When you visit Sonja, she welcomes you into her shop(s) and offers you a wonderful cup of coffee or tea. She listens intently as she invites meaningful, friendly conversation. She loves to build community.
I met Sonja about 10 years ago while I was working at the Bobbi Brown Counter at Nordstrom, and she was browsing at another cosmetic line. While I offered her help, she was curious to know about Bobbi Brown Cosmetics and why I adored them. I loved her interest, and wanted to share my passion for the line. Sonja found a fabulous red lip color that day, and we each found a new friend!
It’s rare that you connect with someone, lose touch for a bit, and then pick up years later right where you left off. Sonja moved her store to the wonderful Proctor District in North Tacoma, and added a simply divine yogurt shop during the years that I had to deal with breast cancer and Tyler’s extremely difficult autism behaviors. I didn’t make time to come for visits, although it would have been a welcome breath of fresh air.
Sonja has two shops; the front of this quaint cottage is Proctor Frozen Yogurt, which truly has the tastiest yogurt I have ever had in my life! (I will make the drive from Lake Tapps to have this on a regular basis!) When I was there (twice in the last week) I had a cup filled with Salted Caramel, Milky Chocolate, and Creamy Vanilla. I added real caramel sauce, bits of roasted sea salt, tiny slices of dark chocolate, and a touch of toasted coconut. Beyond heavenly!!!
In the back, she has a charming clothing boutique, Sonja – Clothes to live in, right near the Metropolitan Market in the Proctor District of North Tacoma. I feel as if I’m transported to a lovely Parisienne’s vast boudoir. The walls are painted the palest pink, and there are intriguing objects to admire in every corner and on each wall; a quote by Collette, a hanging photo of Coco Chanel, children’s drawings to Sonja, notes from her beautiful daughter, Emy, and plenty of girlish trinkets beckon you into this unique space.
Sonja sets you free to “play” and dress up, as you like. For those of us who love advice and ideas (especially from great creative sorts), Sonja will help you choose fun things to try on. She has a useful mix of great, comfortable basics, along with eclectic pieces to fit different moods. I found several fabulous additions for my closet, along with my most treasured item…a handmade Sonja necklace! Yes, Sonja makes jewelry, too! We shared our love of all things Parisian (she recently made a trip and picked up buttons, bits, antique-y key chain pieces and old baubles) and I found a necklace to treasure always. Made of pieces from Paris, hearts and charms from her travels and quirky antique shops, my unique necklace will not only remind me of Paris, but of the delighted feeling I get whenever I visit Sonja’s shops.
Sonja said something the first day I met her, so many years ago, that has never left my mind, and truly influenced my outlook on life. “I love to build community.” When I asked her about her shop she said this with such warmth and invitation, that I have remembered it always. I reflect on this regularly, in light of understanding that we all thrive when we have our own “community” to support us. It has resonated with me during the toughest “Tyler” years and during my breast cancer recovery.
On a particularly spectacular Saturday during the Proctor Chocolate Fest, Sonja’s shops were a hub of comfortable friendship and connection. People gravitate to her warmth, hospitality, and creative ways. Danielle Dunlap had a display of her gorgeous handmade silver jewelry and color-saturated warm, wooly infinity scarves. Visitors came and went, shopping for jewelry, clothes, and, of course, dining on frozen yogurt. Everyone seemed to know Sonja and Danielle, and the conversation was genial and good-natured. I lingered for a couple of hours, just wanting to be part of this “Gritty Tacoman” community!
Latest Fabulous Revelations:
- Shopping at Sonja’s for yogurt, clothing, or jewelry is a visit with a warm and welcoming community builder
- Kindness and generosity know no bounds; Sonja sends you around the neighborhood to check out the other local shops
- I can revisit Paris in my mind at Sonja’s
- She has the best coffee and frozen yogurt I’ve ever tasted
- A friendship can endure and grow even when it’s been on “hiatus”
- “Building community” is magical
When you have the opportunity (or make the opportunity!) to go to the Proctor District in Tacoma, Washington, stop by Sonja – clothes to live in and Proctor Frozen Yogurt. It will put a smile on your face and warm your soul as you visit with Sonja Silver, one Gritty Tacoman with a heart of gold!
Support your local shops everywhere! It’s such a great feeling and I am certainly encouraged to do more; build community!
Cheers and xox!