Laura Mathews Gransberry buys vintage shop and helps local senior thrift store upcycle

By Raiza Giorgi

When Santa Ynez Valley native Laura Mathews Gransberry and her husband got married they had a plan to be back on the Central Coast within five years. 

Gransberry grew up in the valley and graduated from Santa Ynez Valley Union High School in 2002, having a passion for helping people. She attended Antioch University and ended up in the Pacific Northwest to finish her studies. 

“I moved to Seattle to finish my degree and got a job as a licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT) helping people with eating disorders,” Gransberry said. “I loved my job, and when my husband and I had our son we realized on a vacation to Arizona, we wanted to be in a warmer climate.” 

Gransberry and her husband Dustin decided on the plane ride back to Seattle in 2019 they wanted to move back to the valley. Their five-year plan ultimately became a six-week plan as her husband got a job in Goleta right away and they ended up living in Buellton. 

“It’s been a whirlwind as that was the start of 2020 and I got a job working in Santa Barbara as a LMFT, but after having our son I started second guessing my career path and wanted to explore my other passion for interior design,” she said. 

On her daily walks with her mom and son they would pass by the A Piece of the Past shop in Solvang on Alisal Road. 

“I think I was their number one customer for 2020,” Gransberry laughed. “When Cyndee (Stapp) told me she was retiring at the end of the year I almost burst into tears. And again within weeks here we are and I now own the shop.” 

Santa Ynez Valley native Laura Mathews Gransberry said she grew up helping her mom always redecorate and design their home. She now owns A Piece of the Past Antique and Vintage Mall in Solvang. Photo by Raiza Giorgi

Gransberry said she grew up helping her mom always redecorate and design their home. 

“My mom is an interior designer and my dad is a contractor, so naturally our home was always being updated and worked on,” she said. “I love all different kinds of styles so this shop will really be a great eclectic collaboration of vendors.”

The vintage and antique shop reopened March 1, featuring a mix of local vendors from Arroyo Grande, Santa Barbara and the valley. 

“I think everyone’s taste will be incorporated as we will have some French Country, Rustic, Mid Century Modern and vintage furniture and clothing,” Gransberry said. 

She is also excited to not only open the shop, but she is doing a collaboration with Pam Gnekow at the Buellton Senior Thrift Shop, helping to upcycle and repurpose furniture to help keep it out of the landfill. 

“I love upcycling and giving things a facelift,” she said. “Knowing it will also be helping provide Meals on Wheels for our local seniors is even more worth it.”

The Buellton Senior Center was recently just renovated by the Los Olivos Rotary Club, as their members painted both exterior and interior spaces, updated the floors and fixed things to make the space more usable. 

The thrift shop is the main income source for the senior Meals on Wheel program, which has seen more than double the amount of need over the past year due to COVID-19. 

“I am so thankful to Laura for helping and making some of our items more purchase worthy,” Gnekow said. 

A Piece of the Past is located at 425 Alisal Road across from the U.S. Post Office. Visit the store’s Facebook and Instagram pages for available pieces and more information.