“Established 2032” reads a sign hanging above the entrance to Tenino Time Machine, a place where people can find many unique items they may, or may not, be searching for.
The futuristic phrase is one example of the fact that the business, located in the downtown corridor of the Stone City, allowed co-owners Deni Gieger and her husband Chris Hanson to be creative and fun in the way that they presented the store.
Gieger and Hanson first opened a store in Rainier, but eventually moved to Tenino. After the move they had to decide on a name for the store, and since a lot of their merchandise metaphorically takes people back in time, they decided that calling it the Tenino Time Machine would be the perfect name.
The owners are themselves a key attraction for the business and the driving force behind its unique collection of items for sale.
Many customers come to the business simply to talk to them and look at all of the unusual items in the store.
“‘Welcome to the Tenino Time Machine, where would you like to go?’” Gieger says as a greeting to some customers.
“I like to hear what the people’s responses are,” Gieger said. “Some say the 80s, and some will say, ‘When I was drinking a margarita on the beach.’”
Over the summer, the Time Machine moved locations from what Gieger and Hanson described as uptown to more of a downtown location. The new location opened July 24.
One of the more popular sections of the store is the prehistoric section full of dinosaur toys, puzzles, stickers and pictures for children. Kids coming into the Time Machine will likely receive a free plastic toy dinosaur from Gieger. They will also be able to touch some dinosaur fossils that Gieger has on display.
The Time Machine gets most of its merchandise through estate sales, the most recent of which contained eight storage units and a 40-foot container. They also purchase storage lockers at auctions as well as any unique items they can find anywhere else.
The two were inspired to open a store through popular television shows such as “Storage Wars” and “American Pickers.”
They had started buying storage units before they opened the store.
“You should have seen our house,” Gieger said.
The two like to have fun with their store, and that comes through in some of the displays, such as a mounted moose head with a top hat and a Tyrannosaurus Rex wearing welding goggles. This is also clear to their customers, some of whom Gieger and Hanson know by name.
“That’s our whole thing is to have fun. Oh yeah, and to sell things,” Gieger said. “But if you are not having fun selling things than you are not doing it right.”
Learn more about Tenino Time Machine on Facebook. Their products can also be found at www.ebay.com/str/teninotimemachine.