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Native entrepreneur driving drive behind established BI companies

When Julie Ulrich moved to Bainbridge Island greater than 50 years in the past together with her husband, she was younger and energetic. She had no thought she’d turn out to be a serial entrepreneur and the driving drive behind three of the island’s well-known companies.

Via her love of individuals and a knack for creating cozy locations, she unintentionally created companies that also appeal to vacationers and locals to those neighborhood gathering areas.

Ulrich is initially from Ketchikan, Alaska, and moved to Seattle, the place she graduated from highschool with a way of journey.

When she was 19, she and her husband, Paul Storey, had been on the lookout for one thing to do after he completed his time within the Air Pressure, and he dreamed of proudly owning a bookstore.

Whereas visiting his sister’s household in Bainbridge, they found a small bookshop on the market and determined to purchase it. On the similar time, Storey was ending his final 9 months stationed within the Philippines.

Along with her father-in-law and a few buddies, Ulrich remodeled the small bookstore that bought a couple of paperbacks and tea into a comfortable place now generally known as The Eagle Harbor Ebook Co.

“We constructed all the cabinets and jam-packed every little thing into that small house,” Ulrich mentioned.

Ulrich had quite a bit to be taught. She was very younger and had no enterprise expertise, however “individuals had been understanding, particularly that first yr. It was actually enjoyable, and there was a freedom and exploration of life.”

The bookstore was the place she obtained to know the summer season households who had been coming to the island for many years and grew to like them. “I used to be type of a learner on the time, seeing issues in 1,000,000 methods by means of different individuals’s eyes.”

Ultimately, she moved the bookstore to a brand new location throughout the road from the Streamliner Diner and employed her lifelong good friend, Leigh Ann Giles. “We’re like sisters; we simply melded. It’s simply a kind of great issues.”

Ulrich and her husband ran the bookstore for seven years and bought it in 1980. They purchased a VW bus and got down to see the world. However, it didn’t final lengthy; the VW had mechanical issues, and Ulrich discovered herself labeling automobile elements within the driveway of their Kingston house as her husband tried to repair the car. “I hardly obtained a tan.”

In 1981, Ulrich went again to her enterprise roots and partnered with Giles to buy the Streamliner Diner. With their husbands, they remodeled the house and put in the primary eating counter with the large stainless-steel curve the restaurant is thought for.

Storey made all of the contemporary desserts and particular picket containers to move them. “The lemon meringue cheesecake was my favourite,” mentioned Giles.

Giles’ husband, Mark Richards, was integral in constructing the house and would usually fill in because the weekend host.

“It was homey,” mentioned Ulrich. “Each day, we provided bagels and muffins, and we had a 99-cent breakfast, which was espresso, a muffin, and one egg.”

As Giles and Ulrich reminisced, that they had clearly loved the expertise. “The nice factor is Julie and I had a terrific relationship all through the entire thing, and we labored effectively collectively. We balanced one another out. We’re nonetheless buddies,” mentioned Giles.

The 2 ran the diner for four-and-a-half years and bought it. Giles moved to Bellingham together with her husband, and Ulrich took a while off till she noticed just a little nook spot in Lynwood Heart that she thought would make a terrific place to arrange a framing store.

“The one factor I appreciated about it was the window that appears onto the road when individuals had been strolling into the films. Folks may look in, and it was great to see new faces,” mentioned Ulrich.

Right this moment, Julie’s Body Gallery is positioned on Fletcher Bay Street, celebrating 30 years of serving the neighborhood by framing and preserving recollections and mementos for island households.

She is transitioning the enterprise to its new proprietor and long-time worker, Crista Dougherty, who has labored with Ulrich for eight-and-a-half years.

Dougherty mentioned she had realized quite a bit from Ulrich in regards to the artwork and precision of framing and caring for purchasers. “It’s a mixture of serving to somebody perceive the method with out overwhelming it and discovering one thing that works with their model.”

“My motivation for staying right here so lengthy is I just like the environment that Julie made right here. She actually cares about individuals. It wasn’t about saving prices or doing issues shortly. It was about doing job and making individuals really feel liked after they had been right here. Small enterprise is about neighborhood,” mentioned Dougherty.

On the coronary heart of Ulrich’s enterprise ventures on the island is a give attention to neighborhood and creating locations the place individuals may discover a good e book, take pleasure in a chunk of pie on the diner counter with a good friend, or protect a treasured reminiscence on the body store.

When she displays on her previous companies, Ulrich mentioned she didn’t have a grand plan. “It isn’t such as you see the entire image at first; all of these items have simply come alongside. It’s actually been an journey.”

Crista Dougherty works on a frame at Julie's Frame Gallery.


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