By Garrett Stanley
A bustling crowd gathered at the new Pop Shops on Main awaiting the Grand Opening on a rainy Thursday afternoon, Nov. 18. Members and leaders of the community joined the business owners and their friends and family to welcome the new shops to the city.
The shops themselves are four small barns trimmed with white lights. Each one has a cozy and inviting feeling, even if they only fit a few people.
A few speakers, including a representative of Congresswoman Suzan DelBene, gave thanks to those who helped complete this project. They spoke of their excitement for the future of these shops.
Jeanie Ashe, the economic development manager for the city of Bothell, was enthusiastic about finishing the project and called on community members for their help.
“People need to show up and support them to help them succeed,” Ashe said.
Bothell’s Mayor Liam Olsen and councilmember Rosemary McAuliffe stood with the owners of the businesses and cut the ribbon, officially opening the four small shops.
The business owners then had the opportunity to welcome everyone into their shops for the first time to show what they had to offer.
Dani Clewell, the owner of HappyBodySoaps, has a selection of soaps in her shop that immediately invites you in with their pleasant smell.
“I make products from scratch. I make everything by hand in small batches,” Clewell said. “I’m sustainable and I don’t use plastic packaging, dyes, or perfumes.”
Clewell appreciates the opportunities this location will offer her and her business.
“I’m really excited about just being able to stay local— that was my main goal,” she said. “I did farmers’ markets in the area, so this is just an opportunity to meet my customers in person, which is where my heart is.”
Tara Bills, owner of The Painter, the Potter and the Puppeteer, is ready to share her family’s art at her store.
“We are a family of artists—myself, my daughter, and my daughter-in-law are all painters,” Bills said. “My mom is a ceramicist, so she’s the potter and my son and I are the puppet makers.”
Amongst her family’s colorful vases and paintings, Bills will offer up space to other artists.
“Every month, we are going to change out a featured artist from the community,” Bills said. “Along with the theme of the Pop Shops being women and minority-focused, I’m going to do the same thing so it will be women, LGBTQ, and BIPOC artists.”
Duha Mohamed, the president of Modern Family Solutions, is looking forward to providing people with fresh local produce.
“We have a lot of locally grown produce, specifically from BIPOC farmers in the area,” Mohamed said. “Folks can also purchase a box online and come pick it up here, or they can buy products individually. Our rotation of products is seasonal, so we currently have a lot of winter crops.”
Priyanka Arora, co-owner of Bo’Bell Jewels, is bringing her unique spin on jewelry to her store.
“It’s a one-stop shop for all kinds of jewelry, both Indian and Western styles,” Arora said. “However, our main focus is on the fusion jewelry that we handcraft ourselves. We are trying to best blend the fashions together. We have pieces that you won’t find anywhere else.”
The Pop Shops are now open Thursday through Sunday from noon to 6 p.m., all year round.