Simply Northwest: Sparkling with spirit of the season
~December 20th, 2018
Even before entering the Spokane Valley store, Simply Northwest greets customers with a window display so festive that Buddy the Elf would be proud.
Inside, the store is even more enchanting, with a swirl of red, green, and white hats, dishes, wall signs, and more among bright Christmas trees, a Santa figurine, and other jolly decorations.
Denielle Waltermire-Stuhlmiller, owner of Simply Northwest, says this is her season.
“I love Christmas and this time of year,” says Waltermire-Stuhlmiller. “It has this special, magical feel, and that’s what I want to provide for my staff and customers who come through the door.”
Located at 11806 E. Sprague, Simply Northwest offers more than Christmas wares. Although those window displays are holiday inspired, a number of other intricately designed displays within the 3,500-square-foot store feature other themes, including the Seahawks, lakes, wine and food, beauty products, and a Pacific Northwest and Washington state apparel section, with Sasquatch goods and all.
It also sells soft peanut brittle the company makes in a commercial kitchen above the store, she says.
Waltermire-Stuhlmiller says a number of goods are from the Pacific Northwest, and roughly 30 percent of the wine and food offerings in the gift shop are made within the Northwest.
Beyond the shop, Waltermire-Stuhlmiller says Simply Northwest is best known for the customized gift baskets the company curates for both corporate clients and individuals. Some gift baskets are mass produced, and others can be custom developed for each customer. Simply Northwest ships the baskets worldwide.
“We just got an order for a gentleman that’s a huge Cougs fan,” says Waltermire-Stuhlmiller. “We put in there our crimson and gray popcorn. We were able to put our Washington State University mustard in there and other fun items.”
She adds, “We get creative and can come up with something from pretty much any idea or theme that somebody has in mind, or help them come up with a theme if they aren’t quite sure.”
Baskets typically start at around $30, she says.
The company also specializes in corporate gift giving, she says. Simply Northwest can act as a link between businesses and manufacturers of customized goods, such as coffee mugs with a company’s logo, that the businesses can give as gifts to employees and clients.
Waltermire-Stuhlmiller says about 80 percent of the company’s sales occur during November and December.
This year has been the best yet for the store side of the company, and her business loan is now paid off, she says.
She declines to disclose Simply Northwest’s annual revenue, but says it’s projected to increase next year.
The company usually has six to eight employees, but that can double or triple during the holiday season, she says.
As for retail trends—sloths, pineapples, unicorns, mermaids, and llamas are popular this year, she says.
Waltermire-Stuhlmiller purchased Simply Northwest in 2011 from the original owner, Dee Scott, who founded the business in 1989. She worked as retail manager of the store for five years before Scott approached her about buying the business.
Waltermire-Stuhlmiller says she’s seen business grow significantly this year in part because of Simply Northwest’s social media marketing.
“It was the piece that didn’t see as much business,” she says. “I hope to see that and our corporate and gift basket services to continue to grow as well.”