Pops of brightly colored accessories and whimsical signs invite customers into Tickled Pink, a new store in downtown Gig Harbor.
“I needed to come inside as it looked so fun,” first-time customer Cindy Sullivan said.
The store, named after its own boutique label, carries a line of affordable fashion scarves, hats, handbags and jewelry and more at 3026 Harborview Drive.
“I think we fill one of the missing factors for downtown now that other stores have left,” co-manager Karrie Polinsky said.
Gifts includes signs, cards, bath and body products. Everything is for sale, including the furniture and fixtures.
“At our open house, a lady wanted one of our pink chairs, so we sold it to her,” co-manager Heidi Canda said.
“It’s an unexpected surprise with everything in here,” Sullivan said. “There’s a niche with something for everyone. It’s fun to have a store like this so close. I won’t have to go to Tacoma to find a friend’s gift.”
Store owners Mike and Michelle Henry opened the original Tickled Pink store in Port Townsend 10 years ago after they separated the gift shop from a former flower shop they owned. Michelle made and sold her scarves out of their garage.
“Mike was a high school wrestling coach,” Canda said. “He flew over to support a former athlete participating in the Bejing Olympics. While they were in China, Michelle checked out options to enter into the wholesale arena and produce affordable products.”
“The Henrys now have a wholesale warehouse here in Gig Harbor that allows them to sell the Tickled Pink brand nationally to boutiques,” Canda added.
While the Henrys travel extensively, they have left the Gig Harbor store with Canda and Polinsky.
Mike Henry coached Canda’s kids in Port Townsend. When Mike suggested Canda should move to Gig Harbor to manage the store, she said she jumped at the chance.
“I loved the idea of a new adventure,” Canda said. “My kids love it here. There are great schools and soccer.”
Polinsky, a longtime Gig Harbor resident, worked for the Henrys on the wholesale side of the business.
“Michelle asked if I’d like to help open and run the store,” she said. “I was excited about the opportunity. The store is only five minutes from my home.”
Both women said they enjoy sharing managerial duties.
The sister stores share some orders, but Canda and Polinsky work to tailor the merchandise Gig Harbor clients.
“Gig Harbor has a bit younger clientele with young moms and families,” Canda said. “We try to cater to them with our selections. We want to have something for everyone and for people to find a treasure around every corner without breaking anyone’s bank. There are $2 rings for little girls, small trinkets and gifts for friends or yourself.”
Polinsky said customers appreciate they keep the store open longer than others downtown.
“They can pick up a gift on the way home,” she said. “We also have good price points.”
“These are great prices,” she said. “It’s refreshing to see.”
Polinsky said more than 200 people stopped by during their open house.
Both managers said they appreciate the support from the City of Gig Harbor, the chamber of commerce and the Downtown Waterfront Alliance.
Canda and Polinsky are looking forward to holding community events like Pink of Trick at Halloween and Ladies Night Out in November.
“I love working here,” Canda said. “It’s a close, family-run company and lots of fun.”Lifestyles Coordinator Kim Eibel can be reached at 253-358-4152 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter, @gateway_kim.