Last time I looked at the block of buildings across Cole Street from the senior center, I saw my uncle's Goodrich tire shop and Sonny Bellack's auto repair business. Then, after I turned around twice and looked again, both were gone. Bellack's was replaced with an attractive, two-story brick building, which for a couple of years was an upscale clothing store called Suburban Soul. The tire shop had morphed into a series of four or five restaurants — I've lost track of the exact number — none of which proved to be successful, leading one to suspect it's simply a poor location for a restaurant.
After Suburban Soul closed its doors, the new building stood empty for perhaps a year. Then, several weeks ago — actually, it's been nearly two months, but I was slow getting around to this column — Penny Larsen moved into the place and opened Creekside of Enumclaw.
Alas, it's difficult to classify "Creekside" as any particular type of store, owing to the many kinds of merchandise it carries. For instance, the second floor has some attractive, wooden, outdoor lounge furniture, offers live music a couple of Fridays each month, serves a pretty good latté and delicious pastries in an espresso bar, also has a regular bar that will serve beer and wine as soon as the state permits are obtained, and finally has a selection of fine, warm and woolly, house slippers. I mean, is that diverse enough for you?
On the ground floor, you'll find a display of pastries, including chocolate rum balls, raspberry cobbler and carmel nut rolls, and several kinds of Staus Bavarian nuts. There's a large collection of blouses by Clara Sunvoo. You'll also find Theresa's Soy Lotion Candles, which not only produce a wonderful fragrance but also leave a melted wax that's an excellent skin moisturizer for skiers and vacationers. There's a display case of pretty jewelry composed of beads, gemstones and silver from around the world, by local artisan Windy Curtis. And somewhere in this hodgepodge, there are jars of Dennis Carlson's local honey.
Penny is an attractive, friendly lady who graduated from Idaho State University with a degree in business, is married and has four sons, 17 to 26 years of age. She spent many years pursuing nearly every aspect in the corporate world of high finance, before starting Creekside. For the last 23 years, she's lived in Maple Valley.
She hopes Creekside will capture a touch of the intimate atmosphere experienced in small-town, mountain resorts like Aspen and Jackson Hole and bring the Northwest high country into a downtown store. I believe she's succeeded. She has the upscale, expensive items you might identify with Aspen but, I'd quickly add, she also carries more affordable wares that are attuned to local standards and celebrate, to a large extent, local products and entrepreneurs. The place is quite attractive, owing in part to some old, weathered wood arranged beside a lot of polished, smooth, irregular-shaped wooden shelves and counter tops. (How about those cow hides draped over the stair banister?)
At any rate, stop by for a latté and say hello. This will make both you and Penny very happy.