Store manager Jeaneen Hamlett and Scandinavian Cultural Center Director Susan Young 92 pose in traditional Norwegian costumes donated to the SCC by Estelle Kelley 82 and her mother, Pat.
By Katherine Hedland 88
Nestled in a cozy space along the increasingly busy Garfield Street business
district off campus is a treasure of gifts and home items.
From the original, colorful Backsplash
pottery by Julie Ueland 79, to traditional Scandinavian Porsgrund
Northwest and Scandinavian Gift Shop offers authentic, quality gifts and
home décor. All the Northwest items are made in the area, from Alaska
to Montana, and the Scandinavian items are authentic. While the store has
its loyal customers, others have yet to discover it.
A branch of the PLU Bookstore, PLU Northwest opened its doors six years ago.
"We like being out here in the community," said Jeaneen Hamlett,
Originally located off campus to help with the revitalization of Garfield Street, the store started selling Northwest goods. It didnt want to compete with the longstanding Glorias Scandinavian gift store a few blocks away, but when Gloria Pederson 42 closed her shop, PLU Northwest branched out.
The store works closely with PLUs Scandinavian
Cultural Center to offer traditional items, and SCC members receive a
discount at the store. Alumni also earn a discount.
"We have such a strong Scandinavian heritage, its fun to be able
to offer people some of that," Hamlett said.
The store offers books, cooking supplies, Christmas ornaments (year-round)
figurines by Montanas Big Sky Carvers, photographs, artwork, candles
and more. There are many one-of-a-kind items, and others that are commonly
found in homes with Scandinavian heritage.
Hamlett takes orders over the phone from those who dont live near the
store, and some of the Scandinavian items can be special-ordered. Many people
stop in to shop when theyre visiting campus. Others call to place orders,
especially around the holidays when theyre looking for a lefse roller
(to prepare the traditional Norwegian treat made like a thin potato pancake)
or a Swedish angel Advent candle (whose flames cause the angels to turn and
"Alumni call from Massachusetts, Texas, all over," Hamlett said.
Some items, like Uelands popular hand-painted tableware, will always
be on the shelves. Her colorful mugs, plates, bowls and other dishes
distinctively painted with fish or flowers are a big seller.
But Hamlett said shes continually looking for ways to expand and enrich
"Theres something for everyone here," she said.
PLU Northwest and Scandinavian Gift Shop, located at 407 Garfield St., is open noon to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. For more information, visit luteworld.plu.edu or call 253-535-8397.