Founded on a card table at an Old Town Alexandria flea market, Today’s Cargo celebrated its thirty-sixth anniversary in March 2009. "Founding Mother", Gladys Irvin started the business by selling jewelry from Thailand at the flea market in Old Town on weekends.
Gladys got the name for the business from the fact that whatever she had for sale on any given day was dependent upon whatever arrived in that day’s mail. Her business soon outgrew the flea market. In 1975, she moved it into a shared space with a framing business at 217 Cameron Street. The inventory was small to begin with, and store Manager Donna McIntyre, who joined Today’s Cargo in 1976, remembers asking Gladys, "How are we ever going to fill this space up?" In laying out the store, Gladys was inspired by her dear friend Jane, who had a jewelry business of her own in Hong Kong. She believed in putting her money into the merchandise rather than in the décor or in customized fixtures and display cases. "Always pass the savings on to the customer," is the philosophy of the store.
The framing business owners eventually retired, and Today’s Cargo took over the whole space at 217 Cameron Street. After they outgrew the space in 1995, they moved to 315 Cameron Street. This location was five times the size of the original shop! In April of 2007, after twelve years, Today's Cargo decided to move to their present location at 1102 King Street.
The friendly sales staff at Today’s Cargo welcomes everyone, including kids and pets, to browse the store, giving the shop a true "family atmosphere." "We really want our customers to feel comfortable here," Donna says. "We turn the price tags on our merchandise face up so that you can see them. You will never be intimidated here. We treat our customers the way that we like to be treated."
Donna and Assistant Manager Carla Clarke regularly attend jewelry trade shows, stocking the store with pearls from China and Japan, Italian gold and sterling silver, cameos from Italy and Germany, handmade jewelry from Mexico and Thailand, and Lithuanian amber. They also offer a selection of seasonally rotating gift items, and a large collection of estate jewelry. "Everything we have for sale is hand-selected by our staff," says Donna. "We only carry quality merchandise that we can stand behind." If you want something you don’t see in the store, they will be more than happy to try to find it for you. Whatever it is that you do find at Today’s Cargo, will be tomorrow’s gift, and ultimately, a treasure to last a lifetime.
The store's 30th anniversary celebration coincided with the decision to create a Web site which would offer customers the convenience of an online shopping destination. We are now celebrating 40 years in business! Enjoy your visit, and feel free to send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.