Business Spotlight: Harbor General Store unexpectedly closes
Harbor General Store, a downtown Gig Harbor establishment valued by customers both for the goods it sold and the gathering place it provided, unexpectedly closed permanently last week.
Its last day of business was Sunday, March 5. Harbor General was approaching its eighth anniversary in business, according to a Facebook post announcing the closure.
The Facebook post, signed by owners Stephanie and Coby Sagle, provided no reason for the closure. Gig Harbor Now’s attempts to contact the Sagles were unsuccessful.
“The time has come for our family to spend more time together, slow down our pace of life and transition into another adventure,” the Sagles said in the Facebook post.
Harbor General’s niche
Harbor General filled an important niche in the downtown business district. Its convenient location on Pioneer Way near Harborview Drive made it easily accessible for boaters tying up at one of the downtown marinas.
Boaters wanting to stock up on snacks, beer and wine could easily walk to the store.
It also offered coffee and breakfast and lunch foods. Gig Harbor Chamber President and CEO Miriam Battson called it a “true general store.”
“That space was in an area where a lot of business meetings took place,” Battson said. “It was a place that a lot of community members would go, have breakfast or coffee. I think a lot of business took place there.”
The Sagles were active members of the Gig Harbor Downtown Waterfront Alliance. New Alliance Executive Director Carrianne Ekberg said their presence will be missed on the waterfront.
“Gig Harbor is a wonderful, vibrant place,” Ekberg said. “I have no doubt that another business will go in there and open up. We’re very inventive in ways that we can support boaters, tourists, other people coming in.”
No downtown grocery
Downtown Gig Harbor has been without a full-service grocery store since 2011, when a QFC on Judson Street closed. Harbor General wasn’t that, exactly, but it provided some grocery goods.
A much-anticipated renovation of Peninsula Shopping Center on Judson raised hopes that a grocer would return to the former QFC spot. But in July 2022, anticipated anchor tenant Town & Country Markets announced they were hitting pause on plans for a Gig Harbor location.
Local Makers supporter
Harbor General Store was a crucial supporter of the Local Makers of Gig Harbor group. Local Makers is a collection of home-based small businesses.
The store hosted most of Local Makers’ markets in its Pioneer Way parking lot. The Sagles also provided shelf space for Local Makers members.
“They had been wanting to bring in local items as another way to support the community,” said Caasi Dickens, founder of Local Makers of Gig Harbor. Working with Local Makers helped Harbor General achieve that goal while providing local artisans a chance to get goods in front of customers.
The Sagles were “great to work with. Super nice people,” Dickens said.
Dickens spent last week reaching out to other locations to find a new home and business to carry Local Makers products. Watch Local Makers’ Facebook page for updates.
“Harbor General helped us get our wings. Now we’re in a position where we have enough branding and are established enough that we can find other opportunities,” Dickens said.