Olyphant owners used to changing scenery

Art shop’s local history evolves with new locations

Staff writerJune 15, 2014 

  • OLYPHANT ART & MEDIA

    Formerly Olyphant Art Supply & Framing

    Location: 117 Washington St. NE, Olympia, soon to move to 119 Fifth Ave. SE and occupy the storefront left vacant by Whodunit? Books.

    Owners: J.B. and Nick Baldridge.

    Years in business: Olyphant opened in 2010.

    Hours: 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Saturday; noon-6 p.m. Sundays. Tentative hours at new location: 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday through Friday; 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturdays; 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sundays.

    Advice to business owners: Do your research, think carefully about location, don’t grow too fast and work with the right partner.

    Online: theolyphant.com.

    Did you know?The business has gallery space in its current location. Through the end of June, Olyphant is showing a collection of work produced by illustrator Maxfield Parrish. Olyphant is a mashup of Olympia and elephant, an animal the brothers respect. Linda Dewberry, the former owner of Whodunit? Books, said in February that she had put the business up for sale. If it didn’t sell, the store would be closed, she said.

Olyphant owners and 30-something brothers J.B. and Nick Baldridge moved from Denver to Olympia and then opened their first business downtown on Fifth Avenue in 2010.

From there, they moved to Washington Street for a few years, and now they’re going to move again, set to occupy in July the former space on Fifth Avenue left vacant by Whodunit? Books at 119 Fifth Ave. SE.

This time the move will be more than a relocation, the brothers having decided to rethink their business a bit.

Business co-owner and artist Nick Baldridge, who continues to do commission art work on the side, recalled the day he first got the idea for the business.

Hired to design a record cover, he set out in search of sketch paper, but couldn’t find any, quickly realizing that the market was in need of an art supply store.

He and his brother were right, opening a small storefront on Fifth Avenue, next door to Rainy Day Records, that was discovered by customers and allowed them to grow.

Eventually they expanded to a larger location on Washington Street, but it’s tough to be the one-stop art supply business for everyone.

So they’re taking a portion of their business online, they said.

They’ll still stock key items — paint, brushes, pens, markers, inks and journals — but for other supplies they will point customers in the direction of their website, which they plan to convert into an e-commerce site, offering free pickup at the store.

They’ll also no longer offer framing services, but do plan to sell rare and hard-to-find art, culture and fashion magazines, plus locally printed T-shirts.

Once the business moves, which is expected to take place in July, they’ll be near Darby’s, Capitol Theater and 5th Ave. Sandwich next door, three places that will cater nicely to their business. Need a magazine to read before the movie starts or while you enjoy your meal? Olyphant will have them, Nick Baldridge said.

To help with the move, the website and some renovations, they are launching a fundraising campaign on the crowdfunding site Indiegogo.com. The campaign will run from June 14 through July 13. The goal is to raise $6,000 before expenses.

They still plan to move if they fall short of their fundraising goal, Baldridge said. They also hope to coordinate their new location grand opening with that of the toy store that is set to fill the space left vacant by Wind Up Here.

Rolf Boone: 360-754-5403

rboone@theolympian.com

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