LUCAS — While a tumbleweed chandelier might seem like a interesting choice to some, for Lucas, it’s just another unique touch in a town known for its artistic flair.
“That tumbleweed was given to us by our very first customer,” said Sheila Weckman, owner of the newly opened Tangerine Tumbleweed. “She found it blowing around by the Garden of Eden, and I said, ‘You just found our chandelier.’ ”
The tumbleweed — now painted in a tangerine-inspired hue — has twinkling lights and hangs in a prominent location in the store.
Weckman and her husband, Ken, moved to Lucas in September after living in Colorado for 13 years.
“He drives for United Natural Foods Inc., so his company placed him in Lucas, which is halfway between routes distributing to Whole Foods stores,” Weckman said. “Because of his job, I got to try many of the products, and I realized I was feeling better.”
That’s how her passion for organic, natural products began.
Upon arriving in Lucas, the Weckmans discovered the grocery store was closed.
“So we started bringing in organic produce by way of a buyer’s club for nine months,” Weckman said.
That led to thoughts of opening their own store.
“In April, I said, ‘If we’re going to do this, we’ve got to do it now,’ ” Weckman said, as they wanted to bring in some spring plants and other spring items. “So we just started.”
Weckman began reaching out to vendors to stock their store with merchandise.
She said they mainly wanted to bring in some of their favorite things, while also being conscious of the ingredients in those products.
“We wanted to bring health to the community,” Weckman said. “We didn’t want to be known as a health food store, but that is kind of what we have become.”
The Tangerine Tumbleweed includes a variety of organic brands and products — from organic produce to vitamins, essential oils and household items — as well as other specialty items.
“We like to have some things you can’t find anywhere else in Kansas,” Weckman said.
After moving to Lucas, the Weckmans noticed people in the region like to drink red beers.
“We weren’t used to that,” Weckman said with a laugh.
So, a Bloody Mary mix from their native Iowa is now a staple in the store.
“We’re the only ones in the state to carry that brand,” Weckman said.
Other unique items include pillows with images of Weckman’s own photography and custom wood crafts she designed and husband Ken built.
“Our goal is to eventually make furniture, but we haven’t gotten that far,” Weckman said.
Just like the town of Lucas, the store — whose slogan is “naturally cool stuff” — is a little bit of everything.
“We do get a lot of people who stop by after visiting the Garden of Eden,” Weckman said of the famous attraction right across the road. “And we get lake traffic, too. We’re just excited to get started and hope that this can be a place for people in the community to shop and gather.”
View the Tangerine Tumbleweed page on Facebook or call (303) 710-2747 for more information.