Terjung’s Studio of Gifts closing after 50 years – but first, a West Seattle Summer Fest sale

(WSB photos by Patrick Sand. Above, Gregor Terjung with daughter Gail Spores)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

“50 years is enough.”

That’s the simple reason Gregor Terjung gives for the decision to close his West Seattle Junction gift shop, Terjung’s Studio of Gifts.

He and wife Gloria Terjung took over the storefront at 4547 California SW in 1968, after 10 years of previous ownership. Their lease runs through this October, and they’re planning to stay open until then – depending on how long the merchandise lasts! – but they wanted to make the announcement now so you’ll know they’re having a big sale during West Seattle Summer Fest (July 13th-15th).

They aren’t selling the business itself, just closing it. Daughter Gail Spores – who’s been working there 40 years – doesn’t think anyone would buy it, given how the retail business continues to shift more and more onto the internet.

In the meantime, all these years, the shop has been a family labor of love as well as livelihood.

Gloria worked for the Seattle Housing Authority for 30+ years and is now focused on bookkeeping for Terjung’s Studio of Gifts. Gregor and Gloria’s daughter Gina comes in once a week.

Gregor is 88 but has continued to work seven days a week. Those aren’t short days, either – 7 am to 6 pm.

“I love what I do,” he explains. What exactly he does has evolved over the years. Along with running the retail operation, Gregor used to have a thriving hot-stamp printing operation with major customers such as Frederick & Nelson. The retail has been a constant, though. “I’m going to miss my customers,” Gregor acknowledges. And he knows they’ll miss the merchandise that they can’t find anywhere else.

The shop is small but has a big collection – from cards (half a dozen suppliers) to candy to candles to cups to crosses.

They also sell toys – people who came in with their parents as kids now bring in kids of their own; as we stand talking by the front counter, a stroller-pushing mom comes in to browse.

The candy, by the way, is in a classic glass case, sold in bulk – candy you might not have heard of before, like cashew grizzlies, watermelon rock candy, Boston baked beans.

An old-school gumball machine stands right next to the candy case.

Toys that have been popular over the years include Beanie Babies. The family remembers the craze in the 1990s. “We couldn’t keep them in stock,” Gail recalls. There’s still a shelf in back, and other types of toys in the store.

Seasonal items, too:

The shop’s draw has been its people as much as its merchandise, Gail believes. “People come back because of customer service.” Gregor adds, “I guess we’re doing something right.”

Gail says closing is “going to be hard even though we know it’s time … we’ve made so many friendships over the years.” And yet the retail business has changed in so many ways, not just the increasing dominance of online sales. The family recalls scouting merchandise at gift shows, which themselves have now consolidated and generally require a trip out of town, to someplace like Las Vegas.

While the family’s been West Seattle through and through for a half-century-plus, Gregor is from Chicago. He was stationed at the Fort Lewis Army base when he met Gloria, who was working for Boeing at the time. (Gregor’s four years in the Army also took him other places, including Fort Bliss, D.C., and California.) His family roots in Chicago are echoed in the store – particularly the candy counter; his grandmother had a candy shop in Chicago, and an inspirational work ethic, too – she made her own ice cream and sold hot dogs, too (“the best ones ever!”) and worked on strawberry farms in Florida during the shop’s seasonal closures.

“Quite a businesswoman,” Gregor says. Clearly, she would be proud of her grandson.

Now, about the everything-must-go sale that’ll start at Summer Fest: They’ll start with 50 percent off items outside (Summer Fest has its roots in a big sidewalk sale, after all), 25 percent inside. “Maybe more over time,” Gail says – they’ll see how it goes.

Once Terjung’s Studio of Gifts closes, what’s next? Gregor isn’t sure yet, though he admits, “I love woodworking. I have a wood shop where I can do stuff … though I’m getting to the age where my kids don’t want me around power tools.” Maybe classes, maybe volunteering. “It’ll be a big change after all these years.”

As it will for the West Seattle Junction.

25 Replies to "Terjung's Studio of Gifts closing after 50 years - but first, a West Seattle Summer Fest sale"

  • Kim July 2, 2018 (12:15 pm)

    What a wonderful legacy for them to leave behind.  I always liked going in their shop.  It reminded me of a shop I’d go into as a kid in my small town in South Dakota.  

  • Chris July 2, 2018 (12:35 pm)

    Wow.   As a child, I would go and buy my mom a special gift there….usually a tea cup and saucer.   This was a long time ago.   This was always the place I went as growing up.   Now years later, I still see the collection of tea cups and saucers I bought for her all those years.    Those working there in those years were always so kind to me.   A child in wonderment as I would go in looking for something for her.    Thank you for all those wonderful years so many years ago.   I must have been there when you opened as it was that far back.

  • momof3boys July 2, 2018 (1:20 pm)

     I first encountered this shop when I bought the embossed napkins for my wedding, 33 years ago!  Thank you for your service to our community.  You will be missed.  Where will I get the candles for my glockenspiel?? 

  • WSMama83 July 2, 2018 (1:27 pm)

    I have been going to Terjung’s since I was a young child and am so sad to hear it is closing.  I understand though and hope that Gregor and Gloria can finally enjoy a nice retirement together.  

  • Ice July 2, 2018 (1:44 pm)

    This place has the best sticker collection in town. Where am I a going to get spooky ghost stickers now?!

  • MercyMoi July 2, 2018 (1:52 pm)

    I’ve taken for granted that I can pick up a box of fresh candles every Christmas for my Swedish angel chimes. Thank you for your treasures all these years!

  • WestSeattlite July 2, 2018 (2:04 pm)

    The Cheap Candy Store!

  • Ericak July 2, 2018 (2:17 pm)

    We love Terjung’s!  A regular stop for us every Sunday while at the market – my children look forward to the treat of a gum ball and a toy.   Also my favorite place to buy all of my baking wrapping supplies, party favors and seasonal gifts.  We will miss you.

  • justme July 2, 2018 (2:19 pm)

    This is sad, and represents an era gone by. They will be missed!

  • KT July 2, 2018 (2:28 pm)

    Just a wonderful man.

  • Sandi Stewart July 2, 2018 (2:47 pm)

    Gregor, Gloria and Gina are good people. They, and the store, will be missed. Gregor supplied my bridal business with foil-printed napkins and ribbons back in the 80s. Ah, sweet memories! Best wishes in your retirement. :-)

  • Carlin July 2, 2018 (3:10 pm)

    We love the store! I’ve always been so impressed by the customer service and the handmade aprons in the store. So sad to see them go, but wish them both the best of luck on their next adventure. 

  • Aly July 2, 2018 (3:32 pm)

    Noooo. I need to recompose myself and emotions before I make this about me and my needs. I love Terjung’s and am so grateful to shop at a store that was part of my youthful junction memories and has continued the same tradition for my son. They have helped me with numerous events, showers, power outages, stockings, thank you, birthdays, memorials, candle refills and of course candy refills. Oh boy, it is all about me. With gratitude, thank you and congratulations. John and I will miss you and the magic tricks that go on in the back of the store.

  • RayWest July 2, 2018 (3:54 pm)


  • Tamsen Spengler July 2, 2018 (6:15 pm)

    Will miss buying my doilies n Christmas ornaments n gifts. And candy!!!

  • erin98126 July 2, 2018 (7:17 pm)

    I love this store. I always feel nostalgic every time I go in there. I will truly miss it!

  • Friendly July 2, 2018 (7:26 pm)

    We go every Sunday during the farmers market. The kids love bringing in their $1-$2 dollars and buying toys and candy.  We are going to miss this place and the proprietors. They are so patient with the kid trying to decide between the .50 cent candy or the airplane kit. 

  • wscommuter July 2, 2018 (9:19 pm)

    God bless to these wonderful people.  We’ve shopped there for 30+ years … I hope retirement is long and joyful.  We’ll miss you in the Junction.  

  • Karen Arthur White July 2, 2018 (9:57 pm)

    My dad bought a special hanky for my mother each birthday for decades.  I suspect Gail helped him with it.   Wonderful, wonderful family..

  • Corey Durrell July 3, 2018 (8:54 am)

    Sorry to see them go.  I’ve bought many cards and calendars here over the years…and candy too.  Very nice people.   I hope  they do really well at the sale!

  • Joyce Ramsden July 3, 2018 (9:16 am)

    We always looked forward to coming to Seattle in July when Reis, (my nephew, Gina’s son), would ‘hire’ his cousins Sam and Ben to help him sell candy at the store’s sidewalk sale. …. a highlight of their summer.  Greg, Gloria, and Gail, – you truly have earned your retirement many times over, but I know that you will be missed and will also miss your store life.love, Joyce, your Victoria ‘in-law’

  • WSGirl66 July 3, 2018 (6:59 pm)

    Happy retirement Greg, Gloria, and Gail.  Will miss popping in for family updates and chocolate covered gummy bears.  Not to mention fun things for the classroom.  So glad my brother married into the family.  Not only did we get a great sister in law but her wonder family too.  Love you.  Carol

  • Lisa Silvers July 4, 2018 (8:06 pm)

    I am so sad to hear they are closing. I used tolove coming in here when I lived in West Seattle and buying cards and gifts and Gregor and Gail and I would visit. They have the nicest cards and unusual gifts and things. Cool little toys too. Very beautiful people. Bless you on your retirement. By the way do you have any old dolls from the 60’s at all just curious?  You will be missed. 

  • Sarena July 9, 2018 (10:17 pm)

    So incredibly sad. And what a blessing he’s been. There truly will be nothing like it – perhaps forever? Thank you for your dedication artistry and kindness!!!! You will be SORELY missed. Best wishes in your continued work and life. 

  • Patricia E. Adams July 17, 2018 (10:21 am)

    Special thanks to my Grandson,Mike D.Adams, for telling me about this happening. I live many, many miles away but I remember wonderful things about this special shop and the family that created it and made it one of a kind. My memories of the store go back a long ways and are connected also to a special friend, Gloria’s sister Marlene. I went to school with Marlene and I can tell from the remarks posted by other family members that they too are all wonderful people. They are the kind of people that made West Seattle the great little “small town” it used to be.I hope you have a grand sale and enjoy your much deserved retirement.Patricia Adams (Tricia)

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