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History of Hat Shop Wood Shop

The late John and Karen Rieke created the Wood Shop Toy Store in July of 1974. Karen, a former elementary school teacher and John, a short-lived attorney turned Lutheran Pastor decided to follow their entrepreneurial spirit in the newly revived tourist town of Leavenworth, Washington. The original Wood Shop was located in the back of 833 Front Street. All the Wood Shop merchandise was entirely handmade by John in the store. He and Karen stocked two of everything in the shop, and when Karen sold an item, John simply retreated to his tools to replace the sold ware. In the summer of 1975 the Wood Shop's exposure improved when the business moved to the front of the building.

Wood Shop profits during the early years were lean, requiring John to take on extra work as a plumber for Stroup Plumbing of Leavenworth. With the toy maker away for most of the day it became necessary for Karen to purchase more of the shop's inventory. This proved a good strategy as the Wood Shop and the town of Leavenworth continued to grow over the next seven years. In the spring of 1982, the Wood Shop moved location to

721 Front Street where the Hat Shop is today. Then, in 1986, the Woodshop moved next door to its present location at 719 Front Street.

John Rieke's idea of a shop filled with hats came to fruition with the opening of The Hat Shop in April of 1987.John was able to witness the Hat Shop's successful growth before passing away in 1995. This left the energetic Karen Rieke alone to run both businesses until her passing in the spring of 2006. The Wood Shop & Hat Shop businesses continue to be family owned and operated. Please come see us soon. Visiting the Hat Shop and Wood Shop is not just a “shopping” trip… it is an “experience!”


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