As Alaska’s official Balladeer Hobo Jim put into song, “This is the Land where legends are born!” Two such legends, internationally acclaimed horn carving artist Tom Cooper and Donna of Donna’s Gifts in Soldotna have joined forces to bring you a totally unique shopping experience at “Two Rusty Ravens,” on the Sterling Hwy just north of Soldotna. “We have a lot of inexpensive vintage items ranging from rusty old junk that guys love and actually women do too, to highly collectable items that are real treasures. I have gals who drive all the way from Nikiski to get something that’s rusty,” Donna told the Dispatch.
The Two Rusty Raven experience is similar to what folks in the lower 48 call “antiquing,” where they load up the family and start driving down the country roads through little towns and villages, stopping to browse anywhere you see a sign that says “Antiques”. Hearing local lore from the shop keeper and coming home with a new mixing bowl like grandma use to have, a glass parrot or a part for your old tractor. Additionally at Two Rusty Ravens, you’ll find vintage items of all kinds, local artwork, Alaska Made Gifts and old rusty treasures you’ll just have to tell Uncle Harry about on your Facebook page.
Longtime family friends Tom and Donna both lost their spouses a few years ago but not their friendship, so they married and decided to open a new shop near Tom’s carving studio in Sterling. When they saw the for sale sign on the old Lucky Raven Tobacco cabin, Donna decided it would be perfect for their new shop, but what to call it? “We really struggled over what to name it, we had the building up and in place, had it all fixed up and had purchased lots of neat stuff from all over and were ready to open except for the name. So we were driving out here from Soldotna and we were talking about it and Donna said;” “I really like the name Raven because the building use to be the Lucky Raven building so I suggested Rusty Raven and Tom said, nah how about Tom’s Rusty Raven and I said: No! It’s mine too! And as soon as I said that I knew that Two Rusty Ravens would be the name and Tom agreed,” laughed Donna.
Donna’s Gifts at the Blazy Mall in Soldotna has been a shopping destination for unique, holiday and special occasion gifts for decades, so the most common question Donna has these days is will the iconic Donna’s gifts now merge with Two Rusty Ravens at one location, “I love my shop and won’t give it up. Two Rusty Ravens is different. Tom has a great following out here in Sterling in the summer, often the parking lot is packed with tourists and now I’m right next door and were together two rusty ravens,” said Donna. “Bring all your friends and relatives that come up for the summer we’d love to meet them. You know me so often here folks say gee! I’ve been driving by here for 20 years and finally decided to stop in. There are so many folks that have never stopped by my place but know it’s here and when they do they are amazed at how much stuff we have in here,” he said. “The other thing is Tom is known for his carving but many people don’t realize how much of a rock hound Tom is and how great a collection and selection of rocks he has to offer here and when they come by I think they are as amazed at the rocks he has here as they are at the other things,” added Donna. Stop in and meet two Alaskan legends at Two Rusty Ravens just outside of Soldotna on the Sterling Highway or call 262-9759 for more information.