Poulsbo enters 'shuffle mode'

"POULSBO - It may have all started when Sherlock's Antiques closed its doors at the end of July. Whispers began to emanate among business owners in the downtown core as to who would fill the spot. When Maggie Nehm, owner of Raven Blues, stepped forward and announced that she would be relocating at the corner site, most locals thought changes were over on Front Street - for the time being at least. Then Sarah Webb, owner of Sarah's Ladies Clothing, officially announced her retirement after 20 years in the business. Sandy Carlson and Joye Grunden, co-owners of Cat's Meow antiques, quickly opted to move into the near empty next door location at the end of the month. On the other end of the stretch, JoAnn Bodner's The Hiding Place Antiques, which has been cleaned out of its corner spot at 18978 NE Front Street, will be moving into the soon-to-be vacant Raven Blues on Oct. 7. The Poulsbo shuffle is on and Little Norway's business owners are ecstatic. We're really excited, Carlson explained from behind the counter at Cat's Meow. It's a larger store and we have a lot of new dealers coming in. Existing antique dealers at the store will stay with Cat's Meow as well, she added, noting that she and Grunden had been leasing the site 18940 NE Front Street for the past seven years. But when Webb decided to retire after an extensive career at 18946 NE Front Street (former home to the Elmo Theater) and sell the site, the two jumped at the chance. They move next door next month. It's kind of a scary step but not really, Carlson said. It'll be good for us. My husband always said, 'You've never leased a house, why lease a business.' Looking around at the thousands of antiques in the store though she seemed to be having some brief second thoughts. It's going to be hard moving it all, she admitted with a laugh. Nehm is in the same boat and will soon be packing up boxes at Raven Blues for the jaunt across the street. The move, she said, is being planned for Thursday night and while the new location at 18827 NE Front Street will likely be closed Friday for set-up purposes it could be open for business as soon as Saturday. It may be a rude awakening, but that's the idea, she joked. We're excited. Our customers are excited. Everyone's excited. It's just so wonderful because it's such a special place, Nehm added, explaining that the move, nonetheless, would be a huge undertaking. Webb is at the opposite end of the spectrum as just a few racks and a some odds and ends remaining. With her husband, Jack, doing some touch up painting around the store, Webb expressed her appreciation of her numerous customers. It's time, she said about her decision to retire. I think it's bittersweet because I will miss it and all the wonderful people I've met here over the years. Webb, who co-owns the building which houses Cat's Meow, said her last day in Sarah's would be Oct. 8 - almost 20 years to the day from when she first opened her doors. The store held its going out of business sale on Aug. 29. The sale was just wonderful, Webb remarked. It's been great In addition to the relocations, several businesses have recently changed hands and are in the process of being sold downtown. Poulsbo Music has been sold be Phil Baldy to Bruce Hecke, Sluy's Shoes has been purchased from Marion Sluys by Brian Ballestrasse and will soon be officially renamed Bellastrasse's Comfort Shoes. Also, the Viking Marine Center is reportedly in the process of changing ownership as well, according to owner Jennifer Warren. "

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