Matoska Trading Company
You may have noticed a new business in town called Matoska Trading Company. They’ve been open for several months now and I most recently had the chance to go in and learn a little more about what they sell so I could share it with you, as I myself, was quite curious. If you haven’t seen their storefront, I’m sure you’ve perhaps smelled it because when their doors are open the distinct notes of Sage are wafting down the street.
The company was established in 1991 and the owners are Brent and Nancy Schellhase. I was hoping to meet with Brent to learn a little about him but he’s quite the busy bee, so I’ve got to give some props to Neil, one of his store associates who was kind enough to share some insight into the business with me, thank you Neil!
The first thing I wondered was…What does Matoska mean? Directly from their website is this: “The word “Matoska” is Lakota (Sioux) for “white bear.” Mato means “bear” and ska is the word for “white.” Our company was actually named after one of our dogs, a Great Pyrenees, who resembled a small, shaggy, white bear (well, small for a bear, but Matoska weighed over 100 pounds!).”
At Matoska, they specialize in selling craft supplies, like beads (they’ve got beads for miles). The business started out here in Orange by selling to Powwow’s, which are meet and greets that have both ceremonial and business purposes where people bring out and sell their creations. I checked this out on Wikipedia too for a few more details and learned that a modern pow-wow is a specific type of event where both Native American and non-Native American people meet to dance, sing, socialize, and honor American Indian culture.
Previously located on West Chapman (and originating out of a garage, like many businesses do), the owners have had their eye on Old Towne Orange for the last 10 to 12 years. They got lucky in their current location which is just near Gallery on Glassell because the owner of the building was looking for a different kind of tenant, not a restaurant or antique business, but something unique and perfect for OTO, which they most certainly found in Matoska.
It was bead sales that got them started, mostly seed beads and hair pipes. Now their main product is the sale of White Sage which is a type of plant commonly used for smudging ceremonies to get rid of bad energy…I admit to using the stuff myself in college during a period for that exact reason 😉
So far it sounds like business is going quite well, they get 4 times as much foot traffic as compared to their previous locale, which makes sense in OTO. Of course, they also have their regulars and all the other people that are just curious about what they’re selling in there. I took a bunch of photos so you can see some of their products…very interesting indeed. Be sure to stop by and visit if you have the chance!
They are located at 123 N Glassell Street in Old Towne Orange.