Donna Mains (left) and Kathleen Shalan co-own Country Rose/The Paint Bungalow Home Decor in Arlington. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Donna Mains (left) and Kathleen Shalan co-own Country Rose/The Paint Bungalow Home Decor in Arlington. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Arlington: Where small retailers survive and even thrive

The Country Rose store’s owners give credit to the downtown association for drumming up business.

ARLINGTON — Do all roads lead to Arlington? Some do. In the past three or four years, the city’s downtown has become a destination for Sunday drivers and shoppers.

That bodes well for Kathleen Shalan and Donna Mains, who co-own Country Rose/The Paint Bungalow & Home Decor, open seven days a week at 430 N. Olympic Ave.

“A lot of people are out taking a drive and they stumble on Arlington,” said Shalan, who bought the business in 2008 when it was at the Seattle Premium Outlets in Tulalip.

When Shalan had the opportunity to move to downtown Arlington in 2013, she took the leap.

The business is actually two stores — maybe even three or four: Country Rose carries gifts, candles, linens and jewelry. It’s a women’s apparel boutique that stocks shirts, dresses, sweaters and, for the adventuresome, the latest iteration of bell-bottom jeans.

The Paint Bungalow carries home decor and Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, a special type of furniture paint that goes on without sanding or priming, Mains said.

“The paint side of the business saved our bacon” during the COVID-19 pandemic, Mains said. “People were re-doing their kitchens and homes and they would come in for paint.”

Country Rose rents a portion of the store to FauxyFurr, a pair of Arlington-based artisans who sell cowboy boots for adults and kids and hand-crafted hats. On Fridays and Saturdays, the pair staff the store and can fit you for one of their custom-made hats, Shalan said.

Mains, who moved to the area in 1997 from Arlington, Texas, bought into the business four-and-a-half years ago. Friends for 25 years, Mains and Shalan met when they both sold Yellow Pages ads.

Last year, the store closed for more than two months because of a COVID-19 statewide mandate that shuttered non-essential businesses. The closure prompted them to expand their online store.

This year, like other businesses, Country Rose is trying to cope with supply chain disruptions.

“We order stuff and then we get about half of it,” Shalan said. “It’s all those shipping containers out in the Pacific,” the backup of container ships and their cargo at the nation’s deep-water ports. It is slowing the delivery of everything from clothing and furniture to aerospace components.

Even so, the store offers plenty of holiday ornaments, musical snow globes and advent calendars. In the gift category, you’ll find pillows, rugs, jewelry and cowhide-covered footstools. If it’s sartorial splendor you’re searching for, “come in and you can get a whole outfit,” Shalan said.

Shalan and Mains credit the Downtown Arlington Business Association for its support of merchants and events sponsorship.

“What I like about Arlington is we have a lot of activity downtown that brings people in,” Shalan said.

“Every year, it gets better,” she said, and the plethora of events the city rolls out — from last month’s Wag-o-Ween event, with costumed dogs and their owners trotting through downtown; to the upcoming Santa Parade in December that draws hundreds of Christmas revelers; to the Arlington Street Fair that takes place in summer.

On Nov. 27, the city is all in for Small Business Saturday, which encourages people to shop locally. Arlington’s celebration takes place at Legion Park from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and features live music, a tree lighting, fire pits and roast-your-own s’mores.

If Country Rose doesn’t have what you’re looking for, Shalan and Mains are only too happy to direct you to a local store that does.

“Ava Rose Boutique and Gifts across the street is a beautiful little clothing store, and Mountain Sol is another cute clothing store that just opened up,” Shalan said.

Country Rose’s next door neighbor, Moe’s on Olympia, a coffee shop that serves coffee, pastries and sandwiches, opened three years ago. “That really helped everybody — it used to be an empty building,” she said.

“We support one another,” Shalan said of city merchants.

For a list of Arlington stores and eateries and upcoming events, go to arlingtonwa.org

Janice Podsada; jpodsada@heraldnet.com; 425-339-3097; Twitter: @JanicePods.

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