Lemolo Market closing up shop

Owners of the Lemolo Market, 16670 Lemolo Shore Drive, will shut down their community-centric store at the end of November.  - Andrew Binion/Staff Photo
Owners of the Lemolo Market, 16670 Lemolo Shore Drive, will shut down their community-centric store at the end of November.
— image credit: Andrew Binion/Staff Photo

LEMOLO — For four years, the Lemolo Market has supplied the residents of Poulsbo's eastern neighborhood with one-stop shopping for basketballs, fine wine, green cowboy hats, fresh produce and penny candy.

And at the end of November, the little store in the hamlet east of Poulsbo will close its doors.

It's been four years of Fourth of July parades, posting neighbor kids' birthdays on the sandwich board, and selling Coca Cola in glass bottles, and Ty and Deb Campbell loved every minute.

Rent on the store is going up, but even if it didn't, the couple said the store isn't viable. About $65,000 has been spent on improvements through the past four years, including the fresh coat of paint on the portico.

But the sense of community fostered by the store will endure.

"We've had our greatest moments here," said Ty Campbell, who tears up easily these days. "We can't keep feeding it, as much as we'd like to."

They won't be leaving Lemolo, they own the house across the street — Ty Campbell's grandparent's house — but the store closure will create a void.

"It's amazing," Dawn Kerkhoff said of the store. She stopped by Tuesday afternoon for a Diet Coke. "They have revitalized Lemolo."

It hit her hard when Kerkhoff learned that the Campbell's would soon be leaving the grocery business.

"I am not a happy camper," she said.

Lemolo has had a store at the location since 1951, although it hasn't always been as welcoming to families.

Kids have lines of credit, and jars of inexpensive candy, which Ty calls a "math lesson."

These are the things the couple will miss. For Ty, it will be chatting with the neighborhood kids and feeling like part of a community resurgance. But they have put a positive face on the deadline.

The couple has grown children they don't often see, and when the kids visit, the Campbells are usually working.

The store idea started with a trip to check out the Ty Campbell's grandparents house, and led them to start a community store where residents trust and show an interest in each other.

The couple succeeded, despite the slow process of rebuilding relationships with residents dispersed in an era of impersonal big box stores.

"The idea was to step back in time," said Deb Campbell

The Lemolo Market is a second career for both of them: Ty Campbell spent decades in casino and restaurant ownership, Deb Campbell was a Boeing executive.

At the end of November, they will likely be looking for a new project.

"Something always happens," Ty Campbell said.

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