Business

Scrapbooking store caters to the creative type

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SNOQUALMIE - A new business at the Railroad Building in Snoqualmie is a combination art space, art store, computer lab and copy store.

It's called U-do-it and owner Anita Westeren believes her store can help anyone find something to make that is fun, creative and enduring.

Westeren's new business could be called a scrapbook store, a relatively new invention for an emerging art market based around do-it-yourself memory making and card design. While art supply stores have long provided the rough materials for scrapbooking, scrapbook stores are catered to the specific tools needed for those wanting to create not only something artistic, but something personalized and functional as well.

"It's addictive," she said.

The first and foremost material in scrapbooking is paper. Westeren has between 350-400 different kinds of paper dominating one wall in her store. She selects the paper from 50 different vendors and is always looking for a new or unique color or pattern.

The rest of the store is dedicated to what can be done to that paper and what to put it in or on. Stencils, markers, glues, stickers, scissors, ribbons and more are all available at the store. Westeren also got a custom-made table that seats 12 for the store in case anyone wants to work on a project and use the tools U-do-it provides free. There also is a small play area for children to keep them busy while mom or dad works on a project. There is plenty of opportunity for children to work though, as Westeren placed construction paper on the lowest shelf so younger scrapbookers could access it easily.

"We are kid friendly," Westeren said.

The creativity and spontaneity of scrapbooking is what draws people in and it is what drew Westeren to the business. She opened the store earlier this month after thinking of what she wanted to do for herself following a career as a bookkeeper for a construction business. Westeren always had enjoyed scrapbooking and was often asked to put together invitations and announcements for friends. Hanging around art stores and her own interest in scrapbooking gave her a background in what people like and where to get it. With all the experience and creativity behind her, opening a business was a logical next step.

Westeren, who lives near Preston, investigated North Bend, Fall City and Snoqualmie for shop space and instantly liked what she found at the Railroad Building. It was the perfect size and even had a view of Mount Si out the back window.

"I really like being in Snoqualmie," she said. "The people here are so friendly. It feels like you have been here for quite some time."

Scrapbooking stores have been around for about eight years, but what sets U-do-it apart from others is the addition of technology, Westeren said. While all scrapbook and art stores have a wide variety of supplies, U-do-it also has a network that connects two computers to a copy machine and a scanner. Customers can come to the store and add to their projects whatever pictures or graphics they can copy or scan. The computers have a full suite of photo and scrapbooking programs and both have high-speed Internet access.

U-do-it will continue to grow as well. Westeren is always looking for new products and she said she wants to double the current inventory of her store before she is satisfied with her stock. With so much to create from so many different materials, she can never have enough.

"There are oodles of things to do," she said.

* U-do-it is located at 8130 Railroad Ave., Snoqualmie. They can be reached at (425) 888-8646.

Ben Cape can be reached at (425) 888-2311 or by e-mail at ben.cape@valleyrecord.com.

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