Celtic Crossroads NW is celebrating 12 years of being in business in the beautiful Victorian seaport town of Port Townsend, Washington as a family-owned and operated business (3 generations!).
Formerly known as Wandering Angus Celtic Traders, Celtic Crossroads NW was bought in 2008 by the Ayres Clan: Joe and Frances, as well as their daughters Debbie and Tracy. They wanted to go against the grain and keep their extended family together rather than have them disperse to the far-flung reaches of the globe as so many tend to do. This store, as well as their off-grid living experience in Northern Idaho (a story for another time and place), is/was a means to that end.
As former educators and having never run a business before, the Ayres Clan had a great deal to learn. They used their desire for knowledge to make it through the economic turndown of 2009/2010. As North American Celtic Trade Association (NACTA) members from the outset of the adventure the guidance of other shopkeepers, manufactures and now the Facebook page proved to be invaluable.
Debbie, the Ayres' daughter, now runs the shop with help from her husband Maxx Sonandre, the Graphic Artist, and her brother-in-law Joe Gallegos, the Social Media Specialist. Debbie and Maxx’s daughters Tori, Zoey, and their oldest daughter, Cat, along with her boyfriend Dmitri help set-up, run, and breakdown the Celtic Crossroads NW booth at over 25 festivals each year.
Joe and Fran get into the adventures as well, so three generations can be found at the booth. Celtic Crossroads NW attends festivals in Washington, Idaho, Oregon, Montana, California, and Hawaii. Joe and Tracy’s daughter, Kaylene, takes care of the shop location while everyone else is at festivals.
Debbie, Maxx, and Joe recently moved the shop to a new location in their seaside town, a local move, so at that time they changed the name of the business. When loyal customers asked, “Why not keep the name Wandering Angus?” The answer was simple, too many people dropped the “g” in Angus and the family found they were at a crossroads in life.
The year 2020 has been a challenging year, due in part to a lack of festivals. But with loyal customers and a newly redesigned website, they are optimistic. The new shop is designed to showcase products and make loading and unloading for festivals easier. Customers are welcome to share a cup of tea and a story or two.
As one of the very few Celtic shops in Washington, Celtic Crossroads NW imports from Scottish manufacturers (Keith Jack Jewelry, Bill Baber Knitwear, Calzeat, Charles Buyers, Lochcarron, Leather Guild and the Glasgow Mask Company), Irish manufactures (Heraldry Names, ShanOre, Solvar, Amethyst Designs, Saol Knitwear, Mucros Weavers, Aran Woolen Mills, Lee Valley, Lee River Leather, Royal Tara, Hanna Hats and Erin Knitwear), Welsh manufacturers (Black Dragon) and Cornish manufacturers (Sea Gems).
Still, they continue to support other small and/or family-owned businesses whenever possible. All of their vendors provide the highest quality products, make gorgeous designs, and are just "grand" people!
The team attends trade shows in Ireland and Scotland when they can. This crew loves to travel, so the CCNW Clan is excited to expand into tours through CIE. In addition, they would like to develop a Celtic music festival in their hometown of Port Townsend.
In our time of learning about the Celts we have found that the Celtic movement is helping people find their roots and keep in touch with family traditions. That movement fits perfectly with our desire to explore our own heritage including Irish, Scottish, and Cornish roots, and keep our family unit together!