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2017 Best of Olympia: Linnea's

Readers' Pick: Best Gift Shop

Linnea Graham, owner, and her furry friends at Linnea’s ??" A Unique Boutique. Photo credit: Marguerite Cleveland

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When looking for the gift shop voted, "Best in Olympia," I didn't expect to find it in the lobby of the Capital Medical Center. With visions of shopworn teddy bears and tired floral arrangements in my head, Linnea's was a pleasant surprise.  The boutique is brightly colored and filled with an eclectic inventory of unique gifts, and one can easily see why it earned the "Best of" title.

Owner Linnea Grantham stumbled into the gift shop business a little over a year ago. "My husband and I are owners of Budd Bay Promotions and Apparel.  One of my clients was Capital Medical Group and they asked me if I knew anyone who would be interested in taking over the gift shop.  I discussed it with my husband and with his support I leaped right in," she said.

The store she inherited was painted brown and green with a dragon wallpaper border running below the ceiling. She began the project Nov. 5, 2015. After five weeks of painting, adding wallpaper and stocking the store, Linnea's - A Unique Boutique, opened in December of 2015.  "I wasn't sure what to buy so I conducted a survey with the hospital staff to see what they would like.  I could not have completed the project without the help of my family and friends," said Grantham. "Five of my girlfriends continue to help me. They each work one day a week and it is more a fun thing."

Grantham provides a much needed service to the busy staff working at the medical center. The boutique is a quick break during the day to pick out a gift. She then packs the gifts in a signature Linnea's bag with tissue and ribbon. "The staff has been so supportive. I have many repeat customers so I have to keep changing the inventory for those who drop in and ask, ‘what's new?'" she said.

"Our only advertising is social media.  We are getting more and more customers just coming into shop based on a social media post they saw. The store is very easy to find and parking is plentiful at the medical center," said Grantham.

When entering the shop you can't help but notice the eye-catching stuffed animals tucked around the room.  "Odette the ostrich is our best seller.  The minimum order for the animals was pricey and I wasn't sure if they would sell.  The rep let me keep Odette to see how she would sell.  Within 10 minutes, on opening day, someone offered to buy her. We came to an arrangement that Odette would stay in the shop and she could pick her up later in the month. We took orders that first month.  Now we carry a variety of the animals and they are our number one seller.  Retailing at $30-$32, these are not a little kid's stuffed animal. They are great for cheering up someone in the hospital, and many of the staff collect them," added Grantham.

If you are in the market for a distinctive gift, stop by Linnea's, after all, her shop is the "Best Gift Shop in Olympia".

Linnea's - A Unique Boutique, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday-Friday; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, starting April 1, 3900 Capital Mall Dr. SW, 360.704.4777

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