Snoqualmie’s historic downtown district welcomed a brand-new business to the area on July 27 as Carousel Gift Shop held its grand opening and ribbon cutting on the corner of Southeast King Street and Railroad Avenue.
Carousel isn’t a completely new business. Owner Joelle Gibson explained that her mother Linda Gibson opened the store in 1989 in Sammamish. Since then Carousel has operated out of Sammamish, specializing in gifts, seasonal merchandise, jewelry and souvenirs. Joelle and her sister Alyssa have been running the business since taking it over from their mother.
The move to Snoqualmie came from a desire to have a more year-round business. Joelle said the first couple of weeks have been fun because they are not used to getting a lot of summer customers. Because of tourism in the city, the falls and to the many recreation opportunities in the area, they have seen much more activity during the summer months.
On July 27, Joelle, her family and her staff held a grand opening celebration and ribbon cutting at the store. Snoqualmie Mayor Matt Larson welcomed them to the city and Joelle gave a speech to the crowd about her history and the goals for the business in Snoqualmie.
“So I’ve been looking for a space that felt like it did back in 1989 that my parents found. I wanted to find a new space that would serve the needs of local community — just real community centered,” she said. “We have our local residents we are getting to know on a daily basis. We have our huge customer base form our Sammamish store that has been visiting us daily and coming in. So we are going to serve a need by bringing more people into the community with customers that we’ve already established and the tourists as well.”
Joelle said that they have been meeting and making friends with local residents every day and that they are trying to learn what kinds of changes and adaptations they will need to make for the Snoqualmie Valley. Joelle is also planning for additional projects in the near future, such as changing how the room in the back of the store will be used.
“A second phase of our business is going to be the back room,” she said. “Within the next six months, optimistically, it’s going to be retail wine sales with a tasting bar as well and partnering with local wineries friends and family to offer local wine and put together baskets.”
Linda, founder of Carousel, was happy that she has seen a mix of new people and familiar faces at the ribbon cutting event.
“I’m very proud to see my daughter continue what we’ve worked so hard for and she’s doing a wonderful job. Her dad and I are there to support her,” she said.