

Goodwill to reopen donation centers, stores in King, Pierce counties

Including Kent, Auburn, Federal Way locations

Sound Publishing offering matching advertisement grants

Your local paper is offering $200,000 in matching grants so local businesses can stretch their advertising budgets.