New Everett gift store debuts in former J. Matheson space

EVERETT — When the storied J. Matheson gift store in downtown Everett closed earlier this year, it didn’t take long for the owner of Burkett’s Savvy Clothing to size up the situation.

“Within a day, I knew what I wanted to do — open a gift store,” Holly Burkett-Pohland said.

For years, she’d wanted to expand the 44-year-old business, founded by her mother in 1978. Now, the retail space next to her shop was available.

The landlord was an easy sell. Securing a lease was a snap.

“Our family owns the building,” Burkett-Pohland said.

Burkett’s Home + Gifts opened this month at 2615 Colby Ave., in the space formerly occupied by J. Matheson Gifts.

The new store carries cards, kitchen gadgets, children’s clothing and loungewear. Other offerings include French cookware, charcuterie boards, kitchen tea towels and the work of local artists.

Anytime you can add a new business to downtown, “it’s great,” said Colton Davis, with the Downtown Everett Association.

“It’s very elegant, very fun,” said Davis on a visit to the store. “It’s similar to J. Matheson in that you’ll find some unique things here.”

Judy Matheson founded the downtown Everett gift store in 1991. Matheson decided not to sell the name and business when she closed the store and retired in March at age 75.

Downtown Everett has welcomed a stack of new retailers the past year or so.

The list includes Chai Cupboard, tea and spices at 2809 Colby; Planted, house plants and more at 2829 Wetmore and Artisans PNW and Artisans Books & Coffee, books, handcrafted art and local music at 1800 and 1802 Hewitt Ave.

For more businesses check out the downtown association’s shopping guide,

The store’s layout and merchandise mix is an evolving enterprise, Burkett-Pohland said.

“We’re testing a lot of brands out to see how they fit,” she said “We want to make it worthwhile for our customers to come here. We are a destination store.”

Shoppers are already asking for more books, more children’s clothing and more cards, Burkett-Pohland said.

She plans to comply.

Don’t see what you like? Speak up, she said.

For Mukilteo resident and former J. Matheson customer Danielle Barrett, Burkett’s Home + Gifts fills the gap.

“I know where to go now,” said Barrett, who stopped by for teachers’ gifts and left with a shopping bag full of candles and chocolates.

Once they got the keys, Burkett-Pohland and her husband Todd Pohland scrambled. They planned to open in June. It was an eight-week marathon of construction, painting and decking out the place.

“When I took over the space it was all cleaned out,” she said.

Their first move was to open up a wall and create an entrance in the clothing store to the gift store.

A paint job and new floors followed.

A tour of gift stores from Bellingham to Tacoma helped Burkett-Pohland decide how to stock the shelves.

Then she hired five new employees.

Burkett’s gifts complements a nearby home decor store, Jana’s Favorite Finds at 2609 Colby Ave., Burkett-Pohland said.

Jana’s carries new and vintage items, home and garden decor, cards, gifts and items crafted by local artisans.

“We are excited to have one another on the same block,” Burkett-Pohland said of her retail neighbor.

Burkett-Pohland has owned the clothing store since 1997, the year she bought the business from her late mother, JoAnn Burkett.

“I had the clothing store down,” she said. “This is a new venture.”

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

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