By Joseph Riverson
In every town, small or big, there is a shared location that’s “home” to its residents, neighbors, and visitors at large. A location where all can meet, eat, have a beverage or two, and interact with each other in a relaxed, easy-going atmosphere, with little to no encumbrances from the fast-paced “hustle and bustle” of city life.
One such location is what Actor David Rose describes with this quote: “It’s a general store, but also a very specific store,” referencing “Rose Apothecary,” the general store in the hit comedic sitcom, “Schitt’s Creek.”
With its strategic location between the mega-cities of Seattle and Tacoma, our beloved city of Burien is a resident of some of the most beautiful scenic neighborhoods in the Pacific Northwest. One such gem is the neighborhood known as Three Tree Point.
Settled right along Puget Sound, with its amazing sceneries of water, beaches, and luscious greenery, this area is a well-kept secret of old Burien. Quiet, serene, peaceful, friendly, and welcoming are some of the emotive words synonymous with this area’s atmosphere.
It is a close-knit beach community where, although remarkably close to an ultra-busy international airport, major industry hubs, and some of America’s bustling metropolises, you still get that serene small-town, hometown feel. A place where neighbors are still neighborly, caring, friendly, and are “like family,” all right along the beautiful Puget Sound with its superb beaches. A typical morning would find locals walking their dogs along the beach, going for strolls, or taking care of their gardens, amongst the everyday tasks of family life.
In this setting, right on the corner of “Maplewild Ave SW,” you’d find the “Three Tree Point Store – A Modern Corner Market.”
“It’s a general store, but also a very specific store;” the quote referenced above is boldly printed, framed, and displayed on the left wall above the kitchen as you walk in through its main doors, and it’s as if this was quoted just for this very store. But more than what is implied in this quote, as we will find out, this is more than just a “general” and “specific” store. It is that and much, much more!
Three Tree Point Store has been open for less than a year and has already had an incredibly positive and favorable impact, making an enormous difference in the Three Tree Point locale out and out. “We did a ‘soft opening’ in mid-September 2021 and an ‘official opening on the 1st of October 2021”, says Nelle Reichert, owner of the “Three Tree Point Store.” So in less than a year, they have become a much-welcomed addition to the community and a much-needed breath of fresh air for neighbors near and far.
“This store has helped build the community immensely,” says Rob Halpin, a longtime local resident and an ardent supporter and frequenter of the store. “There is nothing like that around this area — a place where neighbors can get together and see each other. Neighbors from down the road that otherwise may not see each other frequently,” Halpin added. “Community is everything. They have helped bring that back to ‘The Point,'” said Todd Gibson, another longtime resident who, with Halpin, has known Three Tree Point Store as a favorite jaunt.
It is testimonies like these that go to show the continued fulfillment of Ms. Reichert’s dream of opening this store. On a crisp sunny warm summer morning, in the comfort of the store, a Gem of the Sound reporter sat with Nelle Reichert to learn more about herself and the store. A local Washingtonian and long-term King County Resident, Nelle embodies the full circle story of a ‘local- resident-now-turned-business-owner” who is not only making an impact but is giving back to the community she grew up in immense ways as well.
“I grew up in Normandy Park, moved to the Montlake area, lived there for five years, went to the University of Washington, then moved back in 2018,” said Nelle. “Growing up, there used to be a store where the current location of Three Tree Point Store is, which was open briefly in the nineties. I have some core memories of being able to come here when I was 12 and 13, and I remember the lady that lived here. I remember that it was a place kids could come to on their own. My siblings and I would always ride my bike here,” Nelle reminisced.
Whilst she was away in Montlake, completing college and starting a family, Nelle had some fun and unique experiences with specific stores and shops that would shape her vision for what her store would come to look like and feel like, growing into the amazing local hangout favorite it has become for Three Tree Point residents.
“I have a special place in my heart for Metropolitan Market, and that was one of my inspirations of product lines, the quality level of dry goods and deli items that I wanted to carry,” Nelle stated.
“Café Lago is another inspiration. The owner Carla came down and advised me on the flow; one of her merchandising professionals helped me with my initial ordering and pricing and helped me to ‘take off running’ by ordering the products I wanted to see. That was a place that opened whilst we were there; it was amazing because my family and I could ride our bikes to the space.
They had pizza, dry goods, and a bit more produce than I have,” Nelle continued.
“Cone & Steiner is another grocery shop with a similar background; it used to be a grocery store in the 1900s. It’s currently another woman’s business with multiple locations, along with another brand called ‘Fuel Coffee,’ owned by the same person, Dani Cone. She did not specifically mentor me, but her layout at “Cone & Steiner” is exactly how I wanted mine to be, given the efficiency and the square space,” Nelle added.
“I also went around to other smaller markets, like Wildwood Market, where I took inspiration from them on things that I thought would work well here,” Nelle noted.
These experiences inspired her vision, although, at the time, she did not realize how much those experiences would influence her. “That was so long ago, and we weren’t back here yet; I didn’t know I was doing this yet, so it’s such a privilege that I was in the right place at the right time,” Ms. Reichert shared appreciatively.
With a keen eye for what would work well regarding her vision for Three Tree Point Store, Nelle gathered a workable ensemble of flair, style, setup, look, and feel. She tailor-fitted it to the residents, neighborhood, and community of Three Tree Point when the time came for her to implement this vision.
Stay tuned for part two of this three-part series.