Business

‘Far From Normal’ fills hole in Front Street

Far From Normal owner Cindy Van Dyk diplays a Yellow Submarine lunchbox, one of many unusual items she is selling out of her new store on historic Front Street in Coupeville. - Nathan Whalen/Whidbey News-Times
Far From Normal owner Cindy Van Dyk diplays a Yellow Submarine lunchbox, one of many unusual items she is selling out of her new store on historic Front Street in Coupeville.
— image credit: Nathan Whalen/Whidbey News-Times

If a shopper laughs, then Cindy Van Dyk accomplished her goal.

She owns Coupeville’s newest business, “Far From Normal,” which offers an eclectic array of toys, lunch boxes, collectibles and fair trade items that are sure to brighten the day of any visitor that stops by.

“They can come in and at least smile, and if they like my sense of humor, then they’ll laugh out loud,” Van Dyk said Wednesday.

Lining one of the walls is a collection of memorabilia including cups, keepsakes, posters and model cars highlighting everything from Star Wars to the Beatles.

‘I really like this stuff,” she said while showing off “Star Wars in Your Pocket,” which makes sounds from the iconic film series including light saber battles and Princess Leia’s timeless plea, “Help me Obi-won, you’re my only hope.”

She has one basic requirement in determining what she’ll sell at Far From Normal — it has to make her laugh.

A  Beatles Yellow Submarine lunchbox she had given her husband several years ago helped inspire her to open her store.

Her store is more than fun and games, however. She is also offering a selection of fair trade items. She carries a burlap tote bag made in Cambodia and a fabric disc that benefits a village in Guatemala, for example.

One thing she did decide to forego is the usual touristy stuff, such as spoons, that can be commonly found in shops located in areas popular to visitors. In fact she is trying to avoid selling merchandise that competes directly with her fellow merchants in Coupeville. While she doesn’t offer any collectable spoons, she is selling a telescopic Freeloader Fork.

Prior to opening Far From Normal, she had worked for several businesses downtown over the past four years. She is also known for her commitment to community service. She served one term on the Coupeville School Board and she has coordinated the Coupeville Lions Club swim program at the Admirals Cove swimming pool.

Far From Normal takes up half the space of the building that used to be the home of Back to the Island, one of three stores on Front Street owned by Deb Crocker. That business  closed earlier in the year.

Van Dyk opened her store in early March, in time for the Penn Cove Water Festival. She is planning a grand opening sometime in the future, but a date hasn’t been set yet.

She’ll soon have a new neighbor as well.

Tom and Janice Zellers plan to open Eagles Song Health and Wellness by the end of the month. Tom Seller said the store will offer organic food, natural health supplements and exercise equipment.

“We have a real passion to help people,” Zellers said.

 

Far From Normal is open every day from  “11 a.m.-ish to 5:30 p.m.-ish,” as Van Dyk described it.

 

 

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