McPhee’s prepares to move a bazillion things

For 10 years, Ballard residents have been able to stroll down to Market Street and buy everything from a giant shrunken head for $250 to hundreds of tiny treasures for $19.95 a quart at Archie McPhee’s, the wonderfully wacky, tacky store that caters to our inner child.

But, they lost their lease, so McPhee’s is packing up and heading to Wallingford, and they’re saying goodbye to some of the store’s larger fixtures that just won’t fit in the new space. Shelving, racks, an old dentist’s chair, a life-size medieval archer and a custom-built pop-up cake that did a booming business as a rental – all are for sale.

“Usually it’s a hairy man in a coconut bra jumping out of the cake,” Shana, the store manager, explains of the cake that’s now for sale for $1,500. “It’s usually more funny than saucy.”

So, once the big items are sold, how in the world will Shana and her crew pack up the estimated 10,000 different items for the 2.4-mile move to the corner of 45th and Stone Way?

Since they’ll be consolidating from two buildings into one about the size of their main building in Ballard, they’ve had to pick only the finest fixtures for the new store. And they’re packing up their storeroom behind building number two and sending it all up to the main office and warehouse in Mukilteo, where their parent company, Accoutrements, conducts its wholesale and shipping business.

McPhee’s just got the keys to their new building, a former liquor store, on April 3, so first they’ll start painting inside and out. They’ve already painted all the pegboard in four vibrant colors: pink, orange, turquoise and green. “It’ll be nice and bright,” Shana says.

Shana and her staff made a diagram of the new space and spent hours moving around little pictures of fixtures and products, trying to make it all fit.

They numbered all the displays and have packing boxes with corresponding numbers, so they can put items into a numbered box and unpack it on the right display in Wallingford – meaning no rubber chickens or Jesus action figures should go astray.

Some displays may be moved without taking items off – if it has wheels they can just wheel it up and into a truck. For others, they will literally just take the steel peg full of products off the pegboard, put the whole thing into a box, then pull it out and put it on its new fixture.

One thing they haven’t quite figured out is how to display the employee-decorated ceiling tiles from their second building.

“The ceiling is not the same at the new store, but we’ll figure out a way to display them. All the staff was very concerned about taking the ceiling tiles,” Shana says.

The move will start happening as soon as the painting is done, but Shana can’t nail down a time frame. She says they’ll stay open in Ballard and start moving fixtures and product slowly until there’s more stuff at the Wallingford store than in Ballard. Then they’ll close for hopefully just a day or two to move the cash registers and the rest of the inventory, before putting out the welcome sign in Wallingford.

“A lot of people will be very happy because we’re going to be very cramped, much like we used to be in the old space on 35th and Stone Way,” Shana says. “Believe me, it is going to be crammed. It’s going to be crazy. As we say, it’s going to be luscious.”

Oh, and the medieval archer? He’s all yours for just $599.

25 thoughts to “McPhee’s prepares to move a bazillion things”

  1. sigh….its sooo sad to see them leave. Thank god its only to Wallingford, I couldnt go on living if they left for good. Archies is a place I would take out of town family to visit, they all thought it was wonderfully wacky. I would tell them thats how Ballard rolls.

  2. Archie's came to Ballard from Wallingford. The old Wallingford location was much further down Stone. It was dark and somewhat cavernous, and every inch of wall and ceiling was covered with fabu Archie's stuff. My daughter was about 7 when we first walked in and she stopped at the door with a gasp, looked around and said “I want my room to look just like this.” Her idea of heaven… :)

  3. Sad, sad, sad. The Ballard Archie's store was where my husband proposed to me. Apparently the first and only couple in the history of Archie's. At least we'll have that!

  4. Oh, I will miss being able to walk to Archie's. I'll have to go to Wallingford for my squirrel underwear and bacon air freshener now. But it's fantastic that it's not disappearing completely.

  5. call it lower Wallingford – it was on Stone, on the east side of the street. If it had been on the west side of the street… Fremont!

  6. No, Kim, it was on Stone Way, still Wallingford. To be fair it was on the far side of Stone, so could almost be called Fremont. Almost.

  7. Wasn't it all the way down Stone Way like around 35th across from the Pacific Inn?

    I don't remember exactly (it's been a while) but we definitely considered it to be in Fremont back in the day.

  8. Yeah, it was across from the Pacific Inn back in the day. I don't know, I always called that part of Stone Wallingford. But to each his own.
    And, if memory serves, I think the lot owners were planning condos there and Archie's was financially forced out. But I'm not positive about that.

  9. At least we got to borrow them for a few years. I will indeed miss stopping in for my nihilist mints and punching nuns fixes.

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