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Eco-Friendly Shop Finds Niche In Olympia

Jim Finnel

Fallen Cannabis Warrior & Ex News Moderator
by Rolf Boone
The Olympian

OLYMPIA — Tucked snugly into one of downtown’s historic buildings is a new business that sells Puget Sound driftwood hand-carved into walking sticks and canes.



Earth Sticks, at 206 Fourth St. W. in the Angelus building downtown, was launched by former California resident Dirk Dahl.

Dahl used to operate an art gallery in Santa Monica, Calif. — a business that continues to have an online presence — but said that after noticing that his kids were growing up too fast without him, he and his family decided to move north and change lifestyles.

“Everybody in Santa Monica is in a hurry,” Dahl said.

On their drive up, the Dahls considered moving to Oregon but finally bought a home and settled in Olympia.

“We drove into Washington and decided this is it,” Dirk Dahl said.

The Dahls’ Olympia home, which is near the shores of Puget Sound, also was the inspiration for Earth Sticks.

With plenty of driftwood nearby, Dahl began carving the wood into walking sticks and canes. Three months later, he had enough inventory and opened his business in April.

Besides the walking sticks, some of which have “wise men” faces and wild salmon carved into them, the business has stuck with an eco-friendly theme by selling a line of products made from hemp.

Those include hemp handbags, shirts, sweatpants and hats, Dahl said.

The business also sells hemp bars, muscle rubs and even dog leashes.

“The inventory is growing based on the needs of Olympia,” he said.

Jennifer Turin of Olympia recently bought a walking stick for her son, Nathan, after he requested one to help him walk around with a sprained ankle.

“I thought it was very nice,” Turin said about the business.

She said the store offered a range of walking sticks at different prices, and her son’s was cut to size.

However, specialty retailers face more challenges selling to niche markets, certified business adviser Celia Nightingale said. Nightingale is the director of the Small Business Development Center at South Puget Sound Community College.

But if the business finds its market and customers find the business, it can result in success, she said.

Earth Sticks should appeal to environmentally conscious customers in Olympia, and the business is in a good location, she said.

Because Earth Sticks is surrounded by other shops, such as antique dealers, already-established customer traffic should help the business, she said.

So far, Dahl is pleased with how the community has responded to Earth Sticks.

“People have been thanking me for opening the store when I should be thanking them,” he said.

Eco-friendly shop finds niche in Olympia - Business - The Olympian - Olympia, Washington
 
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