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Drees boutique celebrates 90 years in Olympia

One of a kind shops are few and far between these days. Sadly, they’ve fallen to big box entities and online shopping. So when one remains, it’s apparent that they’re something extra special.

Such is the case with Drees in Olympia.

Drees, a boutique style shop focusing on fine gifts and home decor, recently celebrated their 90th anniversary. And what a celebration it was! With entertainment, refreshments, and a gathering of beloved customers, Drees toasted the holidays and their longstanding commitment to curated treasures.

Anyone who has lived in Olympia for a time can share about a positive experience at Drees. From the moment you open the antique door handle and enter, the ambience consumes you. Everything is unique, everything is luxurious, and whatever you find - whether a candle, throw, or cookbook - you know it will be a purchase you won’t regret.

My own mother was once employed at Drees. Perhaps that is where my love and appreciation for the store took hold. During college she helped seasonally, wrapping presents for lucky recipients. Owner Ruthann Goularte taught her precisely how to measure, cut, and adorn each package. Beautiful wrapping is a skill my mom still possesses today and a complimentary service Drees still offers. No doubt, a gift from Drees is always received with a smile. From the inside out, you know it was chosen with care.

My mom’s own memories of shopping at Drees date back to the original owner and namesake Jimmie Drees who opened shop in 1929. He sold to the Cowan family in the 1960s and then Goularte took ownership in 1976.

Ever since, Goularte has carried on the tradition of Drees being a cornerstone of beauty, function, and near necessity in a world otherwise full of fast and disposable notions.

“[Drees is] a true local legend for downtown Olympia," said Cheryl Frable, a long-time Drees patron. "Beautiful things and wonderful staff.”

And I concur. As I perused recently I heard amazing stories from a Drees employee about the European artist who creates jewelry they are currently featuring by tatting. It was breathtaking! I picked up my favorite soap - elderflower and vetiver - as a treat for myself and made note of a salt keeper that will be perfect for my sister’s birthday.

Around every corner, Drees artfully displays scenes of unique merchandise; things you just won’t find elsewhere. But more than the well-sourced products, it seems that Drees has managed to capture a sense of delight. Shoppers love Drees for their assortment of home treasures and creative gifts, but it’s truly the heart of Drees that brings them back year after year, decade after decade, and before we know it, century after century.

It’s true, what they open with on their website:

Drees offers more than great products; we create traditions, nurture relationships, enhance homes, and provide a respite from the hustle and bustle of everyday life Drees is like a treasured friend – we’re here for you when you need us, and always happy to help.

The next time you find yourself near downtown Olympia, pop by the corner of Washington and Legion. You’ll witness history and surely find something you adore for yourself or a loved one.

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