Store reflects owner’s fun style
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By ERIN SNELGROVE
When she was a little girl, Michele Sink of Yakima sewed outfits for her Troll dolls and dreamed of creating her own fashion line.
But after attending the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, she realized big-city life was not for her. So she completed her schooling at Central Washington University and secured a retail job at Fiddlesticks in Yakima.
After working her way up to manager, Sink bought the business in 1993 — a decision she’s never regretted.
“It was just a good fit,” said Sink, a 53-year-old Yakima native and married mother of two adult daughters. “I really enjoy the people. We have the most wonderful customers.”
In her shop, faux flowers sprout from glass vases. The aromas of lemon verbena and lilacs waft from candle-lined shelves, and hangers are draped with the latest spring fashions.
Upon further exploration, customers will also find bridal shower and baby gifts, cards for every occasion and other fun knickknacks — all in keeping with Sink’s personal, “fun” style.
“It’s like Christmas all the time,” she said. “It’s the same, but it’s new. I love the change of seasons.”
The difference between working at a store and owning one is like baby-sitting versus having your own children, Sink said. Every day, she’s charged with making decisions affecting her livelihood — from what products to carry to how many employees to hire.
When times were tough, Sink didn’t pay herself. Survival, she said, depended on having a positive attitude, realistic expectations and loyal staff and customers.
“You weather the storm and look for brighter days,” Sink said, noting the region’s agriculture industry determines many shoppers’ disposable income. “If the farmers have a bad year, it affects everyone.”
Although her customers are primarily women, Sink said they range from children to grandparents who live across the Yakima Valley and beyond. Her two daughters and her sister-in-law work at the store, and her husband helps out occasionally with technical projects.
When she’s not working, Sink is devoted to her Bible study group. She’s an avid water-skier and likes to stay active. She’s looking forward to seeing her business continue to grow and expand, much of which depends on keeping up on the latest trends, she said.
“It’ll be interesting to see what new horizons there are,” she said. “I always keep my eyes open.”
|Owner: Michele Sink
Product or service: Retail store
Location: 1601 Summitview Ave., Yakima
Length of ownership: 18 years; business opened in 1976 under different ownership
Number of employees: Eight to 14 depending on time of year
Average number of hours worked by owner each week: 24-plus