Art Town: What three independent stores would you miss if they went out of business?

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We welcome a new column, Art Town, by local business owner Tracy Felix.

Have you been to downtown Edmonds lately? In the last few years? It is transforming itself daily. There is not an empty storefront to be found. Take a snapshot of Edmonds and place it next to the definition of “Charming” in the dictionary. This is the gem that is underfoot. Right under all of our feet! I am fortunate to be a part of what happening and you can be too. We are all looking forward to an event called “Shop Small Saturday” Nov. 25. You are invited to come down and support local business with your holiday shopping kickoff right here in your hometown.

Why is this so important? Shopping at local independent stores is not only a feel-good thing to do. It is a statement about what is important to you. It is voting with your wallet. Each dollar you spend at an independent business returns an average of 3 times more money to your community than spending at a chain store — a benefit we all can bank on.

Over the years, I have been going to visit Robert Boehlke of HouseWares.  In my opinion, Robert started the reformation of our shopping district. His store has grown from a small place on 5th, to a bigger one at 4th and Main, and now has landed in the location that was once Edmonds Variety. He has set the bar high for the rest of us business owners. His updated space and upscale merchandise helps us all know what is trending and cool. As a local business owner myself, I hold him in high regard for not only how he had grown his business, but also the work he has done behind the scenes to support the growth that you see blossoming in Edmonds.

You will find people like Robert at many stores up and down Main Street and 5th Ave. I have had the opportunity to get to know other shopkeepers here and I am impressed. Like Robert, they work long hours but most have found time to do extra. They volunteer to raise money for local schools and charities. There is a tremendous amount of time planning and funding events like the monthly art walk. There is a group that advocates at city council meetings and with the city directly to influence things like improved signage and parking.

We are you… people who live and work next door. We are your neighbors.

Think of a favorite business you have recently discovered or have enjoyed over the years. Now imagine coming downtown to find them gone. Unfortunately it does happen. Mostly it is due to lack of business and not lack of trying. Small store retail is a tough gig – especially in this era of online and big box store shopping. But it is small business that drives the local economy. Research shows a strong correlation between the percentage of small locally-owned firms and various indicators of personal and community health and vitality.

I want to share the 3/50 Project with you. I first heard about it from, you guessed it, Robert Boehlke. The 3/50 Project supports independent, locally owned businesses by inspiring consumer loyalty to the storefronts that directly fund their communities. It takes what happens once a year as a “Shop Small” event and transforms it into an acknowledgement that we all need to put our money where are hearts are, and go there more than one time a year.

At 3/50 Project website, you will find this: “Think of three businesses you’d miss if they went away. Stop in. Say hello. Pick up a little something that makes you smile. That’s what keeps them around, after all.”  Pick three businesses and once a month spend $50 at one of them. That is the 3/50 philosophy that will save Main Street USA. Pick 3. Spend $50. Save your local economy.

The Edmonds City Council is getting on board this year with a proclamation to “Shop Local.” This official thumbs-up was presented at the city council meeting on Tuesday November 14th. It does feel pretty good to shop local. We have cool stuff here in Edmonds, and some pretty awesome food places too… not to mention the beach and the view. Make a day of it November 25 and any day of the year you want to support your community in more ways than you can imagine.

For more information, please visit www.the350project.net

— By Tracy Kay Felix

Tracy Felix is currently the President of the Downtown Edmonds Merchant Association, and Co-Owner of ARTspot.

21 COMMENTS

  1. My favorite businesses are Edmonds theater, Chanterelle, the Papery, and Bountiful Home. I know that’s more than 3, but I would miss them all if they were gone. I could even name more. I love Edmonds!

  2. I would miss the Edmonds Theater, Girardis, and the Fabric of Life Boutique. Carol reopened the store at the request of the Edmonds Community almost 3 years ago and the store has always carried many unique items and each has it’s own story. SUPPORT FAIR TRADE, shop local!!!!

  3. Tracy, thank you for this important reminder. We love living here & want to keep Edmonds thriving. Some of my favorites are Art Spot, The Wooden Spoon, House Wares, Edmonds Books, Chanterelle & Cafe Louvre. Can’t imagine any of them gone!

  4. Just 3? How could I possibly pick just 3 out of the many wonderful shops in Edmonds? OK – here goes. Savvy Traveler, Cline Jewelers, and Sound Styles. No wait, The Papery, Whim Sea and Edmonds Bookshop. Nope, it’s not possible to pick just 3. Keep up the great work Edmonds Merchants.

  5. I would miss Edmonds Hardware and Paint and The Wooden Spoon. I can ALWAYS find something fun and cute and useful at The Wooden Spoon.

  6. We love living here because Edmonds is a great community. I always shop downtown Edmonds and a few of my favorites are The Papery, Savvy Traveler, Wooden Spoon, Starbuck’s, Epulo, Revelation, Geri @ Style Wizard in Mosaic, The Edmonds Theatre and Housewares. Whew…those are just a few!

  7. Edmonds Hardware, Chantrelle, the Edmonds Bookstore. That makes three; so now for my second three (you didn’t say how many threes we get!): Girardi’s, Savvy Traveler, Edmonds Theater. My third three….

    Oh, and the Wooden Spoon and….

    All of which, given the comments above, should urge the Council to do everything possible to support and retain our beloved local business and stores. Alas, I do tend to hear of frustrations with both the city and escalating rents. The issue of signs being often a serious problem, especially for businesses which are harder to see, of off the main streets… Please – let’s HELP local businesses, which add so much to our town!

  8. Here are 3: Garden Gear, Treasures and Teas, Cest la Vie.
    And 3 more: Sound Styles, Edmonds Book Store, Starbucks.
    And 3 more: Wooden Spoon, The Wishing Stone, Chantrelle.
    Actually, all of the businesses in downtown and throughout Edmonds.
    Include those businesses that are outside of Edmonds who consistently support and sponsor Edmonds causes and events.
    Shop Edmonds! Support Edmonds!

  9. Well, okay, so I live up on 215th SW, across from the High School and have my favorites around the town; but for Downtown, I’d pick: Walnut (drinks/chatting), Las Brisas (food) and Springer Books (good readings). Thanks.

  10. Another three I’d really hate to be without:

    Evviva Wood-Fired Pizza, El Porto, The Very Taki Tiki Bar & Grill (whose owner always supports local projects and causes)

    And if it doesn’t need to be in the bowl, Porto Fino on 196th.

  11. Although I moved to the southwest for more sun five years ago, I return to Edmonds at least once a year and shop at The Wooden Spoon and the Savvy Traveler. I would hate to be without these two shops.

  12. I would miss Edmonds Bookstore first and foremost. Also the Wooden Spoon and Arista Wines. (there’s a theme here……Cookbooks, cooking gear and good wine.) My girls want me to add Dimitri’s, which is also awesome. And we can’t miss the Church Key pub. That’s more than three, I know. But our little town is just so awesome.

  13. So pleased readers thought to include small business outside the “bowl!” Edmonds has many delightful nooks to be discovered and supported – think about how valuable our shops are at Firdale, Westgate, and quirky Perrinville. I’m glad a few places down by the waterfront were mentioned too.

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