Toy store set to return to downtown Olympia

Staff writerMarch 18, 2014 

Ella Bayer, 8, holds a tyrannosaurus rex head as she shops with her parents, Eric and Wendy Bayer of Olympia, during the going-out-of-business sale at Wind Up Here toy store in downtown Olympia on Saturday, March 1, 2014.

TONY OVERMAN — Staff Photographer Buy Photo

Paul Shepherd, the longtime owner of downtown Olympia gift store Compass Rose, was so moved by the recent closure of Wind Up Here that he has decided to open a new toy store in the same downtown location.

Wind Up Here, which operated for 20 years at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Washington Street, closed earlier this month. Inventory was liquidated the weekend of March 1 and by Sunday the shelves were bare.

The new toy store, which Shepherd is hoping to open the first weekend in August, will be co-owned by Shepherd and Alana Carr, the store manager of Compass Rose.

“We think this is so important for downtown,” Shepherd said.

He also said he wants to continue the legacy of bringing toys and children to a store similar to Wind Up Here, which anchored downtown for so many years.

Shepherd was vacationing in Mexico when he learned by email that Wind Up Here was set to close. He said he was shocked by the news.

Signs are expected to be put up this week at Wind Up Here’s former 4,000-square-foot location, announcing that the new store is coming, Shepherd said.

He also plans to hire former Wind Up Here employees and sell similar toys, with an emphasis on toys that help children learn.

Shepherd has owned Compass Rose for more than 15 years, selling gift items such as jewelry, accessories, kitchen items and some toys, which gives him some familiarity with the toy-selling business, he said.

“We have a lot of experience and think we can take this challenge on,” Shepherd said.

Former Wind Up Here co-owner Brekke Hewitt could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

She bought the business about six years ago with her mother, then remodeled the business in the spring of 2012.

She told The Olympian this month that the cost of doing business downtown had become more financially difficult over the years. Hewitt hinted at some of those challenges when she talked to The Olympian about the store remodel, saying one of her intentions was to treat the store windows so that graffiti could be easily removed.

Hewitt expressed her gratitude for the store’s nine employees and hundreds of loyal customers.

“We can’t do it anymore,” Hewitt said in March. “We’re heartbroken to be leaving.”

Rolf Boone: 360-754-5403

Rolf Boone 360-754-5403

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