April 16, 2001
Woodinville shop is full of fun whatchamacallits
by Bronwyn Wilson
Senior Staff Reporter
Did you replace your household light bulbs with the spiked colored ones which glow blue, orange or yellow? Just for fun, did you pop an unsuspecting friend with a spud shot straight out of your potato gun? Do you serve tea with an amusing saying inscribed on the tea bag's tag? Have you consulted your affirmation ball lately?
If the answer is yes, then chances are you've been to Whittles on Woodinville-Redmond Road, an unusual and collectible gift shop which opened in December.
Owners, Derek and Meghan Whittle got the idea for the shop one day while dining at Wood'ys Grill and Bar.
While in the restaurant, Meghan noticed the number of people who stop in at Tully's across the street.
She mentioned to her husband, "If a business is next to it and available, we should get it."
Derek had just happened to notice that the business next door to Tully's had recently moved out and said, "The building next to it is available."
That's all the encouragement the couple needed.
Soon, they were setting up their new store full of amusing and humorous items and adding plenty of toys, books, collectibles, gadgets and whatchamacallits.
"We both have a fondness for novelty items," Derek said. He explained that he's an avid reader and his original vision was to own a bookstore.
"It was definitely something I always wanted to do," he added.
However, Meghan's mother had owned an unusual and collectible gift shop called Mr. Peepers in Seattle's University District for 17 years.
With Meghan's gift shop background and Derek's vision of a bookstore, the store evolved into a fun shop full of items ranging from zany (metal wind-up nuns who breathe dragon-like sparks from their mouths) to unique (jewelry made out of antique buttons), to all kinds of books ("The Art of Kissing").
Previously, the couple had careers with Microsoft. Meghan was in sales and Derek in marketing.
They left their jobs because, as Derek explained, "We both wanted to do a business."
In addition, they both wanted their business to be a part of the community. And they wanted to give something back to the community. Currently, they have plans in the works to sponsor a Woodinville Little League team.
They have also donated items from their store to two local elementary schools holding fund-raising auctions.
Derek said that he and his wife want to deal directly with the community as opposed to being a dot.com type of business.
"We are old school," he said. "We want to build a brick and mortar business versus the Internet."
One thing that Derek likes about living in Woodinville, where he has lived for the past two years, is the variety of people who live in the city. "There's a good blend of people here," he said.
It's a good thing, too. Whittles has something for all ages, sizes and ethnicities.
In the shop there are even peppermint drops for "man and beast" that are especially suited for dogs wanting minty fresh breath.