Makenna & Bailey, superstar Anko shoppers
Close to 200 people lined up on Friday 10/18 for the grand opening of Anko at The Village at Totem Lake. These super-excited ladies in the photo live in Sammamish and woke up at 4:30 am so they could arrive at 6:30 am and be #4 and #5 to enter the new store. Nope, I'm no kidding. They even pre-shopped online for a more targeted experience, as you can see by their heaping cart of goodies. When asked what they love about Anko they explained, "It's appealing like Ikea, but waaaayy cuter and cheaper."
There's a smattering of everything, so as you peruse through the store you will walk past dining and kitchen items, bath and living room, pets, clothing, seasonal and then children's items. An adult winter coat is $35. Cute little jars for gifting holiday cookies are $2-5. A marble cheeseboard (very popular!) is $15. Their cutting boards are a hot item also. The most expensive item in the store that I witnessed was a $49 marble table. Everything feels new, fresh and current and amazingly affordable. Products are sourced globally, a fact they are proud of and freely share, since they also put effort and thought into making sure they support living wages, care for the environment and excel as good citizens.
I probably said something hilarious trends explained tah-dahhhh
I had the opportunity to chat with Ryan Greenough (photo), GM for Anko U.S., who explained that the way Anko differentiates itself is by making the store an experience for its shoppers. As many retailers do, they have to ask themselves....What would compel people to come into a physical store over shopping online? The answer is this: Anko makes it easy to shop. They narrow the choices down for you. As you approach the dining section, you will not find 14 choices of plates. There will be 3 consistent 'trends' that can be found throughout the store and can easily coordinate which are: urban, timeless and natural. Great idea-simplify! I wish Cheesecake Factory would do this with their menu, so I didn't have to have a mental breakdown trying to order there.
In case this wasn't already my lucky day experiencing the grand opening of Anko, I also was able to be a student in one of their community workshops in fall floral arranging. A Bellevue mother/son floral team from Flowers for the People walked me and five other giddy Anko shoppers through a perfectly timed 30 minute session of putting together a fabulous fall arrangement. Of course, it started with an Anko glass vase, and then we built up our orange, brown and green foliages from there. My proud masterpiece is in the photo above. Anko hosts various community workshops from time to time in partnership with local businesses, and I'd highly recommend signing up for one.
Store hours are Mon-Sat 8:30am-9pm. Sunday 11-7:30. Phone is 425-947-2499.