‘Hybrid’ Marina Market celebrates 15 years

Marina Market customers including Miss Poulsbo and the mayor, celebrated the shop
Marina Market customers including Miss Poulsbo and the mayor, celebrated the shop's 15th anniversary on Dec. 14.
— image credit: Richard D. Oxley / North Kitsap Herald

POULSBO — It’s become renowned for its beer selection, a destination for tourists and locals alike, and the mayor’s No. 1 go-to source for creamed roe in a tube.

“Marina (Market) has been doing it 15 years now,” said Mark Hood, craft beer brewer and store customer.

“You look around in the store and there is stuff from everywhere, and good stuff at great prices.”

“It’s a gem,” he added. “We are lucky to have it on our side of the water.”

Marina Market celebrated 15 years in business on Dec. 14. The celebration included a ribbon cutting in front of the store with owners Jonathan and Andrea Rowe, Mayor Becky Erickson, Miss Poulsbo Makenzie Moody, and customers.

“I’m glad to make it to 15 years,” Jonathan Rowe said. “It’s been a tough few years in the economy and we run lean and mean, and we are glad to still be around.”

The Rowes first opened their market at the waterfront wharf in 1998, but moved the shop to its current location at 18882 Front St. in 2000.

Today, the market is not only a destination for locals in search of packaged lutefisk, but also for visitors to Poulsbo.

“To me, this is one of the things that makes Poulsbo awesome,” Hood said. “It’s not tourist traps. It’s reasons for tourists to come, and that's a real big distinction. It’s not just something that is trying to cater to tourists, it’s a reason for people to actually come here.”

The festivities on Dec. 14 mostly took place inside the downtown market, where faithful supporters filled the aisles, tasted beer and cheese, and pointed to their favorite one-of-a-kind products on the store’s shelves.

For some, it was the gag gifts — such as anime glasses or an emergency underwear dispenser. For others, it was the line up of foreign canned goods, or the range of more than 250 kinds of licorice.

“It’s a hybrid store,” Rowe said. “We sell a lot of imported food. We’ve got a great selection of imported cheese. Licorice, we are famous for. We have a variety of things that fit the town in terms of the Norwegian heritage here. We sell a lot of Norwegian and Scandinavian products, even cross-cultural products like from Germany. Whatever customers ask for, we try to sell.”

For many, the market’s attraction is the impressive array of craft beers throughout the store.

“It’s the beer store on the peninsula, without a doubt,” Hood said. “On the west side of the Sound, there’s nothing even close. Even in Seattle, this would be a very, very high-end beer store — just the beer, not to mention the fact they have foods from all over the world.”

Hood appreciates the store so much, he made a special brew for the 15th anniversary — a Belgian-style Quadrupel. It’s a dark ale aged in Tennessee straight whiskey barrels.

“When you age in the barrel, you get the barrel character,” Hood said. “You get the vanilla, you get the oak tannins like you get in a red wine. It makes everything softer and smoother.”

Customers agreed as they discussed the brew while tasting the market’s own beer.

Customers were also treated to tastes from Golden Glen Creamery, based in Bow, one of the brands the market carries.

For the Rowes, it was another nice day behind the counter, engaging with their customers.

“I’m glad people are showing up to celebrate with,” Rowe said. “And I’m looking forward to cracking open some beer.”

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