Winter 2002

PLU Northwest offers distinctive gifts just down the street from campus
Jeaneen Hamlett and Susan Young '92
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 china, PLU 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, store manager.

Originally located off campus to help with the revitalization of Garfield Street, the store started selling Northwest goods. It didn’t want to compete with the longstanding Gloria’s Scandinavian gift store a few blocks away, but when Gloria Pederson ’42 closed her shop, PLU Northwest branched out.

The store works closely with PLU’s 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, it’s fun to be able to offer people some of that," Hamlett said.

The store offers books, cooking supplies, Christmas ornaments (year-round) figurines by Montana’s 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 don’t live near the store, and some of the Scandinavian items can be special-ordered. Many people stop in to shop when they’re visiting campus. Others call to place orders, especially around the holidays when they’re 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 chime).

"Alumni call from Massachusetts, Texas, all over," Hamlett said.

Some items, like Ueland’s 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 she’s continually looking for ways to expand and enrich the inventory.
"There’s 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 or call 253-535-8397.

Winter 2003 Scene Copyright © 2003 Pacific Lutheran University
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