Changes are being made at a favorite destination in Allyn. The Northwest Experience gallery and gift shop, which once offered 270 lines of gift items and many flavors of ice cream cones and espresso drinks, is narrowing its focus and getting a new name.
After 12 years, owner George Kenny has chosen to downsize to only one location — the downtown Allyn site where the business started — and to eliminate anything that doesn’t have to do with chainsaw wood carving or the chainsaw carving school.
A couple of favorite sayings have helped Kenny with his decision. Downsizing from four stores (which included Poulsbo and Snoqualmie locations) to one is based on lessons learned from a “big boat creates a lot of leaks.” And, changing the inventory at the old, original, “steady Eddie store” is a result of believing that “if you try to stay the same, you are always going backwards,” he says.
Kenny says he is looking forward to coming back to Allyn where he and his carvers have created some popular attractions. One of the first was the totem pole at the Port of Allyn featuring a fisherman, an orca and a canoe. Kenny and Charlie Hubbard carved the 30-foot totem about 10 years ago and donated it to the park.
The carving school will now become the focal point for the business. Kenny says the people taking his classes provide him with a broad selection of carvings to sell. He says he has about 600 carvings to offer and a very diverse selection of works.
Of the students who attend classes, about half are from out of state. This year’s students range from Vermont and New York, to Colorado and Texas. Some students make the carving school their working vacation. Even the store manager, Shari Stormo, took a carving class a couple of years ago. So along with continuing to run the shop and gallery, she can be found making finishing touches to carvings and creating some of her own.
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