Despite her professional background in business finance, PennySue Larsen always had a fondness for the simple pleasures of creating delicious Scandinavian baked goods - something she started doing at age 9, thanks in part to a rich culture passed down from her Danish mother and Swedish father.
With four nearly grown boys at home ranging in age from 17 to 26, Larsen wanted to so something more personal and close to her heart. She had been pondering how to pursue that childhood love for quite a while when she happened upon downtown Cole Street and the site that formerly housed Suburban Soul on Cole, which closed earlier this year.
The building was perfect for what she envisioned would be a resort retail business, celebrating the destination of the Pacific Northwest and built around those baked goods she so loved as a child. "It's quiet yet has a touch of flair," she said. "You walk in and it has that resort feel to it."
And thus, Creekside of Enumclaw was born. Larsen had a soft opening last Thursday, Nov. 1, and despite a small inventory hiccup thanks to Hurricane Sandy, she's getting all systems up and running ahead of Creekside's official grand opening on Dec. 1.
In the current winter season, customers can find an assortment of apparel, candles and gifts, home decor accessories, skin care products and more. Larsen carries brands including Powderhorn Outerwear, Clara S resort eveningwear and Sun Bum sunscreen products downstairs, along with leather jackets and throws by the Montana Clothing Company.
She will also have available some winter recreational gear including snowboards, snowshoes, hiking poles and backpacks.
Upstairs, Larsen is helping to display the work of local furniture craftsmen and artists such as photographer Cathy Simpson in a space designated for visitors to take a load off and enjoy a hot drink, a glass of wine or a snack. The set up is modeled after the Swedish tradition of fika, or a coffee break.
While she gets her business ramped up, Larsen is currently sourcing her Scandinavian pastry offerings from a Northwest baker but aims to start producing her homemade baked goods after she gets things going. Creekside also carries baked goods from local baker Aaron Brenner.
Free wifi is available, and Larsen is rounding up talent to be able to provide live acoustic music every other Friday.
Basically what customers will find at Creekside is "everything you see at resorts," Larsen said.
The concept of a resort might seem intimidating to those on tight budgets who can't afford to splurge, but Larsen said the inventory she carries has something for everyone. "I want everyone to feel good when they walk through my door," she said.
And when the snow melts and the skis need to be put away in the summertime, Larsen's prepared as well to switch her inventory to includde paddleboards, camping equipment, and swim apparel.
With Enumclaw's close proximity to Crystal Mountain, it made sense to use the space to celebrate the outdoor culture of this area. "I wanted to capture what the essense of the Pacific Northwest was all about -- the outdoors, hiking and enjoying yourself in nature."
Creekside will celebrate its grand opening on Saturday, Dec. 1 along with the Kasey Kahne Store down the street. The first 100 people through the door get to sample Larsen's homemade cupcakes. There will be free coffee too.
The store at 1335 Cole Street is currently open 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays with extended hours to 10 p.m. on Fridays featuring acoustic music upstairs, and 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays. Closed Sundays.