With the holiday season fast approaching, you may be getting into the holiday spirit by taking part in that annual age-old tradition of obsessing over your gift list. Well, don’t fret. Aside from being rich in natural beauty, Skagit Valley is dotted with many locally-owned shops offering one-of-a-kind, handmade, high-quality goods. Some of the wares are from faraway lands, others are made with materials grown right here in the region. Shopping local keeps dollars in our economy as well as providing opportunities to meet area artists and merchants. Here is a partial list of places to shop local in Skagit Valley this Holiday season.
For the Clothes-Obessed
The Mercantile Department at Skagit Valley Food Co-op
The Co-op Building, 202 South First Street, Mount Vernon
The Mercantile Department, on the second floor of the Skagit Valley Food Co-op, was voted Skagit’s Best Gift Shop in 2020 for good reason, It’s a one-stop destination offering handmade jewelry (like boho-inspired Otra Vez jewels from Seattle); organic clothing; eco-friendly kitchen supplies; books; candles; toys; and so much more. The locally-owned store carries thousands of items from companies that prioritize sustainability and fair trade. Stickers are especially popular at the Merc, and make great stocking stuffers.
Pac Nor Westy
105 First Street, La Conner
Founded in 2017, the clothing store, Pac Nor Westy, celebrates the spirit of the Pacific Northwest with a clean modern aesthetic, sprinkled with a sense of humor. The shop’s popular, locally designed Fir Real line of sweatshirts, hoodies and tees are printed with eco-friendly water-based inks and are made in America. When possible, Pac Nor Westy uses recycled materials and organic cotton in its apparel. In addition to making high-quality and long-lasting clothing, the company also carries goods from small batch makers, who capture the flavor of the Pacific Northwest, with products like candles and greeting cards.
For the Foodies
5766 Cains Court, Bow
Breadfarm, the beloved family-owned artisanal bakery in Edison, has been feeding Skagit Valley and beyond with hearth-baked goodies since 2003. Their deliciously chewy sourdough breads are naturally leavened, and have a deep brown crunchy crust. The Danishes are buttery and flaky—to die for. To support local farmers, Breadfarm uses fresh local ingredients. Their flour, potatoes, blueberries, honey and eggs all come from the region. Pre-orders of their flavorful, high-quality treats are being accepted for the upcoming holidays.
700 South First Street, Mount Vernon
Master chocolatier Karen Neugebauer of Forte Chocolates makes award-winning hand-crafted truffles, caramels and chocolate bars right here in Mount Vernon. Her favorite is the Forte Orange Jazz Bar, made with 64% classic dark chocolate and infused with zest and oils from Cara Cara oranges. Known in the industry for her flavorful luxury creations that taste as beautiful as they look, Neugebauer says she actually hears music when tasting food. “I create a symphony in every bite,” she says.
Water Tank Bakery
11777 Water Tank Road, Burlington
Opened in June of 2021, the Water Tank Bakery is an exciting new addition to the burgeoning value-added agriculture scene at the Port of Skagit by Skagit Regional Airport. With Washington State University Bread Lab and King Arthur Flour’s Baking School as neighbors, owner and baker, Rachael Sobczak uses strictly fresh, nutritious stone-milled flour from Cairnspring Mills—located right next door—to produce artisanal breads, cookies and seasonal treats. Indulge in boxes of their holiday cookies or their ginger bread cake with chocolate ganache topping.
Handmade For Everyone
Bunkhouse Boutique on South Fork Farms
19115 Dike Road, Mount Vernon
Bunkhouse Boutique on South Fork Farms sells all things alpaca. Situated on five acres of pasture land along the Skagit River, (approximately 2.3 miles north of Conway and five miles south of downtown Mount Vernon) the shop offers an array of natural alpaca yarn products. These include fibers; clothing; bird nest balls; cat balls; felted soaps; and stuffed animals. Gary and Ruth Wiegand, third-generation farmers, have been raising alpacas since 2004. The alpaca fleece is warm, durable, light-weight, cuddly soft and versatile.
5787 Cains Court, Bow
Hedgerow, located in the picturesque artist enclave of Edison, is an elegant lifestyle shop carrying a mixture of vintage and modern apparel, as well as home goods. The cozy, former telephone exchange building, built in the 1900s, features handmade, high-quality items personally curated by owner Christy Erickson, a former landscape designer. Some things that reflect her sophisticated aesthetics and attention to quality include glazed bowls from Japan, eau de parfume from Sweden and a beautiful handmade, saddle-stitched leather tote from Guemes Island.
Indigo Dreams Fiber Studio
5821 Cains Court, Bow
Housed in a former firehouse, Indigo Dreams is a shop like no other. Walking into the light-filled store is like entering the playful landscape of textile artist Janeen Doi’s imagination. You’ll see giant felted jelly fish hanging from the ceiling; mannequins with cute sheep faces wearing woolen tops; and the sun shining through beautiful one-of-a-kind eco printed fabrics imprinted with alder and maple leaves. Felted shams and animals crocheted from alpaca yarn are also available as unique holiday gifts.
The Lucky Dumpster
14011 Mactaggart Avenue, Bow
The Lucky Dumpster, a funky artist consignment shop owned by James Reisen, sells only handmade goods. The items are as varied as they are plentiful, including children’s clothes made with vintage fabrics; wood furniture; bags; greeting cards; pottery; buttons; and jewelry. It’s a treasure hunter’s paradise of originality and whimsy.
handmade. la conner
106 First Street, Suite D, La Conner
handmade. la conner, founded by Robyn Bradley in 2008, is a modern apothecary/gift shop located in historic downtown La Conner. In its production kitchen, you can watch staff members making soaps, lotions, and skincare products by hand, with clean, natural ingredients. They even produce a hand sanitizer containing 78% ethyl alcohol, vegetable-based glycerin and hyaluronic acid, leaving hands feeling luxuriously moisturized. If someone on your list has four legs and a name like Fido or Snoopy, check out the all-natural dog-grooming line, which was inspired by Henrietta, Bradley’s rescue pooch.
605 First Street, La Conner
Don’t miss Sempre Italiano (Always Italian) if you love hand-painted Italian ceramics. Owner Laura Chiusano works with small family artisans in Florence, Chianti, Orvieto, Vietri and Sicily, to bring back lead-free, usable Italian art to Skagit County. There are bowls and platters in bold and vibrant colors, as well as in neutral antico bianco. Before the pandemic, Chiusano and her husband, Raffaele, led cultural expeditions to Italy. They hope to lead two tours to the Umbria and Puglia regions in the fall in 2022.
The Wood Merchant
709 South First Street, La Conner
A staple of La Conner’s downtown shopping district for 38 years, The Wood Merchant gallery represents about 200 independent woodworkers. They make everything from tables and rocking chairs to toys and games, as well as housewares, purses and boxes. Each creation is constructed in America from solid hard woods, resulting in durable, quality, lifetime pieces meant to be passed on from generation to generation. Salad bowls are among their top selling items.