The Essence of Olympia
Olympia isn’t merely the state capital of Washington; it’s a quirky, multifaceted city with significant roles in music and pop culture. In the 1990s, it was a center of indie and riot grrrl culture, so much so that rock band Sleater-Kinney is named for one of its streets. For any retail shop to survive and thrive nearly half a century in downtown “Oly,” it needs to inspire and maintain customer loyalty. Archibald Sisters is just such a business.
Shelley and Susie Archibald, the original Archibald Sisters, started that business in 1975 with partner Phil Rollins. In 1991, the shop moved to its current location, where Phil has been sole owner since 2008. It offers more than 160 fragrances and associated lotions alongside an eclectic array of books, greeting cards, novelty items and toys. What makes a product a good fit for Archibald Sisters’ inventory? It either has to bring fun to a customer’s life, “or it has to make somebody feel good,” says Phil.