By Christina Ulrich
Vintage wares, antique collectables, and restoring pieces and places to their original beauty, are great passions for Coquille and Brian Gallagher. Both are graduates of Reardan High School and have been Washington residents for some time. “I am a female carpenter, old sign painter, furniture restorer, history enthusiast, and local country girl,” said Coquille. 19 years of marriage, and three children later, the Gallaghers opened the doors to The Reardan Plowboy & Urban Homestead in February of 2014. Prior to this business venture, Coquille invested much of her time collecting antiques, making customs pieces, and providing one of a kind goods and services to businesses around the region. “We decided to open the store after I had spent years traveling through the Western states selling my wares at many home decor shows,” stated Coquille, “and, made quite a success and a national group of followers”.
The Plowboy name, according to Coquille, is representative of the people who work and live in Lincoln County’s agricultural regions. “We are all ‘Plowfolk’ at some time during the seasons. Whether it is driving a tractor, working a mill, driving trucks, or feeding the field hands… Everyone is a ‘Plowboy.’”
Many regional businesses have employed Coquille’s artistry, including Winthrop’s Trick Pony, Newport’s Foxwood House, and Davenport’s Good Neighbor Pharmacy. She is credited with designing the 2014-2015 cover for Sizzle, Spokane’s dining and entertainment guide. Also, Spokane’s Chap’s Bakery, Lucky Vintage, and Ritter’s Nursery are just a few other local businesses who have recognized her talent. “Our projects now include many local heirlooms that fall into my hands by one way or another.” She and Brian are currently helping to restore ‘R’ Store and Grocery of Reardan. “Preserving the history and leaving the layers of integrity is what we do best!”
Coquille’s great-grandfather’s windmill fan, one of a kind chandeliers made from upcycled farm equipment, and custom Texas signage adorn the ceiling of the vintage market, welcoming patrons upon entry into The Plowboy. Visitors can also expect to see a kitchen island crafted from an old work bench, a beautiful Victorian sofa from the 1890s, as well as many other hand-crafted and consigned items. “Our mantra is: ‘You never know what you are going to find or how we will inspire you to make it yourself!’”
Coquille and Brian are no strangers to interesting, unusual, and rare finds. The Gallaghers were recently commissioned to restore one particularly interesting piece. In the 1960s, approximately 5 miles west of Reardan on the Old Sunset Highway, a billboard was erected. It stood there for more than a half century. According to Coquille, this unique sign “boasts a rooftop swimming pool, just 27 miles ahead, in the heart of Spokane. With The Matador Room waiting for wary travelers in the beautiful Davenport Hotel”.
“For over five decades a beautiful advertisement lay in the heart of wheat country,” said Coquille. “Stretches of the Old Sunset Hwy are still drivable, and will give a glimpse into what traveling through the state of Washington used to be like.” Although travelers use this road less frequently now, Coquille said, “Some may remember the old billboard advertisement that provided a photo opportunity, and a pit stop for the travelers that remembered it was there.” The old billboard is a treasure that reflects Eastern Washington’s rich historic past.
Around 2010, the sign was removed and stored by the property owners, who just recently decided to have it returned to its former condition. “I am elated to have restored this piece of history to its next step in life and give this beautiful sign a pit stop and face lift to its journey to salvation,” Coquille said. After completion, the sign will hang in the home of its owners as part of a private collection.
So, if you are out treasure hunting, or searching for a custom restoration, The Plowboy & Urban Homestead is sure to please collectors and non-collectors, alike. Shop or browse to find unusual items, vintage pieces for the home and yard, and collectibles for your own homesteading plans. Remember to look up the Gallaghers for your restoration and reconditioning projects. “We pride ourselves on salvage farm decor and local wares,” stated Coquille. “Unique displays and imagination run the gambit throughout our double storefront on Broadway in Reardan.”
Coquille and Brian Gallagher are the very proud owners of The Reardan Plowboy & Urban Homestead. With local vendors and select consignment, The Plowboy is open Wednesday through Saturday from 10 am to5 pm year round. You can find them at 245 W. Broadway Ave. in Reardan, Washington. Give them a call at (509) 796-3331 or check out their Facebook page.