Shop Offers Pirate's Plunder In Home Decor

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The thing that catches your attention when you walk into Buster Kittwhistle's Santa Fe Furnishings & Gifts is you don't know what to look at first.

It's like stumbling into a place filled with a pirate's plunder.

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Jacqui Gerhard relishes the comfort of the leather loveseat in Buster Kittwhistle's Santa Fe Furnishings & Gifts, and being surrounded by all the beautiful things the shop offers. She said a lot of her customers have enjoyed the loveseat too and they have sold quite a number of the pieces.

The shop, at 613 N. Beeline next to The Candle Factory in the Swiss Village Shops, is a treasure chest of home decor and gift items all jumbled together, creating a warm, cozy spot to wile away a winter's afternoon.

"It is something different for Payson," said Jacqui Gerhard, who owns and operates the shop with her husband, Bob. "We have art, unique gifts, beautiful things -- even western Asian vintage pieces."

The Gerhards opened Buster Kittwhistle's in June, not knowing exactly what it was going to become.

"We want to be a destination shop," Jacqui said.

Bob is an interior designer and hand-picks everything sold in the store.

"We both love beautiful things and wanted to get out of the city," Jacqui said. "We have never done anything like this."

The Gerhards both have backgrounds in advertising and Jacqui has also worked in public relations.

"Bob has wonderful skills. He can put anything together," she said.

In the short time they have been living this new adventure, Jacqui and Bob have had a chance to see both benefits and challenges of doing business in Payson.

"The people who have found us have become loyal customers," Jacqui said. "They're so friendly, but no nonsense. We're down to earth and our customers like that. They stop all the time. They might not buy something every time, but I always get a hug."

The art ranges from ceramics, like handmade porcelain angels and pottery imported from Spain to hand-blown glass works that are so delicate they might just float into the air at any moment. There are palette knife paintings by Payson Art League President Jan Hodson, Bob said, plus "very reasonably priced Patrick Meyer pewter."

There are throw pillows of assorted sizes and colors, including bead-embellished works from India, with matching lampshades; small, clay teapots from China; beaded bugs; dried and specially preserved flowers and greenery; and the list goes on and on.

Buster Kittwhistle's also carries authentic Soleri bells that sell for the same price as those that can be purchased at the famous studio. Bob said they have sold so well, the shop is one of the state's top retailers of the bells.

"We're an upscale gallery with furniture," Bob said. "It's a unique combination ... We know we're different from anything in Payson, but we're also hearing we're different from anything in Scottsdale and the rest of the Valley."

Jacqui said people can come in, find a few special accessories and give their home a whole new look.

"The home is supposed to be our sanctuary where we can relax and be around the things we love," she said.

Buster Kittwhistle's is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday. For more information, call (928) 474-2234.

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