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Forks couple open Sequim storefront
At the intersection of Third Avenue and West Washington Street is a new locally owned and operated produce store, Peninsula Produce. The store is stocked with a variety of fresh vegetables and fruit along with a rack of tie-dyed shirts.
Without much signage yet, Peninsula Produce would be fairly easy to pass by if not for the cedar stump sculptures that catch attention with their roots swirling in the air like tentacles on an octopus.
Sali and Rob Capelle are the owners of the new produce store and have big goals for the future, but plan to start small and grow as the business allows. The Capelles are in the midst of finding property to either buy or rent in Sequim, but for now they commute from their home near Forks.
“We’re very excited to be here in Sequim and are looking forward to moving here as soon as we find some property,” Rob said.
Rob already works in Port Angles at Jesse Bay Cabinet Co., but after his wife, Sali searched for work within the area and couldn’t seem to find a good match, they “decided to create a job,” Rob said.
The two had run a retail store in Forks for 11 years and enjoyed the public interaction associated with it so they decided to open up another business, only this time with a focus on produce.
“So far it’s been a learning curve figuring out what people like and don’t like.” Rob said. “It’s important to us to keep an ear as to what people want and need.”
The produce at the store comes from a mix of producers, including both local and Eastern Washington farmers and from a wholesale company out of Seattle, but as the business develops the Capelles would like to carry primarily local produce. Both organic and non-organic products are available at the store including everything from cherries and golden beets to baby cucumbers and serrano peppers.
One of the main focuses of Peninsula Produce is “getting the most out of the fruits and vegetables,” Rob said. Once produce is beyond its prime, the Capelles will offer a reduced priced section for the produce that is still good for canning, dehydrating or juicing. The owners also hope to get connected with someone locally who raises pigs and could put old produce to good use.
“We want to try to make the produce in here all circle back around as much as possible,” Rob said.
In preparation for both Sequim Lavender Weekend and the summer as a whole, the Capelles are looking for interested venders.
“We would like to offer food and have some venders out front here for the festival,” Rob said.
But the Sequim Lavender Weekend and summer are far from the Capelles’ long-term goal of doing aquaculture farming and hydroponic gardens.
“Eventually we would like to move into aquaculture and we’ll have tanks of live mussels, oysters, crab and fish so people can buy fresh seafood and couple that with hydroponic gardens for growing things like tomatoes,” Rob said.
“Many of the tomatoes and other vegetables we get from places like California are already grown hydroponically and could just as easily be done in Sequim,” Rob said.
For now however, the Capelles’ energy is directed at getting Peninsula Produce established and stable.
In addition to the fruit and veggies, the couple decided to carry tie-dyed shirts for no other reason than it is just something fun and different to sell and perhaps the shirts will appeal to the wave of retiring baby boomers, Rob said.
To supplement the eclectic combination of produce and tie-dyes, a portion of parking lot of Peninsula Produce is decorated with driftwood and old-growth cedar root wads converted into landscaping sculptures by another Forks resident.
“I think the wood sculptures are what catches most people’s attention,” Rob said. “It will take a while for people to notice we’re here, but it’s a work in progress and so far it has been a good experience.”
Peninsula Produce is open from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sundays at 290 W. Washington St. For more information or interested venders, call 618-3844.
Reach Alana Linderoth at firstname.lastname@example.org.