Hawks Prairie Home Furnishings’ store on Olympia’s west side received a surprise this week after a “return to sender” piece of furniture arrived with 25 pounds of marijuana inside.
The ottoman, most commonly used to rest your feet on when sitting in a chair, was confiscated by Olympia police Thursday morning, said store owner Jeff Olson.
Olympia Police Lt. Paul Lower said Olson called the police Thursday and police do have a lead in the case, which has been referred to the Thurston County Narcotics Task Force.
The package arrived this week from South Carolina. The person who had shipped the package used Hawks Prairie Home Furnishings for the return address. It was delivered by Federal Express and marked “refused,” Olson said.
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Unsure of what to do with it, the store employees let the package sit for a day and then got a whiff of an unusual odor. That’s when the package was opened and they discovered several bags of pot inside.
“Someone’s going to be upset,” said Olson, adding that he also experienced a “whiff of fear.”
Olson couldn’t rule out that an employee might have done it, he said. Hawks Prairie Home Furnishings is in the middle of a liquidation sale, and has recently brought on more people to help. Once the sale is complete, the business will close its west Olympia and Lacey locations, Olson said.
Olson launched the business about 10 years ago and it grew. He started by selling furniture online, then opened a storefront in Lacey, followed by the west Olympia location two years ago.
But after years of growth and hiring and buying inventory, the business experienced a dip in sales. He also lost the lease on his west Olympia site after a dispute with the landlord. That’s when Olson decided to close the business.
He and his wife also ran a boutique in downtown Olympia called Lola that closed last year.
“Retail is a really tough industry,” he said.
Hawks Prairie Home Furnishings is expected to close after Labor Day.