Port Townsend's About Time clothing store moves into new historical location
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About Time owner Jeannine Kempees arranges the jewelry wall while preparing for reopening the store in its new location, 830 Water St. in Port Townsend. —Photo by Charlie Bermant/Peninsula Daily News

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND — A clothing store that has operated in four downtown locations during the past 31 years has moved to its fifth, with a more modern, fashionable feel.

“It feels more upscale,” said About Time owner Jeannine Kempees of the store's new location in the Eisenbeis Building at 830 Water St.

“People will love the new space because it looks and feels more chic.”

The store moves from the Hastings Building, 839 Water St., where it was located since 2000, to make way for the building's expected renovation into a boutique hotel.

Previously, the store was owned and operated by Janice Speck in one location on Tyler Street and two other Water Street spaces.

The store had a “soft opening” last Saturday and has scheduled a grand opening event from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.

It begins with coffee and doughnuts from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. From 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., Julie from Face of Grace will be on hand to do women's makeup and clothing color palettes, and the champagne corks will pop at 4 p.m.

The move is the culmination of a long renovation road for the Eisenbeis Building, which faced foreclosure followed by a four-month period where the outside was rehabilitated.

Aside from About Time, the building also houses Joglo, an importer of Asian goods, and nine residential condos.

Three residential units are sold with five left and one offer pending, according to real estate broker Michelle Sandoval.

Joglo, operated by Phil and Bonnie Christofferson for five years, is also expanding. The upstairs business has added a lower level, although the two floors are not yet connected.

Joglo's second floor now looks over About Time's space, with the new wood floors emphasized.

“It's great to have them here,” Phil Christofferson said of the new tenants.

“The end of the renovations have given us a better visibility after last year's sidewalk repair and the scaffolding that was in front of the building this year.”

“There's new life here,” Kempees said.

“There's finally activity in this building after all the renovations.”

Aside from the polished wood floors, About Time has a more open feel than the previous two-story space.

“I was given the opportunity to express my personality in the aesthetics of the new store and create what you see here from raw space,” Kempees said.

“I think people will love to shop here.”

Kempees said Port Townsend has an “anything goes” fashion sense.

“You can get away with anything,” she said.

“You can dress like a Victorian woman all your life, wear a hoodie all the time or just put on a great pair of boots and call it good.”

Charles Eisenbeis, the first mayor of Port Townsend, constructed the building that bears his name in 1873 as a 20-foot-by-60-foot single-story structure — the first stone edifice in Port Townsend, according to the Jefferson County Historical Society.

Since that time, the building has housed a clothing store, hotel, movie theater and hardware store.

The building was purchased in 2005 for $4.4 million by Marlies Egberding and Ritch Sorgen, operating as Cracker Factory, with the goal of creating a shared retail and residence space.

The renovation included the construction of nine luxury condominiums. None was sold during the economic downturn that began in 2008.

Egberding and Sorgen lost the building in 2009 when it was taken over by Frontier Bank, which was itself closed and absorbed into Union Bank in 2010.

The sale of the building was finalized in December 2012 to a newly created corporation known as Port Townsend Associates LLC for about $900,000.

For more information, phone About Time at 360-385-4795 or Joglo at 360-379-2410.

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Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or cbermant@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: January 20. 2014 7:11PM
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