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A Jewel of a Store on Luck Avenue

Shirley Steele carries unique and eclectic items at Third Stone.

by Gene Marrano

Handcrafted jewelry, fashionable scarves knitted by hand, gift items and prints from local visual artists – all can be found tucked away in a little shop at 33 Luck Avenue. Passersby may not even notice that “Third Stone” is there until they stumble upon it, a half block away from Martin’s Restaurant on First Street around the corner.

Owner Shirley Steele – she and husband Eric are both musicians as well – named the store Third Stone after a Jimi Hendrix song. The name refers to the fact that the Earth is the third planet from the sun.  The couple plays together in a band called Tri-scale (she’s a keyboardist) and he also has the Eric Steele Project. They’ve played at Kirk Avenue Music Hall, Blues Barbecue, and Martin’s to name a few.

Jewelry created by Pam Branch, Heidi Bundy, Marla Sauer and Karen Hammer adorn the shelves and counters at Third Stone, which has been open for almost a year. Some are produced locally; some, like Hammer’s Crimson Fairy line (Sedona, AZ), come from artists that Shirley Steele keeps her radar out for. Others hail from Georgia and California; “we have items from artists around the country,” said Steele. Items are reasonable – Hammer’s pendant and earring line for instance is priced starting at $35-40.

“I like to shop,” chuckles Steele, referring to her vigilance in finding new products and sources. She is also a jewelry designer herself. Other artists come recommended to her. Steele had sold her pieces through Art on a Mission and had worked in retail before opening her own shop last year. A Girls Night Out event is scheduled for November 17 at Third Stone.

“I like for people to have something that is unique and has value…but is not overpriced,” said Steele, who looks forward to the Christmas shopping season, already on the horizon. “Most of the artists [we carry] are pretty reasonable.” There’s also not the “huge markup” found at department stores added Steele, who likes to promote local artists like Sauer, a silversmith, and Brian Zickafoose, whose prints she carries. Bundy recently reopened A Little Bit Hippy at Towers Shopping Center. Roanoker Rebecca Paxton’s Lavender Day Creations, hand stamped greeting cards, are also carried at Third Stone.

Without a sandwich board on the too-small sidewalk or a shingle hanging outside, many weren’t aware of Third Stone until they happened to walk by it. “A lot of people didn’t know it was here because they didn’t expect something to be away from the market area. A lot of people happen upon us,” said Steele. “There’s a lot of businesses that can’t be on the [City] Market.”

“I like unique [and] handmade things,” added Steele, anywhere from “casual to classy.”

Third Stone is on facebook and the store’s website will soon allow visitors to purchase items online. “We hope to have that up before Christmas,” said Steele, “that’ll make it easier for people that want to shop but can’t get here.” But they may want to visit Third Stone to see some of Steele’s unique offerings anyway … tucked away in a little shop on Luck Avenue.

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  1. Thank you for the wonderful article! I’d also like to thank you on behalf of all our artists! 😀

    I only have one teensy correction… the web address for the upcoming online store is … unfortunately, was taken! We also have a site up an running at which gives store news and updates including current hours from our Facebook page feed ( and has a link to items for sale on Etsy by Third Stone Studios.

    Thank you again! Everyone please join us for the Girls Night Out November 17th!

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