Each time Wendy Marshall towed a dolly packed with ornaments, display trees and other holiday nicknacks down Central Way, she couldn’t believe she had so much Christmas inventory.
But now, the owner of Chalet Cadeau is all settled in at her new dedicated year-round Chalet Cadeau Christmas store, just seven doors down from her main store. And she no longer has to hassle with her holiday inventory during Christmas time.
Chalet Cadeau, which Marshall operated in Kenmore for nine years before moving to Kirkland in 2007, offers gifts, collectibles and items of home décor, from glassware and jewelry to stuffed animals and baby items.
“For 11 years, when the Christmas season has come, right after labor day typically (Wendy) would have to create space to display Christmas trees and ornaments — it was a massive effort,” said her husband, Jeff.
Originally, she had a dedicated space for Christmas stock within her larger, 5,000-square-foot store, but it was a tight fit. So then she interspersed holiday items between regular products throughout the store.
“She’d enjoy Christmas day for about five minutes knowing that the next day she’d be coming back in to spend another week tearing the whole store apart, putting all the Christmas stuff back and then trying to rearrange all of the regular store,” Jeff recalled.
The task led Wendy to want a separate Christmas store. The new location, at 116 Central Way, was the fourth opportunity that presented itself and the couple is glad the location is so convenient for them and their loyal patrons, many who have followed them from Kenmore.
Jeff says the new location, which has 1,800 square feet of display space, will allow patrons “to experience the full effect of the Christmas store separately. So they get to appreciate it a bit more.”
The new store will fill a unique niche in Kirkland, Jeff said, noting how the only two known Christmas stores in the area have closed down, including Dennis Brown’s store near Marina Park that recently shut down after 14 years.
Chalet Cadeau’s offerings include ornaments, display trees and a variety of Christmas stockings. One display shelf in the front of the store is packed full of hand-sculpted Christmas carolers from the Byers Choice collection. Other displays include Peggy Karr fused glass, winter-themed whimsical characters from Woof N Poof and holiday Lolita glassware — the No. 1 seller last year at the main store.
Over the years, Wendy has enjoyed serving her customers and “loves wrapping gifts for people and having them walk out with a smile on their face,” Jeff said, adding the new location will also offer free gift wrapping, just like the main store.
And now that the couple has solved their Christmas dilemma, they will just have one last hassle to contend with in years to come.
“(Wendy’s) basic philosophy is to carry items that she would want for herself,” Jeff said, smiling. “So the business man in me tells her, ‘OK, when you finally decide that you’re done and you’re going to retire, we’ve got to figure out how we’re going to sell off your inventory.’ I have a feeling a lot of it’s going to end up in our house.”