Parker’s Indian Trading Post: Far More Than Just A Souvenir Shop
(PICTURED ABOVE: Owner Doreen Anderson with the popular Yogi Bear statue outside Parker’s Indian Trading Post)
The shop is one of the longest standing businesses in the Cook Forest area.
Parker’s Indian Trading Post first opened in 1954 in a log cabin building just west of the current business. It has remained a landmark business in the area ever since, according to owner Doreen Anderson.
“A lot of people come here that have been coming here for three, four, even five generations, and they keep coming back,” Anderson told exploreClarion.com.
“They tell us ‘we were here when we were kids and now our kids want to come and our grandkids want to come.'”
The business was moved to the current location in the mid-1970s following a fire.
Parker’s was first opened by the late E.M. “Jack” Parker Jr., of Brookville, who also formerly served as president and board member of the Cook Forest Vacation Bureau.
“They started off with just a museum,” Anderson said. “His (Parker’s) father was involved with the Seneca Nation. I don’t know if he was actually a blood-brother or not, but I know he had an awful lot of artifacts.”
Those artifacts are now housed at the Brookville Historical society. Parker was also known in the community for playing a large part in finding funding for the Jefferson County Historical Society that led to the creation of the E.M. Parker Gallery, according to Anderson.
She purchased Parker’s Indian Trading Post from Jack Parker and then began expanding the business, adding on to the building, developing a rock shop and gem panning business, and building up the store’s inventory.
Anderson noted that the trading post had Native American-related items for sale when she bought the business.
The gem panning is one of the major draws for the business, according to Anderson.
“People just love it,” she said.
Those up for trying something a bit different can pan for gems in the business’s covered flumes, with a wide variety of salted bags or buckets available.
Individuals can search for gems, stones, and minerals including Aventurine, Quartz, Peridot, Ruby, Raspberry Quartz, Topaz, Rose Quartz, Crystal Points, Sapphire, Obsidian, Smoky Quartz, Moon Stone, Amethyst, Emerald, Fluorite, Ammonite, Calcite, Citrine, Pyrite and Garnet; or fossils such as Amber, Trilobites, Petrified Wood, Sea Clams, Ammonite, sharks teeth, Horn Coral, Coral, Gastropod, Sea Urchins and more, including Arrowheads.
The store also has a vast inventory.
“We have everything from jewelry, that has a lifetime guarantee with it, to toys, to knives, t-shirts, sweatshirts, moccasins, and lots more. And, I try to get as much stuff as I can from the United States,” Anderson said.
“We have a lot of stuff here that isn’t just souvenirs.”
Their inventory currently includes jewelry made from real aroma cedar, pottery, knives, coffee mugs, glasses, Christmas ornaments, plates, rustic wood plaques, clocks, banks, Native American crafts, and a range of toys.
The collection of jewelry available includes rings, necklaces, bracelets, chokers, and earrings in a variety of styles from sterling silver, turquoise, magnetic hematite, and beaded and leather items to black diamonds, pink shell, paua shell, lapis, and coral items.
The business also has a display of handmade to scale wagons with quite a story behind them.
Anderson explained that a number of years ago the gentleman who made the wagons came into the shop looking to sell them and began speaking to her father. As they talked, it came to light that many years earlier, when Anderson herself was just a baby and her father was running a store in the Kane area, the same gentleman had bought all of the horses and figurines for the wagons from her father’s Kane business.
Of course, the wagons had to join the collection at Parker’s Indian Trading Post, though they are only for display and not for sale.
“It took a few years to build the area for them and get them all up there and organized on the shelves,” Anderson noted.
The other familiar draws to the business are actually outside of the store.
The giant wooden Native American figure to the east of the building and the huge Yogi Bear statue to the west of the building are widely recognizable to anyone who has traveled through the area.
“People come by, even in the dead of winter when there’s five feet of snow, and will crawl up there to get their picture with Yogi,” Anderson said.
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