When Misty Blanton first visited Whidbey Island in 1996, she was charmed by the town of Coupeville, the overall Dutch Heritage of Whidbey Island and by a quaint little store called “A Touch of Dutch.” The store stayed in her mind for several years.
In 2001, Misty moved to Whidbey Island and learned that the owners were looking for someone to work at the store. With mostly a German/English heritage she discovered later that she had a great grandmother who was Dutch. She began working at A Touch of Dutch and continued to provide Dutch imports to the many loyal customers while looking for ways to build the customer base.
After two years of working at the store, she purchased the business in 2003. Eleven years later it’s still going strong and draws walk-in customers from Tacoma to Canada.
A Touch of Dutch carries the hard-to-find beautiful Heritage Lace line and the popular Northridge Gardens lotion bars. Other specialties include Dutch cheese, kroketten, bitterballen and frozen matjes herring.
In addition, the store expanded its merchandise this last year to include German Foods and gifts including Kinder Chocolate, Bavarian Meats, Haribo, Bahlsen Cookies and Marzipan; and recently added some Swedish and Norwegian foods.
To emphasize the authentic licorice for which the Dutch are known, the store boasts over 35 different types of licorice from sweet to salty and also includes licorice from Germany, Finland, New Zealand and Sweden.
One of the major steps that enhanced the business was the creation of a website that includes the ability to order most items on line. Misty says, “It has really grown and has become 35% of my annual sales now. Not only do I ship within the United States, I ship all over the world.”
Under her ownership of A Touch of Dutch, Misty notes many interesting items:
- She once shipped a Dutch Hat to actress Sondra Locke (famous for her role in the Clint Eastwood movies) to use in a play she was doing.
- She shipped an order of 100 wedding tiles made in Holland to a customer in Holland!
- Someone in Germany once asked if they could buy a franchise of the store.
- She has designed her own humorous Dutch card line and wholesales them to Canadian Dutch stores.
- Opera singer Maria Alsatti is one of her customers.
- She sells more Northridge Gardens lotion bars than any store in the Pacific Northwest.
- She also has a small section in her store dedicated to the sale of religious/Catholic items such as Holy Cards, Rosaries, Saints Medals, and Baptism/Communion/Confirmation gifts.
- Matt Bradley, from the Deadliest Catch TV show, recently came in and bought some Dutch goodies too.
A Touch of Dutch is located in Downtown Coupeville at 11 NW Front Street. For more information about the products carried by A Touch of Dutch or to order items on line, visit the website – www.atouchofdutch.com – or give Misty a call 1-888-772-4855.