Everything for sale at East 40 Electric & Supply Co. is handmade and American-sourced.
Finding just the right items to showcase isn’t always easy, but owners Shawn King and Mike Graffigna see supporting artists as part of the mission for their home and lighting store. They also see the establishment as a gathering place in East Sacramento – a symbol of the grid’s distinct culture and close-knit vibe.
The neighborhood welcomed the store, operating out of a former family home on 57th Street, on June 20. The couple plan an opening party in August.
What began as Graffigna’s passion for electrical work soon became a garage-based online lighting business, said King, his wife and the store’s manager. Soon, the couple’s garage was busting at the seams, she said, forcing their family to move to a larger home down the street.
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Graffigna and King realized the move wasn’t enough. When King’s mother, an East Sacramento local, told the couple about the house at 870 57th St., Graffigna jumped at the opportunity.
“You’re crazy,” King recalled telling her husband.
“We had way too much on our plate, but we went for it,” she said.
Graffigna gutted and painted the building. The rear of the home is his workshop and the front holds almost 1,000 square feet of retail space, King said.
We are here to keep it real and local, make some friends and support the community.
Shawn King, co-owner, East 40 Electric & Supply Co.
In addition to Graffigna’s lighting work, the husband-wife duo offers high-quality American products “that will stand the test of time,” she said.
Among the store’s offerings are Mason jar coffee presses from Portland, Ore.; leather, wine bottle bike straps from Washington state; and 100-year anniversary Pyrex baking dishes from Pennsylvania.
Locally produced goods include sculptural wall clocks by Northern California artist Brian Schmitt and natural soy candles produced by Wilton-based Hen House Soap Company.
But willing artists aren’t always easy to find, King said. Some artists don’t want to profit from their work. Many can’t devote themselves to their work full time, creating a lag in delivery time.
“Usually, the products are (made by) a one-man team,” King said of those she works with. “In order to get the inventory, the duration of time is probably double or triple the time” it would take to get things from overseas.
King said she finds potential artists through word of mouth, “even looking on Instagram to see who’s coming up with some cool ideas.”
The plan, she said, is not to fully stock the store but to work with artisans across the country to assure quality and uniqueness. Inventory will constantly change, based on customer feedback and King’s latest, greatest findings.
East 40’s eclectic collection of products, she said, serves as an embodiment of East Sacramento’s bicycle-riding, yoga-practicing, dog-walking, food-loving, do-it-yourself culture. The couple plan to serve local Insight Coffee on weekends to encourage conversation at checkout or newspaper reading on the patio.
“We’re not here to make a buck or get rich off of this tiny shop,” King said. “For us, it’s important to keep the local vibe going in East Sac because that’s what keeps its identity.”