Beachside Gifts spans four generations

POULSBO — The interior of Beachside Gifts in Poulsbo could easily be called a treasure chest.

Brimming with hand-picked antiques, jewelry, beach decor, greeting cards, candles, inspirational books and more, the Front Street shop is run by four friendly faces, each bearing an uncanny resemblance.

That’s because Beachside Gifts isn’t just a quaint Little Norway shop. It’s a family-run business spanning four generations, from 18 months to 81 years.

It all began when Lillian Christensen took up the hobby of collecting antiques. Passing the activity down to her daughter, Lori Simnioniw, and granddaughter, Amy Malave, the three went from collecting to showcasing their finds, to running a shop in Auburn for 15 years, and finally, to opening up a Poulsbo storefront.

And that’s where the littlest Beachside staff member comes in.

Amelia Malave, Amy’s daughter, has already learned to greet and bid customers farewell like a pro. Being able to bring her to work each day — as the group of four commutes from Federal Way together — is one of the major reasons behind setting up shop.

“It became a way to make some money without sending your kids to daycare,” Amy Malave said.

Simnioniw agreed.

“She’s our whole motivation for doing this,” she said.

But building the shop ground-up has been a welcome chance at family bonding as well.

“We want to be together,” said Simnioniw. She previously worked as an escrow officer, Christensen in the construction business.

And now the four offer carefully-chosen items, which also include personalized, American-made vintage signs and clothing lines for both men and women, from their store along Liberty Bay.

“There’s a lot of unique, one of a kind things,” Simnioniw said.

She and the rest have enjoyed becoming a part of the Poulsbo community since Beachside Gifts’ October 2007 opening.

“We love what we’re doing here,” she said. “We have met wonderful people, not just in Poulsbo but from the whole peninsula.”

And while the four have shifted from gathering mostly antiques to bringing in fine arrays of collectible gift items, the fondness of a shared activity has remained the same, as Christensen, Simnioniw and Malave make the trip to Poulsbo each day to continue building a business little Amelia will have many memories of growing up in.

“We love it, that’s why we do it,” Simnioniw said. “It’s a lot of fun.”

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