Things Celtic - 20 Years Serving The Celtic Community of Central Texas
In 2017, Things Celtic is very happy to be celebrating our 20th year of being in business! Over those years, we have worked diligently to promote Celtic culture and bring you the finest gifts from Celtic nations, as well as from artists here in the United States. We’ve made many friends, laughed a lot, and created many happy memories. Let us tell you a little bit about how Things Celtic came to be…….
Things Celtic began in 1997, as a very small business operating primarily at local festivals and craft fairs. By 1999, the lease was signed on the first shop location on Lamar Boulevard in Austin. The small shop (900 sq. feet) was an immediate success, with a focus on imported jewelry from Ireland and Scotland, as well as other Celtic art pieces. Within a few months Lanora Davidson was able to leave her job working for the University of Texas, and the store became her career. Soon after that, the size of the shop was doubled when Things Celtic signed a lease on the vacant space next to the existing shop.
That first location was great in many respects. It was located in the heart of one of the trendiest downtown neighborhoods, with forty thousand cars driving by every day, and an already nicely finished-out interior. But the drawbacks were a very small window frontage, small signage, and a creek outside the back door, which tended to flood every few years. In fact, a major flood nearly destroyed Things Celtic in 2001.
On Nov. 15th, 2001 - a day of record breaking severe storms - over three feet of water and muck poured into Things Celtic. Many store displays and most of the merchandise were damaged or destroyed. Fortunately, Donnelle McKaskle (founder of The Celtic Cultural Center here in central Texas) put out a call for help. Many members of the Austin Celtic Association, Austin Gaelic League, Texas Highlanders, and local Celtic musicians soon showed up with buckets and mops, ready to help! By the end of the month, the store was again open for business. Things Celtic could not have survived without the help and support of the Celtic community here in Austin. For that, we will always be grateful.
Soon after that flood, we began to search for a new location. In 2003, Things Celtic moved to our current location on West 35th Street. Although the building needed extensive remodeling, the decision to move was the right one. We now have more parking for our customers, a better store layout, spacious front window, and a small garden space with a stage for special events. The merchandise has expanded to include kilt sales and rentals, fine jewelry and wedding rings, and imported candy and snacks. We can also help customers book vacations to Ireland, Scotland, and Wales through CIE Tours, and have occasionally organized tours hosted by Things Celtic. Lanora is now a member of the Board of Directors of the North American Celtic Trade Association (NACTA). Through her work with NACTA, she helps to bring quality goods to the United States, and networks with Celtic shop owners all over the country.
The business has grown into being more than a simple gift shop. We also host special events, such as musical performances and book signings. We sell CDs from our talented local musicians, proudly sponsor the Highland Games at the Austin Celtic Festival, and regularly support local charities. Things Celtic is also proud to sponsor programming on our local PBS station. Customers can order merchandise from our website, and we share store news as well as upcoming Celtic events in Central Texas through our monthly newsletter. In addition to our location at 1806 West 35th St., we can also be found as a regular vendor at Sherwood Forest Faire, where we primarily sell kilts and accessories. None of our success as a small business would be possible without the continued support of our customers and the local Celtic community. Thank you, sincerely, for all your support and ongoing patronage.
Lanora Davidson, Owner
..and the Things Celtic Team: Kimberly, Melisa, Wyndham, Sam, Faith, Stephen, Robert