This story is part of our May 2021 issue. To subscribe, click here.
Two large boulders greet visitors entering Vacaville’s Consolidated Rock & Mineral Shop – informally known as The Rock Shop – with a hint of goodies inside.
Yes, the shop has rocks, and visitors quickly realize what a wonderland of polished stones, gems, minerals, and fossils from all over the world fills the 71-year-old and 15,000-year-old showroom. square feet. “Every day that I come here is a good day,” says Pam Connelly, long-time Antioch customer, during a visit on a busy Saturday morning in February.
The store, under new ownership since November 2020, is one of the largest stores of its kind in the United States, according to Dennis Danielson, the store manager for 25 years. As a student at nearby Solano Community College, Danielson visited him almost every day because he was fascinated by the collection and was finally offered a job in 1987. Danielson’s background in the field minerals was just “a few minor geology lessons,” he says. but he was a single parent, and working there allowed him to do a family shift from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“I was fascinated by everything there was out there,” Danielson says. “It was definitely not the area I was thinking of going into, but I enjoyed every moment.”
In 1952, Bay Area entrepreneur Jerry Blair opened the site on Quinn Road as a military surplus store and a place to display, but not sell, his growing rock collection. Blair converted it into a rock business in the late 1970s, Danielson says, and when Blair died in 1987 Blair’s nephew Greg Johnson took over until he sold the store. last fall.
Aydin Sahm, a San Francisco retailer, took ownership in November, and the changes came quickly, Danielson says, including the addition of additional inventory displayed in renovated themed rooms with music that “puts more in the mood ”.
Along with an array of small rocks and fossils, including moldavites formed by a meteorite impact around 15 million years ago, Danielson says, the store has plenty of museum-quality items, such as amethyst, most popular purple gemstone in the world, according to Geology.com. “We probably have 3 tons of amethyst there right now, with well over a ton of quartz (non-amethyst),” he says. “Our collection of tumbled stones (small pieces of brilliantly polished rock) is extremely extensive.”
Items in the store are sought after by collectors, used for home decor, and applied for healing or metaphysical purposes, Danielson says. “I like to say that we have stones and minerals for everyone’s wants, needs and income,” Danielson says. “Every rock is unique and there are millions of them here.”
Danielson says business boomed last year, even though the store closed in March for six weeks due to the pandemic. Danielson says he plans to add two more employees to the four already present. “We’re at this point where we’re actually breaking sales records,” he says, crediting the size of the store which allows for social distancing and renovations since Sahm bought the store.
Although the store doesn’t sell online, it does reach customers through a Facebook page and a robust mailing list, Danielson explains. “We encourage entry, contact and comparison. Everything is convenient here.
Stay up to date on business in the Capital Region: Subscribe to the Comstock newsletter today.