Newhome & garden shop opens in Birch Bay Square

Published on Thu, Sep 8, 2005
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New home & garden shop opens in Birch Bay Square

by Tara Nelson

Residents searching for a high-end home and garden foreign imports store need to look no farther than Birch Bay Square, formerly known as the Peace Arch Factory Outlet Mall.

Papillion opened its doors in July, offering a range of garden art, gazebos, arches, jewelry, candles, water fountains and other home décor.

But perhaps its most curious retail item is the 12-foot tall faux wooden outdoor yard giraffe which towers over its potential buyers and sells for $3,000.

“The giraffe is our greeter,” said Elizabeth Sanders, assistant manager

The giraffe is part of a collection of hand-made Mexican yard art, which store manager Mary Jo McCoy, of Bellingham, ordered after seeing them at a trade show. Other items such as handmade bark baskets are more affordable.

The store, started by a group of friends from the greater Puget Sound area, is celebrating with a grand opening on Saturday and Sunday, September 9 and 10 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., with hot dogs, hamburgers and soda available after noon.

Other festivities include a cakewalk, hourly prizes, children’s activities, and a grand prize. She said visitors will also have the opportunity to make their own personal stationary as part of a workshop.

McCoy, who grew up in Bellingham and has considerable retail experience, said she enjoys working in high-end retail, but was tired of the stifling atmosphere of her former corporate department store job. So when she had the opportunity to become manager and merchandise buyer for Papillion, she jumped at the chance.

“The corporate world is so impersonal,” she said. “I actually had to answer the phone ‘Thank you for calling (company name withheld) this is Mary Jo, how may I provide you with outstanding service today?’ Now, my husband says he thinks I’m in a much better mood all the time. There’s a real difference being around people who are doing what they want to do.”

McCoy, who said she loves visiting home and garden gift conventions as a personal hobby, said she has been in retail in Whatcom County for “a long time.” She was the owner of the former Harbor Boutique, a women’s clothing store on Railroad Avenue in Bellingham.
“Ninety percent of my goods are imported,” McCoy said.
McCoy earned her Associate of Arts degree in business from the Portland Business Institute. She said if the store is successful, her business partners are planning on expanding the chain to the Seattle

Papillion is located at 3400 Birch Bay-Lynden Road, Suite A, amd is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Saturday and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
They can be reached at 366-7309.