If you’ve ever driven down S. Broad Street in the afternoon, chances are you’ve noticed the colorful little building at the corner of Broad and Belvidere, where as many as a dozen flags wave in the wind, and the storefront is filled with vivid signs and seasonal merchandise.
This lively place is Barbara’s Treasures, and right next door, indicated by the bright pink sign, is . Both businesses are family-owned and operated by resident Barbara Saslo and her parents.
Barbara’s Treasures is best summed up as "a very eclectic store,” according to Saslo.
The store sells (ready?) jewelry, wind chimes, lace accessories, mugs, artisan pastas, spice mixes, hot dip mixes, lotions, soaps, home décor, tote bags… and a whole lot more.
Walking into Barbara’s Treasures is like stepping into a tight bazaar with walls. The place isn’t very big, but it is jam-packed with enough merchandise to catch any consumer’s eye.
“We are the last true gift store in town,” Saslo said.
The most popular sale items are flags and banners, which are always changing with the seasons and holidays.
Barbara’s Treasures carries five different catalogs for customers to choose from, and has no problem with special orders.
Another major sale item is the lace accessories, which come in 27 different designs. They include table runners, place mats and doilies, among others.
Saslo's vendors come from all over, but many are close to home; merchandise comes from as close as Bangor, Bushkill, Quakertown and even Nazareth.
Area artists feature their work in the store on a commission basis, which includes hand-crafted birdhouses, stained glass, jewelry and ceramics.
All Decked Out, which is housed in the same building and links to Barbara’s Treasures inside, sells special-order outdoor furniture from Casual Line, which is shipped in from Orlando, Florida.
“Our furniture is not cheap,” Saslo admitted, “but it’ll last forever.” She explains that she has had her own patio set outside year-round since 1993, and has only ever had to replace the cushions. In fact, the business is set up in such a way that customers need only buy furniture once; after that, they can accessorize and replace cushions according to taste or season. The custom, rain-proof cushions are available for any make or model of furniture.
All Decked Out opened in 1991, a block down from its current Broad Street location. In 2008, it was purchased by Saslo, and then in July 2010, the business was moved to the corner of Broad and Belvidere, and Barbara’s Treasures was opened in the adjacent storefront.
The building that houses both businesses is owned by Saslo’s parents, and is the former publishing headquarters of O-Gauge Railroading magazine, a periodical that Saslo and her parents published for 17 years. In 2002, O-Gauge was sold to employees. It is still published and distributed from Ohio.
“I wanted to branch out on my own,” said Saslo, regarding the switch from publishing to store ownership.
In this economy, many small businesses are facing hardships, but not Saslo. She keeps statistics on everything that comes and goes from both businesses, and explained that things have actually improved since the previous year.
“Before the move, it was very stressful,” Saslo said. “Since the move, it’s been amazing. We’ve doubled our foot-traffic [since this time last year].”
Three or four times a year, Barbara’s Treasures holds tasting events, which are hosted by area charities like the Nazareth Area Food Bank and the American Cancer Society. During the event, customers pay a $5 cover charge at the door, which goes to the host charity. Inside waits an all-you-can-taste buffet of food items that are available for purchase from Barbara’s. Each spread usually consists of 10 to 15 items. Recipe cards are also made available to show the versatility of the foods sold.
Saslo’s newest endeavor in merchandise is a series of Nazareth souvenirs, inspired by handmade gifts that she purchased in Europe. She is in the process of creating a line of tote bags, mugs, and earthenware, among other things, that will bear the Nazareth name and rose emblem. Look for it by the end of May.
Barbara’s Treasures and All Decked Out are open Tuesday through Saturday, and are closed Sunday and Monday. The website, barbarastreasures.com, is currently under construction but should be completed by the end of April.