business community news
“When I went down the hill and saw the harbor, I loved the idea,” Kandice Claybaker says of her decision to move cross-country to buy Waterfront Natural Markets in January 2020. I’m here.
A transplant from St. Petersburg, Florida, Clay Baker was drawn to the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. She experienced her beauty when she visited her brother, who attended her school in Oregon.
After years in the construction industry, Claybaker moved over 3,000 miles away, crossing the coast to try his hand at being a first-time business owner in a small town.
While pursuing his career in Florida, Claybaker was rooted in the community work of the Claybaker Dustoff Foundation. This non-profit organization helped veterans with transitional assistance during hard times.
“It’s been fun giving it to the community,” says Claybaker. The foundation helped provide homeless veterans with backpacks containing essentials such as toiletries and food.
More than just buying a business
Claybaker purchased the market from Bruce Winfrey, who founded the shop in 1975. She believes her commitment to keeping the storefront as a local marketplace is one of her selling points.
Claybaker instinctively knew he wasn’t just buying businesses. She was engaging with the community with the goal of increasing the presence of locally produced products.
The Waterfront Natural Market continues its tradition of selling supplements and whole foods. However, Claybaker has redesigned the interior to provide expanded real estate to showcase products from the region. Claybaker’s handpicked local items each have their own community story.
on the shelf
Among the products sold at the Waterfront Natural Market,
- The nut butters and scone mixes in the Do Good Breakfast Bundle help train women to overcome adversity in Portland, Oregon.
- Unpaper towels, reusable paper towels made by Marley Monsters of Eugene, Oregon, empower sustainable living.
- S.Herpa Chai is a small batch black tea produced in Boulder, Colorado. Inspired by a son’s love of his mother’s tea, which he drank as a child growing up in her small village 10,000 feet high in the Himalayas.
- Edmonds Umchew Bars are one of many products supporting the gluten and dairy free community. Biff’s Blue Ribbon BBQ is made locally in Puyallup and Barlean’s Organic Oils are made in the Whatcom County town of Ferndale.
- A belief in prayer and giving back to the community is the message behind Little Prayer Tea sugar, a family-owned business in Normandy Park, King County.
This small market has something for all the senses. From the San Juan Islands arrives My Fav Sweater Eau de Toilette, a perfume made by a mother for her daughter. This perfume promises to “take you to the quintessentially warm, tea + book + fireplace in very cold weather.”
A line of jewelry handcrafted in the Pacific Northwest, No Man’s Land uses responsibly sourced North American hardwood and natural mineral pigments combined with vintage paper.
Reorganizing the retail space also allowed Claybaker to open up space for local artists and events. The veteran’s artwork is currently on display in the ‘Artist’s Corner’ and we will be hosting a rotating artist show. Upcoming events include partnering with his vendors at pop-up stores, his Sip and Stroll on October 8, and attending local events like Girls Night Out in November.
part of the community
As a member of the Gig Harbor Downtown Alliance, it’s also important for Claybaker to connect with nearby business owners. The Waterfront Natural Market also maintains strong ties with neighboring communities, such as Port Orchard, with locally grown duck and chicken eggs, raw milk deliveries from Blackjack Valley Farms, and wheat from Palouse in eastern Washington. provide the fruits of
“We love feedback,” said Claybaker, adding that as a first-time business owner she’s learned to listen to the community.
“We get a lot of special requests,” says Claybaker.
Quality supplements are a big part of Waterfront Natural Market’s business and we welcome special orders for all of our products. Customers receive personal shopping assistance to help navigate their individual needs, including dietary restrictions, snack suggestions, and even the perfect his PNW gift idea.
small town benefits
Leaving the city and living in a small town has provided Claybaker with unexpected and rewarding benefits. Store calls go beyond normal product questions and requests.
“Some people call us on chat to say hello and see how we’re doing,” says Claybaker.
With large windows facing the sidewalks of Harbor View Drive, you’ll see staff walking the typical dog, but in some cases, like costumed pigs on a leash, it’s really weird. something will appear.
You only have one day to live as a small business owner in Gig Harbor.
Waterfront Natural Market
Email: [email protected]
phone: (253) 851-8120
time: Monday to Friday 10am to 6pm, Saturday and Sunday 10am to 5pm
address: 3122 Harbourview Drive, Gig Harbor