Pebble has existed in downtown Friday Harbor since 1977. Only then it was called Sandpebble. Current owners Bryan and Carolyn Leighton and Carolyn’s mother, Nancy Niedringhaus, purchased the store from the original owner in 2006, continuing the legacy of home décor, gifts, and women’s clothing.
The Leightons changed the name to Pebble (though they go by both) when they took ownership and modernized the offerings a bit, evolving slowly and naturally. They held on to the original exterior store sign, because as two people that grew up on the island, they’re nostalgic. They shopped at the store as teenagers and registered there for their wedding. Nancy worked in the store for many years, so Carolyn fondly remembers visiting her there.
Slowly and consciously, they started bringing in more items that were modern and less expensive—clothes and products that reflected their style. Instead of Dale Tiffany lamps, they opted for strings of origami paper lights and writing journals. “As soon as we made the shift, everything started to reflect it. We ripped up the carpet and painted the walls and made it our own,” Carolyn says. They’ve filled the store with items that come from local artists, along with clothes, jewelry, and books that they love and hope the community will love as well. Paperblanks journals, Hobo bags and wallets, and a few other brands have held over from the original store. Their biggest problem, they both agree, is that so many artists and designers are making such great work. Their store isn’t big enough to hold everything they want to sell.
Neither of the Leightons have a background in sales. She taught preschool and he was a graphic designer. But now, as they run the store and raise two daughters, they wouldn’t want it any other way. “While we could’ve never imagined doing this, I don’t think now we could imagine a different reality,” says Bryan.
When visiting the store, you’ll be hard-pressed to leave without buying. Certainly, there is something you simply must have. A felted animal head mounted on a woodcut, perhaps? A new pair of designer denim jeans? Does your child or grandchild need a pair of Native-brand shoes for running on the beach? You must need an “Upper Left” sweatshirt. Well, it’s all here and more.
245 Spring St., Friday Harbor, San Juan Island
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