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SBDC Success Story: Washington

January 22, 2014

State: Washington
Center: Washington SBDC
Client: John Lyman

The Carlton General Store on two-lane Highway 153 heading toward Twisp and Winthrop looks like a throwback to an earlier time, with a false front on the weathered, wood-plank building and hand-painted signs advertising bait, ice and gas. But how to explain the wintertime yoga classes held alongside the ice cream display case, or the Kombucha in the coolers alongside Pabst Blue Ribbon, the quinoa a short distance from the Spam?

It’s all part of owner Jeff Lyman’s plan to create a 21st century general store for the diverse residents of his rural community who share a love of the outdoors and the Methow Valley. In mid-June the store’s Facebook page had 365 “likes,” which is about the population of Carlton, Lyman said, maybe more. Recent posts included shout-outs to local organic eggs, fresh-picked morels, and hot dogs for $1.50.

“This is a local’s place,” Lyman said. “There are very few out-of-towner’s here.” Until buying the General Store in December 2011, Lyman was an out-of-towner himself, albeit one with long ties to the area. An avid outdoorsman with a history of working hard to support his fishing habit, Lyman had first visited the Methow Valley with his family when he was a teen and had returned many times since then. (more…)