‘More of Swain’s’: Port Angeles store expanding into space left by neighbor
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Swain’s General Store management, from left, merchandise manager Mike Mudd, store co-owner Ryan Gedlund and store manager Don Droz, stand in the former Pacific Appliances, TV and Refrigeration store that will become an expanded retail space for the adjoining Swain’s in Port Angeles. —Photo by Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News

By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — Customers of Swain’s General Store can expect more of what they’ve come to love from the family-owned shop after an expansion project is finished, store managers say.

“Mostly more of Swain’s,” said Ryan Gedlund, one of three co-owners of the store, when asked what the expansion will bring.

“We’re trying to keep the same feel. [We] don’t want to change the store.”

Swain’s, which is at 602 E. First St., is expanding next door into an area that once held Pacific Appliances, TV and Refrigeration.

The addition will increase Swain’s retail space by some 4,200 to 4,500 square feet.

Now offering goods in 28,000 square feet on two floors, Swain’s soon will have between 32,200 square feet and 32,500 square feet of shopping area.

The additional space is leased from the building’s owner, Margaret Hassel, whose son, Dave Hassel, retired and closed Pacific late last year, Gedlund said.

“It’s been a longstanding relationship with [the Hassels],” he said.

Renovations in the new space have started. Gedlund didn’t know Friday when the work would be completed.

“[Renovation crews have] pretty much gutted the building and started to suit it to us,” said Gedlund, who owns the store with his brother, Aaron Gedlund, and sister, Kasandra Welch.

The store is not expected to close during the transition into the new space, Ryan Gedlund added.

Swain’s is a landmark place that offers a variety of wares ranging from home improvement to clothing and shoes, from hunting and fishing supplies to toys and guns, from gardening supplies to home furnishings and other items.

Shoppers can have keys made or look at their choices while munching popcorn, and workers are known for their advice to do-it-yourselfers.

The expansion is the third since Gedlund’s grandfather, Cliff Swain, opened the store in 1957 with about 6,000 square feet of retail space.

The goal of the expansion, which will not affect Swain’s second floor, is to give customers more space as they shop, Gedlund said.

“Basically, we’re just trying to make it better for every customer,” he said.

The back of the existing Swain’s will be shifted into the Pacific Appliances, TV and Refrigertion space, Gedlund said, meaning space will be added to the checkout area at Swain’s entrance.

Swain’s hardware counter and paint department will be moved into the new space and expanded, he added.

The addition also will mean new restrooms for the store, Gedlund said.

Swain’s current restrooms are showing their age and are often hard for customers to find.

“We’re just trying to improve on what [we’ve] got,” he said.

Gedlund said he and his co-owners have thought for years Swain’s needed to expand, though plans for the current shift came together within the past year as Hassel announced plans to retire.

“We never knew when that opportunity was going to come,” Gedlund said.

Sales at Swain’s have remained strong through the economic downturn, he said.

“We’ve been blessed to be able to expand the store with the kind of economy we have,” he said.

“We’re lucky to be able to do it.”

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Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at jschwartz@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: April 26. 2014 5:07PM
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