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About Us

The Board of Directors and Advisors is made up of a diverse group of business-oriented Quimper Peninsula residents concerned about the loss of Port Townsend’s Swain’s Outdoor & More store and the gap that it left in our community’s ability to provide for basic mercantile needs. We are committed to having a positive impact on the practice of shopping locally; a practice that is important in fostering the economic viability of our Quimper community.

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Meet the staff

Ron McElroy
I was born many years ago in Livermore, California. After several failed attempts to become a rock star, I moved to Port Townsend to be with my future (now current) wife, Lynne, and her daughter, Sienna. On Feb. 1, 1974, we opened Quimper Sound Records & Tapes at 923 Water Street, which provided us with untold fame and fortune until April of 2001 when we sold the business. Being severely bitten by the entrepreneurial bug, I partnered with Larry Dennison to start Dos Okies Barbeque to produce some of the best smoked meats you'll ever try. After flunking retirement a second time, I was hired by Marion Lodwick at Abracadabra to be part of the sales staff. In September of 2012, I was fortunate enough to be chosen to help represent our new venture, Quimper Mercantile.

I enjoy outdoor activities, puzzles and games, poker, pets and music, hosting a weekly radio show on our local station, KPTZ 91.9 FM.

Kara Gorecki
"I have been coming up to the peninsula for the last three years to visit my boyfriend's family, and how can one not fall in love with it up here? I will always be an Oregonian at heart, but when we decided it was time to relocate our family, there was no question about where we would move! My son, Caleb, is 5 and a half, and being "all-boy" he is absolutely thriving in the clean air, open spaces, and immersion in small town life. When I learned about QMC last spring, and what they meant by "community owned," I was very excited to see what it would be like, what they would carry, and every time we came to Port Townsend, we would look to see if it was open, yet! And when it was time for me to find a job, almost immediately I saw the listing online and knew that I HAD to be a part of it! I am honored to have been chosen as a part of such a great team, and a unique company that truly has the good of the community in mind."

Dottie Nelson

I am Dottie Nelson, and I've lived in Jefferson County 11 years and Washington State over 20 years. I was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia - so I hope to bring Southern hospitality to Quimper Mercantile. My hobbies include gardening, yoga, and weight lifting. This paid off as we set up the displays and inventory for our new store! I am married, and have an 18 year old son who graduated from Port Townsend High School in 2012. Included in our family are two big dogs and a big orange cat.

In the 21st century, shopping is elevated to a sport; and in a huge retail complex it can be a discouraging endurance sport. I love the idea of a local store (saving gas & time), featuring local artists and craftspeople (especially the FOOD!), and have enjoyed watching the response of my friends and neighbors as they discover our variety store. We have a nice selection of camping & fishing gear, house wares, greeting cards, clothes, and more; but I especially appreciate how responsive we are to customer requests. For example, we had only been open a couple of weeks, but we had requests for thermal underwear, and it was ordered right away, and was very quickly in stock! There couldn't be as efficient a response in a big store.

I couldn't ask for a nicer group of folks to work with. We try in every way to welcome our customers, and make shopping enjoyable. I've noticed that after seeing our clean, bright store and getting some "retail therapy," many are asking about purchasing stock. I'm glad to tell them it isn't too late, and get an information packet for them. I hope it's obvious to all our guests that we appreciate their business, and that we enjoy being there. If we're not there, it's my voice greeting you on the answering machine.

Vayda Hatfield
I am what some would call a 'true Washingtonian'. I have lived all over Western Washington, in all sorts of places. I can fit in anywhere from Seattle to Leavenworth to Roslyn, though I prefer small town life. I was partly raised on an organic farm in Sequim, and attended high school in the town. I always loved a visit with my pals to Port Townsend for the shops and running around Fort Worden! I was a student in the Running Start program and attended Peninsula College in my senior year. I'm nineteen, and instead of children I have two loving cats! I'm offbeat and artsy (a good Port Townsend blend), and I love talking with all sorts of people. I love to learn new things and to help people, which make working in retail fun! What drew me to Quimper Mercantile was the sense of community involved. I think it's spectacular in this day and age to operate as a town without the aid of Walmart. I feel very honored to be a part of the spectacular piece of Port Townsend that is Quimper Mercantile."

Holly Mayshark
I grew up on the east coast, went to high school in Michigan and college in the New England area. In college, I studied art and also spent some time studying landscape design after I moved to the Northwest. I moved to Port Townsend area with my husband in 1977, we started a construction company which I helped run and then in 1981 I opened my first retail business, Holly's Fine Flowers.

While running the shop I raised 2 children, we ran 2 businesses, designed and built our home and I became a passionate gardener and Mom.

In 2006 I sold my shop after running it for 25 years. And after working as a bookkeeper, magazine and newspaper advertising consultant and a construction sales person, I have finally landed back home, in retail.

The concept of running a community owned store like QMC intrigued me and I hope to help create a business we can all be proud of. It's a tall order and I feel like we have good leadership and a great staff to carry it forward.

Linaea Woodbury
I was born in Kodiak, Alaska, but moved to Port Townsend the summer I was three years old, as my dad had taken the position of light keeper at the Point Wilson lighthouse. After High School, I attended Western Washington University in Bellingham, and spent a year in Bellevue post-graduation. I thought the idea of a community owned store was fantastic and I moved back home in time to apply for a position with the Quimper Mercantile Company. The biggest surprise I've had since returning has been to learn that the lighthouse is now automated.

Sheldon Spencer

I'm the QMC Store Manager, which is the type of work I've been doing most of my life.  My wife Sandy and I owned a full-line sporting goods store in Modesto, California for about 30 years.  We purchased a home on Marrowstone Island in 2004, and are thrilled to now be making the Olympic Peninsula our "first" home, not just our "second" home.

I enjoy all kinds of active, outdoor activities including running, hiking, paddling, and biking.  Sandy and I enjoy traveling together with Tucker, our Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.  And of course our two sons and three grandsons are also high on our list!

I'm finding Port Townsend to be a great fit for me, and I'm enjoying making Quimper Mercantile a great fit for the community.

Robin Shanor
I was born and raised where the 3 rivers meet in the great city of Pittsburgh, PA. I have had the great luck of living in many beautiful places - - many years at the foot of the Grand Tetons to the Pacific Ocean in Oregon and California.  I have also enjoyed the beauty of the desert southwest.  I came to visit my brother here in Port Townsend and decided I needed a new adventure in my life and came back to live.  The draw of Puget Sound is quite remarkable.  I have two children and 5 grandchildren.  After I met with Sheldon and Holly I was quite certain they would be great people to work with.

I love the community concept and I hope we all achieve our goals to be successful and a vital part of the Port Townsend community.

Nicole Fox
After 10 years of crunching numbers, I still say that bookkeeping for small businesses in Jefferson County is more exciting than it sounds. Originally from Wisconsin, I moved to Port Townsend in 2001 with an over-loaded Geo Prizm and the somewhat backwards ambition of finding the place I wanted to live before finding a job I wanted to pursue. Fortunately I found the right place on the first try and since then have met and married my husband Jim, homesteaded on 20 acres in Chimacum and brought my son, Sam, into the world. When I'm not learning about the latest updates to Quickbooks and the tax code, I enjoy beach-combing, cooking and working on projects around the house.


March 22, 2012

Quimper Mercantile Company already three-quarters funded

By Charlie Bermant of Peninsula Daily News

The Quimper Mercantile Co. has raised nearly three-quarters of the money it will need to open a new general store in Port Townsend.

The publicly owned company's chief executive officer expects no difficulty in raising the amount it needs to proceed with hiring staff and acquiring inventory.

“This has been a positive thing,” said Peter Quinn of the fundraising process.

“People aren't asking us about how the store will work.

“They mostly want to know when we are going to get started.”

The new store is meant to...

Read the full article in the Peninsula Daily News >

February 8, 2012

Quimper Mercantile goal is to raise $425,000 by May 1, open store this summer

By Allison Arthur of the Leader

More than 85 people showed up Monday in Port Townsend to ask questions about a new community-owned store – and put their money where their heart is by investing in it.

“With stock sales of last night, we’re currently at about $120,000 so with the $50,000 seed money we’ve raised, we’re at $170,000,” said Quimper Mercantile CEO Peter Quinn Tuesday morning.

Proponents have until May 1 to raise a bank-imposed goal of More than 85 people showed up Monday in Port Townsend to ask questions about a new community-owned store – and put their money where their heart is by investing in it.

“With stock sales of last night, we’re currently at about $120,000 so with the $50,000 seed money we’ve raised, we’re at $170,000,” said Quimper Mercantile CEO Peter Quinn Tuesday morning.

Proponents have until May 1 to raise a bank-imposed goal of $425,000. When they hit that target, they’ll be able to start spending money, Quinn said.

“So we’re encouraging if people are interested in a community-owned store to invest now. The sooner we hit that $425,000, the sooner we’ll have the store open,” Quinn said. The goal is to open a store this summer.

The Quimper Mercantile Co. has reached an agreement with Bill Massey for a five-year lease on 15,700 square feet of space in the Port Townsend Plaza. The vacant space was most recently occupied by Swain’s Outdoor and More, which closed about a year ago.

Local business leaders have been pushing to find an anchor tenant for the space in downtown Port Townsend since that closure.

And after a meeting of business owners in January, Quimper Mercantile proponents have been on the road answering questions. A week of snow slowed efforts initially, Quinn said.
A final public outreach question-and-answer meeting is set for 5-7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 9 at the Port Ludlow Beach Club in Port Ludlow.

Two other meetings were on Feb. 1 in Quilcene and Feb. 2 in Chimacum.
“We had a nice turnout and sold 16 shares in Quilcene and gave out more information,” said investor Steve Moore.

Only one person showed up in Chimacum and that was disappointing, but Moore said he expected people from Chimacum to come out on Monday. And they did. Quinn estimated 88 people turned out at the Cotton Building.

Quimper Mercantile’s goal is to...

Read the full article in the Port Townsend Jefferson County Leader >


January 25, 2012

Publicly held Port Townsend mercantile decides it will locate in old Swain’s store

The Quimper Mercantile Co. will operate out of the location last occupied by Swain’s Outdoor.
The hope is to open this summer, company representatives said. On Tuesday, Quimper Mercantile — known as QMC — finalized the agreement to lease 15,700 square feet of the space at 1121 Water St., which Swain’s Outdoor vacated in February 2010. The lease does not include the adjacent 2,000 square feet that was once occupied by Ace Hardware. Director of Operations Peter Quinn said the lease could have been signed last week but was postponed by the weather.

“This is one major step forward,” he said. “We are ready to go.”

The terms of the lease with building owner Bill Massey were...

Read the full article in the Peninsula Daily News >

January 18, 2012

We are devastated by the loss of a QMC board member Dr. Joanna Loehr. We want to acknowledge her constant proactive community building. She never hesitated to jump in to do volunteer work or put her money where her mouth was. She was unequivocal in her support for all that made Port Townsend unique. She took part in the Jefferson County Climate Action Plan as a scientist. She was a founding member of LION (the local investment network that funds many small businesses in Jefferson County), she recently funded a youth program at the NWMC in honor of her late husband Thomas Loehr and her last community engagement effort was one as a founding board member of QMC. She never hesitated, she was there for us. She will be missed.

- Michelle Sandoval


December 3, 2011
Port Townsend wants to open a general store
By Susan Gilmore
Seattle Times staff reporter

Swain's Outdoor store closed last January in Port Townsend, and now townspeople have to drive an hour or more to buy the basics: sheets, fabric — even cotton underwear. The need has launched an effort to open a new, community-owned general store to be named Quimper Mercantile.

"We have a wonderful downtown shopping area, but it tends to be specialties," said project head Peter Quinn, a local merchant whose shop teaches the craft of writing.

"You can't find everyday household needs [in Port Townsend]. We want to make sure you don't have to drive to get a pillow or bed linens." The new store, which may go...

Read the full article at the  Seattle Times website >


August 2011
Quimper Mercantile Raises Seed Money, Prepares for Stock Offering
Quimper Mercantile Company has raised $50,000 in seed money to provide operating capital while a public stock offering is under way. “These funds, required by law to come from members of the Board of Directors or employees of the company, will allow us to make progress while we prepare to sell shares to the public.” said Peter Quinn CEO of Quimper Mercantile.

The public stock offering will be submitted to the State by the end of August with review and approval expected to take 6-8 weeks. “Assuming no major changes to the offering submittal, we would hope to begin selling stock sometime in November.” said Tim Whyte, Chief Operating Officer.
With $50,000 in founder money and as much as $950,000 raised in the public stock offering, Quimper Mercantile will be able to enter the market strongly, helping to preserve the critical mass of shopping options required to attract shoppers to the area.

The seed money will allow Quimper Mercantile to move forward with a location decision, hire key consultants or employees, define the stores core elements and determine initial inventory mix prior to the stock offering.

“Without these initial funds, we would have had to wait for a public offering to be completed before moving ahead, delaying our opening by as much as a year,” Quinn stated,“ the board didn’t want to wait so we all made contributions up to our own ability to do so. I am proud and pleased to have such a committed group of community volunteers, getting behind Quimper Mercantile.”

Quimper Mercantile Company was formed to replace the retail diversity lost when the former Swain’s store closed its doors in January. Shoppers, in order to be attracted to a shopping area like Port Townsend, must believe they will find most of the things they need. “It’s a decision to turn left and head to Port Townsend or go right to Silverdale or Sequim,” said Whyte, “we want to give people enough reasons to turn left. A good mercantile with a good selection of clothes and things for the home, is what Port Townsend needs to be an attractive place to shop.”

We encourage you to look at our survey results and join the discussion on Facebook. We invite your comments and questions and look forward to hearing from you soon!