Letter-to-Editor: A bright side to the pandemic!
The global COVID 19 pandemic emergency has been declared over! However, over the last few years, the Mukilteo Historical Society, Inc. (MHS) faced financial and volunteer staffing challenges, as did every other nonprofit. Most of the funds to operate the nonprofit organization had come from sales in the Gift Shop. Those funds, along with donations were used to purchase archive equipment, pay for the new shutters and blinds in all the Light Station buildings and upgrades to Quarters A and B interiors. Further, the MHS sought grants to assist the City of Mukilteo with repairs to the Lighthouse (moisture study, new roof and paint the cupola) and the surrounding grounds.
The Mukilteo Historical Society volunteers waited and wondered would things ever get back to normal? The MHS Mission is to help preserve the history of Old Town Mukilteo and the surrounding area. Knowing our community was being impacted, the question arose, “How could we help both the nonprofit and our business community?” The answer, “Why not feature talented local vendors, artists, and artisans?” While the organization had worked with a handful of people in the past, the decision was to add more locally produced items. The results for all involved have been phenomenal!
Jay Hansen, a Mukilteo Resident, producing items under “Moon Mountain Art” notes:
“It is a joy for me to have the MHS Gift Shop selling my art. It has been a collaborative process where we bounce ideas off each other to generate new products. Case in point: The gift shop had been selling prints of my watercolor painting of the Kittitas ferry docking near the Lighthouse. MHS suggested that the image would make great wraparound on a mug. Perfect! Those mugs are selling at the Gift Shop.”
Joe Dreimiller, a Mukilteo Resident, producing items under “Earthwindows” notes:
“It has been great working with the Mukilteo Lighthouse Historical Staff. We freely exchange photos and ideas for the gift shop to find the best-selling notecards for them to display. It has provided me an opportunity to showcase some of my photography of the Lighthouse Park and of some of the marine wildlife found in Mukilteo.”
Working with local vendors has helped MHS as well. We no longer must pay for shipping costs, so the retail prices are lower. In addition, we can purchase in smaller quantities (preferred by most local vendors). In this way, we can test items in the Gift Shop and if they sell well, reorder quickly. If items do not sell, we can work with the vendor to adjust the items based on our shopper’s feedback. It is a win-win for everyone involved!
The lighthouse and gift shop are now open every Saturday and Sunday from 1:00pm to 4:00pm until the end of September 2023. In addition, we host school tours, summer camp tours, private tours and a handful of special event days in the Fall. Check the MHS website for days and hours – mukilteohistorical.org.
Be sure to look for the following local products in the Gift Shop:
- Bergsma Gallery Press (Bellingham, WA) cards, mugs, prints; Bertrand, Steve K (Mukilteo, WA) author- books; Bonner, Lynette (Everett, WA) author- books and coloring books; Earthwindows (Mukilteo, WA) cards, prints, postcards; Elizabeth Person Art & Design (Everett, WA) cards, prints, stickers; Fillerfogg Design (Bellingham, WA) prints, cards; KnockoutNerd (Mill Creek, WA) Lego kits; Lantern Press (Seattle, WA) mugs, totes, coasters, prints, magnets; Moon Mountain (Mukilteo, WA) mugs, prints; Mukilteo Lighthouse Quilters Guild (Mukilteo, WA) quilts, totes, bowl cozies; Native NW (Vancouver, BC) books, puzzles, plush toys, jewelry; Pilchuck Soap Company (Mill Creek, WA) soaps, lotions, bath bombs; Sketches by the Sea (Seattle, WA) tea towels, cards; Summit, Margaret (Mukilteo, WA) author – book; A Stitch and a Prayer (Mukilteo, WA) tea towels, pillows, quilts, wall hangings; Tangled Ivy Designs (Lake Stevens, WA) ornaments, jewelry, signs; Vindico Printing & Design (Lynnwood, WA) apparel; Whidbey Moments (Greenbank, WA) puzzles, cards, prints); Wolf, Susan (Sequim, WA) author – books.
The Mukilteo Historical Society staff the Mukilteo Lighthouse and Gift Shop and is always looking for new members. They meet on the second Thursday of each month (except December) at 7 p.m. at the Rosehill Community Center (304 Lincoln Avenue). For more information visit: mukilteohistorical.org.
Christine Saunders, Gift Shop Buyer
SOURCE: Christine Saunders