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Best of Olympia 2015 Retail: Eastside Food Co-op, Dumpster Values, Funk Fuzz, Deadbeat Olympia ...

Weekly Volcano staff names the best in Olympia retail for 2015

BEST NEW BUSINESS: Brewer/manager Jeff Stokes, left, and head brewer Pat Jansen are matching the kitchen's locally-sourced scratch fare resulting in large crowds at the new Three Magnets Brewing Co. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

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Cobb's peanut butter cups

Do you remember these really old commercials for York Peppermint Patties, where a lady puts one in her mouth and then begins sighing and oohing and ahhing? Or the ones where a frazzled mom would jump into the bath with a cry of "Calgon, take me away"? Maybe not, but you get the idea, right? Eating a Cobb's peanut butter cup is kind of like that - only it's much better than any mainstream candy, and more healthful, too. The cups are made with mostly certified-organic ingredients, many of them raw. But the key to their amazing powers is probably the Himalayan salt that's mixed in with such ingredients as cacao, coconut oil, honey and dry-roasted peanuts. The top's swirl of peanut butter and chocolate, meanwhile, looks sort of like that Calgon bath of old. {MOLLY GILMORE}


Eastside Food Co-op

The news relates to the co-op's soup and salad bar. The bar was long closed on Sundays, but since March, it's been open seven days a week, which is great news for those who'd rather eat healthful, veggie-laden food than cook it. Or even for those who'd rather eat pasta than cook it, since the salad bar usually includes at least one pasta option. (Sometimes it's even baked macaroni and cheese.) More than half of the bar is devoted to items you can combine to make a salad or wrap of your choice, but it's the prepared salads and soups that make this the perfect place for an easy dinner to go. {MG}


Dumpster Values

Since the mid-'90s, Dumpster Values has attracted unabashed fashion mavens for its eclectic array of quirky styles and accessories. Outfits sampled from the latter half of the twentieth century can be pieced together into bold displays of Olympia chic. Retro track jacket? Check. Authentic Ghostbusters T-shirt? Check. Dale Evans cowgirl shirt? Check. Mad Men-esque '60s cocktail dress? Check. Whatever vintage look it is you're going for - as long as it's a good one - Dumpster Values has you covered. You will find something here that you want, and it will make you think about who you want to be. Bonus: Dumpster Values and the employees that make it tick are a very real member of the community too. {RON SWARNER}


Funk Fuzz & Deadbeat Olympia

Two new music shops opened their doors in Thurston County in 2014. One in downtown Olympia, and one on Oly's college-saturated Westside. First, Funk Fuzz - which opened in downtown's Dumpster Values after the longtime Phantom City Records closed - is a nice addition to the digger's scene. You'll find everything from punk and indie to '70s reggae dub. Oly-fixture and owner Johnny Baltimore lives the dream from 4-7 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday at 302 Fourth Ave.  Over the bridge, up the hill and across the street from Rainy Day Record's original location, Deadbeat Olympia is in a prime location (226 N. Division St.) to have records, comics, games and more. And did I mention live music nearly every night of the week? Owner Brandon Rowley says, "In a town of 40-some-odd-thousand people with the number of bands that are signed to labels big and small, it seemed like the sensible thing to do." Both storeowners are key players in the music scene, and both support local music to the fullest. {NIKKI MCCOY}


Captain Little

In March, Olympia lost its much-loved downtown toy store, Wind Up Here. In August, a new toy store opened in the same space: Captain Little. Captain Little continues Wind Up Here's tradition of stocking toys that are a little different than what you might find at the average chain store. There is plenty to encourage creative play, learning and good old-fashioned fun - art supplies, books, puppets and wacky amuse-yourself gadgets like you used to play with at Grandpa's house. But Captain Little also has abundant offerings for grownups who haven't grown up. (And even some for grownups who have grown up - greeting cards, water bottles, lunchboxes and canvas storage totes, to name a few.) It took major willpower to leave without making a purchase. And hey, that's the point, right? {MG}



Matter, the gallery devoted to art made with repurposed, reclaimed, recycled and otherwise green materials, closed Jan. 31. The gallery's combination of aesthetic appeal and environmental responsibility - and its mix of pop-can jewelry, paintings of chickens and lamps shaped like the Space Needle - won it lots of admiration. (Volcano readers voted it Best Gallery in 2011, 2012 and 2014.) Last year, when founder Jo Gallaugher moved to Seattle, some of the artists who'd shown their work at the gallery, banded together to run it themselves, buying it from Gallaugher with help from a Kickstarter campaign. But less than a year later, the gallery is no more, though a bit of hope remains: The artists who remained in charge of the gallery through the end are hoping to revive it someday, sometime. {MG}


Buy Nothing

Just as the free store at the Eastside Olympia Food Co-op is a free alternative to shopping, Buy Nothing groups are free alternatives to online shopping, found on Facebook. The groups are popping up all over; a Poulsbo couple had a pretty elaborate wedding with the help of the group there. In the past year, the Buy Nothing Olympia group saw so much action that it's now been divided in four - Olympia East, Olympia West, Tumwater and Lacey. The idea is simple: Offer what you have to give, ask for what you'd like to receive and express your gratitude for what you get. It's a great idea. (Note, though, that results vary, and while the idea with the smaller groups was to keep things hyper-local, the larger group offered more unusual items and gave participants a higher chance of finding an item they sought.) {MG}


Olympia Olive Oil

If you've heard about the book, Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil, then you know that the faux olive oil game is rampant these days. In fact, the book claims that nearly 50 percent of olive oils sold in the U.S. are tampered with - think artificial flavoring and coloring. So what does an EVO lover do if they want the real stuff? Visit the fine folks at Olympia Olive Oil. They're the real deal. Bring a date to their store, peruse the olive oil vessels, read up on its single varietal fruit, pull the fusti value for a taste, discuss, then walk away with several bottles. You'll never use supermarket olive oil again. {RS}

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