by MARK ST.J. COUHIG
Beginning today, Frick’s Healthcare, Medical Equipment and Photo is saying goodbye to Sequim.
Ella and Cy Frick say it’s time to retire.
The store has long played a central role in Sequim life. Frick’s Drugs was opened by Dora and Bud Frick, Cy’s parents, in 1947.
Cy and Ella purchased the store in 1964.
In September 2010 the Fricks closed the pharmacy and reworked the store’s name.
Now they’re closing up for good.
From 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Thursday-Friday, July 19-20, the Fricks will greet customers with cake and punch. It’s a way to celebrate both the store’s 65th anniversary and their own 52nd wedding anniversary.
It’s also a way to tell the store’s many customers, “Thanks for the memories,” Cy said.
“They came in and shared their lives,” Ella said. “Being here was like being with your friends.”
Walking through the doors
The memories include the days when Catherine Beebe would bring in animals from her family’s Olympic Game Farm, including baby Kodiak bears and wolves.
As a favor to their friends, the Fricks raised one of the farm’s baby cougars for a little more than a year. Eventually the cat starred in Disney nature films.
Their Irish setter, Shelley, had a role in “Big Red” and starred in “Lefty the Lynx.”
And then there were “the characters” who enlivened each day, including Chuck Lehman from Lehman’s Grocery Store, who Cy said would begin hurling loud, hilarious insults as soon as he entered the Frick’s doors. And Bill Knapman, and Mary Jones, “Casey’s wife.” They were all favorites, Cy said.
But mostly Ella and Cy enjoyed “being able to help people with their needs,” Cy said.
“We watched our customers become parents, then grandparents, then go to nursing homes,” he said.
“We’ve served four generations,” Ella added.
Loyal customer Orum Medsker, 96, proudly claims to be among the store’s very first customers. So does Idy Eberle, who is also in her 90s.
“That goes back to Cy’s parents,” Ella said.
Cy said the “box stores” have taken a toll on the store. “They really did affect the town. We were service-oriented. Now it’s merchandise-oriented. It’s more sophisticated displays and lower prices.”
Ella shrugged. “Everything changes,” she said.
“We’ve enjoyed the whole thing,” Cy added.
Everything must go
The closing provides an opportunity for Sequim shoppers to save big on everything in the store. “It will all be less than wholesale,” Cy said.
In addition to the merchandise, the Fricks are selling the store’s fixtures, displays, shelves and more.
One set of glass displays features brass rails. It dates from the 1930s, Cy said.
The store’s fine collection of antique cameras is also on the block, as are the 50-plus vintage photographs that line the store’s walls.
One of the photos shows the Dungeness Lighthouse “before the top came off,” Cy said. Another pictures the old wharf at Dungeness.
The Fricks said two years ago local retiree William Tallman took it upon himself to take down all of the pictures, clean them and then replace them on the walls.
Cy said while the collection will likely be breaking up, they have digitized all of the photos, ensuring they will live on.
The store’s history as a camera and photo center includes the 10 years when celebrated local photographer Ross Hamilton worked there. The customers “would line up 10 deep,” Cy said. “It didn’t matter if it took an hour. They were all learning from him.”
The equipment for the store’s medical equipment sales and rentals business also can be purchased.
The Fricks anticipate the store will be open for another six weeks to two months as they continue the process of closing down.
“Moving out of the store is about like moving out of a home,” Ella said. “A home you’ve lived in for 47 years.”
Frick’s is at 609 Sequim Village Center, just east of JC Penney.
Reach Mark Couhig at email@example.com.