“Geologists have a saying – rocks remember.”
– Neil Armstrong
Lone Pine Rocks and Gifts is known locally simply as “The Rock Shop.” And like the geological wonders it sells and displays, the store is no stranger to transformation.
It began as an auto repair garage owned by Leo and Lorene Jones in the early ’60s. Leo sectioned off part of his auto repair garage and opened Lorene’s Rock and Gift Shop. Later on their son Bud and his wife Nell bought it from them.
After going through several owners over the years, Nancy Spence and her husband, Jim, bought the store in 1998 and made many improvements to it. Eventually the Spences decided to move from Lone Pine to Arizona, but found it difficult to run the shop from so far away. They asked Nancy’s sister, Margaret Warner, and her husband, Donald, if they would consider buying it. It was an easy sales pitch to Margaret who had already been helping out her sister with the store. She found the transition quite easy and she struck a deal with her husband that, if he would do the rocks, she would do the gifts.
According to Margaret, she got the best end of the deal because a long-time employee, Judy Hays, had been working at the store for 20 years. Judy was organized, knew what sold and when to order. She told Margaret and Donald they were the fourth owners that she had trained.
Margaret still recalls going into the original store when she was a young girl and a shopper could pick out a small stone and have Leo set it into a necklace or earrings. She says that The Rock Shop has proven a great source of joy for her and her husband.
“We love talking with the many visitors we get from all over the world and our local clientele who keep us on our toes,” Margaret said. “My husband is a rock hound and belongs to the local Gem and Mineral Society, so he enjoys going and collecting many of the specimens. I am sure he was one of those little boys that came home with his pockets filled with rocks.”
Margaret concluded that, “Rocks and minerals are one of those subjects that there just seems to be no end to learning about.”
Lovella Barner now runs The Rock Shop for the Warners. She said that, like her employers, she loves everything about the store. She proudly shows off the various rock displays of garnet and geodes, alongside just about every type of mineral, crystals, rocks and polished stones imaginable and Indian jewelry that is on display. Barner that the jewelry is often sold out during the tourist season.
There are also colorful T-shirts that she says are very popular with rock climbers and a large variety of books on hiking, minerals, cooking, plus kids’ books and everything in between.
One item that Barner remembers fondly as a young girl growing up in Lone Pine is her Minnetonka moccasins, which she says are very popular with visitors from Europe where they are apparently quite popular and quite expensive. She still remembers bringing hers to the store to have them resoled, something she said is sadly no longer done.
Lone Pine Rocks and Gifts is located at 235 S. Main St. in Lone Pine and is open seven days a week except Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter Sunday. Store hours are 9 a.m.-6 p.m. During the tourist season, the store remains open until 9 p.m. or later.
For more information, call (760) 876-1010 or email them at email@example.com.