Tucked beneath the South Bay Suites in historic Fairhaven is Bellingham’s newest home decor and gift shop. 1 Paperboat welcomes guests with open doors to Bellingham Bay, creating a new by-the-sea shopping experience. Within its walls, shoppers can find an array of home goods, jewelry, gifts, and clothing. Storeowners Royal and Diane Reinsch, and their dog Chief, are inspired by the closeness to the bay, and decided on a nautical theme for the store.
When thinking of a shop name, the ocean breeze and salty air brought the couple back to days of paper boats. The nostalgic memories of constructing a paper boat and sending it off to sea reignites a warm happy childhood memory, and they wanted to bring that kind of nostalgia back to life with their store.
“I remember setting our paper boats to sail and wondering where they would go and where they would take you” Diane says. “In the same way, we wonder where we’ll go with this store and where it will take us. It’s a new adventure.”
The shop’s white walls, sandy floors, and beautifully contrasting black tables all have a maritime sensibility. Tastefully picked out clothing from brands like Ugg, Comfy USA, and Foxcroft are paired with a complementing selection of Brighton Jewelry and other accessories.
Shelves of Mer Sea body lotions, soaps, incense, and fragrant candles enrich the store with the aromas of the sea. A featured wall lined with Glassybaby glass wear catches the eye with its beautifully sorted color array. Across the store another wall displays Sid Dickens tiles, adding an artistic touch to the shop.
The Reinsches yearned to create a shop that is warm, inviting, and relaxed. They want customers to feel welcome and enjoy a pressure-free shopping experience. “We want a place where people really feel comfortable in,” Diane says. “We love the relaxed and happy atmosphere here.”
Although 1 Paperboat’s doors opened at the end of summer, the Reinsches have been in the business for the past 30 years. They began with hosting Christmas shows out of their own home in Seattle until the crowd became too big for their own house. The two decided to move their Parisian-themed store, Belle Provence, to Bothell’s Country Village, where it operated for 22 years. The Reinsches directly imported home goods from France and focused on keeping an authentic French style throughout their products. After a small move to Mill Creek, the couple decided to move to Royal’s hometown — Bellingham.
When touring the town, the couple fell in love with Fairhaven and realized it’d be a perfect fit for their ideal shop. The Reinsches say they have felt welcomed with open arms by other Fairhaven businesses.
The duo’s dynamic is a happy balance of design and technical skills between the two of them. Diane does all staging and buying for the shop while Royal’s strengths are in the technical and carpentry skills.
The two hope to grow their customer base and continue to introduce new products to Bellingham shoppers. Diane and Royal strive to buy products that are authentically USA and Canadian made to ensure quality in the products they sell.
The Reinsches are excited to be a part of the Bellingham small business community and encourage shoppers to stop by and take a look in.
1134 10th St., Bellingham