Oodalolly, the new home decor store that opened just over three weeks ago in the space where Blackbeary Bog used to be, is a new twist on the old classic. Decorative star lights glisten in the windows, bookshelves are laden with colorful trinkets, and tastefully arranged placards and clusters of glass balls adorn the walls. In the main room a large table displays books, cards and local jewelry nestled amidst a small tree.
Bekah Dalke, who owns Oodalolly with her husband, Chad Dalke, can be found grinning behind a long wooden counter in the central room, framed by the tall arch of a sparkly garland.
Dalke, 30, grew up in Homer, and has worked in retail most of her adult life. She spent several years at the Homer Family Theater, worked for Kari Multz at The Fringe, and three years ago was hired by Shawnee Kinney at Blackbeary Bog.
Kinney and Dalke clicked immediately, and she found a mentor in the long-time shop owner. When Kinney decided to close Blackbeary Bog in order to move closer to her extended family in Idaho, she approached Dalke with the idea of opening her own store in the space. The prospect, Dalke said, was both exciting and scary.
“I didn’t have a huge window of time to decide. I thought about whether or not I would be sad if it wasn’t me, and I decided I would be sad, so I just went for it,” she said.
While her transition from employee to shop-owner has been rapid, she’s discovered she’s more equipped for the challenge than she originally thought.
“I’ve realized that Shawnee had been giving me tips and help along the way that I didn’t realize I had until I was faced with certain problems,” she said.
Blackbeary Bog sold off its entire inventory in a final, three-day clearance sale, so Dalke started from scratch in stocking her new store. Before she left, Kinney gave Dalke six cardboard boxes full of catalogs she used for ordering, and advice on the best lines to carry. Diversity was always an important component of Blackbeary Bog, and Dalke intends to continue to order broadly, with an eye toward expanding into large rugs and furniture in the coming months.
“Shawnee and I have such similar tastes. We both love little critters and sparkly things. Often we would take home the same things from the store without the other one knowing,” Dalke said.
While Kinney was undoubtedly her biggest influence in crafting Oodalolly, she also cited Becky Pfeil of Timeless Toys and Kari Multz at The Fringe as role models.
“[Multz] influenced my style prior to all this craziness. She’s so good with color and she’s been doing The Fringe for so long and making it work. Becky Pfeil is such a sweet, fantastic, encouraging person. She’s offered something really unique to our community,” she said.
Blackbeary Bog, which after 23 years of business had a loyal following of customers from places as far away as Soldotna and Fairbanks, has left big shoes for Dalke to fill.
Despite the similar atmosphere of the two stores, Dalke has already made changes, and plans to build on to Kinney’s legacy with her own style. She has sectioned off one room, converting it into a storage space, as well as cut back on the amount of items on display in an attempt to make the store feel roomier.
“I like that it’s a little more open in here. That creates a more relaxing environment, and I like that. I think I can offer a younger perspective and a little bit more modern, maybe. But aesthetically, I really love (Kinney’s) style and will carry that too,” she said.
Dalke hopes that she can create a small escape for shoppers, a place where they can feel inspired.
“The name of the store means an expression of joy, surprise and delight. I hope that people will feel that when they come in here, that it will feed some part of their spirit,” she said.
Oodalolly is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday.
Lindsay Olsen is a freelance writer who lives in Homer.
(Meaning: an expresion of joy, surprise and delight)
Owners: Bekah and Chad Dalke
Address: 564 E. Pioneer Ave.
10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday
Specialties: Home Decor and Gifts