Calling All Pirates!
Pirates’ Treasure House in Little River is half art gallery, half gift shop.
All things pirate appeal to Richard Deegan, and that’s what inspired him and his wife, Linda, to open Pirates’ Treasure House in Little River.
“It was an exciting new venture,” Richard says.
The two Massachusetts natives had opened an educational toy store/art gallery in 1991. When they moved to Little River in April of 1999, the building at 4472 Mineola Avenue in Little River was nearing completion. They focused their efforts on creating a store that’s half art gallery and half gift shop.
They carry a large variety of pirate and nautical items, jewelry, clothing, Indonesian-made signs, tiki masks and assorted gifts. Wood-carved pirates, white-bearded boat captains, fishermen and Santas are always popular at the shop, as are small shells painted with Santa and pirate faces, perfect for Christmas ornaments.
Richard makes wood carvings from planks and pilings recycled from the waterfront docks. The pressure-treated wood lasts a long time and is ideal for Richard to use in creating dolphins and whales as large as 2 to 6 feet. Customers use them as unique wall hangings in their homes or as decorative pieces on decks or fences. Richard also makes custom pieces. Indonesian wood carvings and signs of pelicans, seahorses, mermaids and tikis complement Richard’s artwork as home decor accents. Linda says they are great conversation pieces.
“People like wood-carved pelicans and tikis, too, which stand up to 3 feet tall,” Linda says. “Some of the wood-carved planks stand 6 feet tall — it all depends on what you want for home decorating or to give as a unique gift.”
Richard says that vacationers account for approximately 60 percent of their sales and local residents account for 40 percent.
“That number keeps shifting, however, with increasing numbers of local residents making purchases because they like decorating their homes with our one-of-a-kind pieces of art,” Richard says.
On their once-a-week shopping trips throughout South Carolina and their yearly trip to Florida, the Deegans seek unique merchandise for Pirates’ Treasure House. They shop little-known or advertised markets and warehouses.
“We seek out small business–friendly vendors who allow us to have many choices at reasonable prices for our customers,” Linda says. “We feel that it makes all the difference in the world — otherwise people can shop at big-box stores, but I dare say it isn’t half as much fun as shopping at Pirates’ Treasure House.”
The idea of being small business owners appealed to the Deegans when they were in their forties.
Linda completed her Master of Education degree in Counseling Psychology from Boston College and she worked as a psychological tester in a school system near Boston.
She later owned and operated D & D Crafts & Creative Play, an educational toy store, for eight years in Wakefield, Massachusetts, prior to moving to South Carolina.
Richard, a U.S. Army veteran, worked as a technical support specialist in the high-tech industry, but he always felt that a creative, artistic job would be more fulfilling.
“Becoming small-business owners together was a dream come true because we had a vision for the unique type of shop we wanted to open,” Richard says. “Plus, it gives us the chance to serve the local community.”
If Richard is not greeting customers, he’s sitting down on a pirate’s stool carving his latest colorful creation. Even with that pirate’s scowling face, it’s still a masterpiece. Arrrgh!
Want to go?
Pirates’ Treasure House
4472 Mineola Avenue, Little River
Open Tuesday to Saturday from 2:30 to 6 pm
Hours change with the seasons so call ahead