Kalispell businesswoman sets up eclectic shop

·4 min read

May 9—Stepping into Gina Tonjum's new store is a little like peeling a clementine: inside there are a lot of pieces that are colorful, fresh and sweet.

That's one of the reasons Tonjum named her new home décor shop Clementine Home. "I just wanted fresh and feminine," the owner-operator said.

In early April, Tonjum set up shop at 13 E. Oregon St. in Kalispell, in the plaza next door to Paper Chase. There, she sells a bevy of home goods, ranging from wall decorations, to kitchen items, to specialty toiletries.

In Tonjum's words, the collection could be loosely defined as "things that make a house a home."

For Tonjum, home goods are old hat—and yes, hats are on sale at the store, too, in the consignment portion of the store. The businesswoman previously managed 4th and Zuri on Kalispell's Fourth Avenue West North.

At 4th and Zuri, Tonjum oversaw a collection of vendors peddling wares similar to the ones included at Clementine Home.

When Tonjum decided she wanted to strike out on her own with a separate store, she brought along a few of the vendors she had worked with over the years at 4th and Zuri. But she said she also sought out new relationships to bring in unfamiliar products to Clementine Home, such as Scandinavian candy.

"I kind of want it to be classic, but also appeal to all age groups and trends," Tonjum said of her eclectic offerings.

Clementine Home boasts a roster of 20 vendors. Most are local, while a few others, like Tonjum's sister in Michigan, contribute their work as well.

The result is a mixture of goods that defies easy categorization.

Flower embroidery hangs from the walls next to baby clothes. Avocado wall art is on display above ornamental bottles of orange soda. A large chair covered in decorative moss sits outside the front entrance. Yarn, macramé, bath bombs and cards are all a part of the diverse inventory, too.

"It's a mix of old and new," Tonjum noted.

So far, some of the best sellers are candles, plants, furniture and pillows stitched with local zip codes. Tonjum said the thread that ties these all together is the "personable" element of the popular items.

But the inventory is subject to change, and, in fact, Tonjum expects that it will.

"It's always evolving," she said. "It will just keep getting better."

To make sure of that, Tonjum runs the store herself for four days a week. Whenever Clementine Home is open, Tonjum is on hand to help customers find what they're looking for and take feedback on new additions to incorporate.

"It's important for the owner to be a part of the situation, to keep up with the customers and what they want," she said. "The best part is that customer connection."

Clementine Home is not, however, just a one-woman show. Tonjum's husband Todd runs the financial side of the business, and her 19-year-old son Cameron helped his mother renovate the space for the shop—formerly a political campaign office.

"It's a lot of work," Tonjum acknowledged. "...I've had a lot of help."

She expects to get some more help when she eventually hires staff to take over some of her shifts behind the register. But unlike the average business owner, Tonjum said she isn't looking to build the store or expand its footprint.

"I don't want it to get any bigger, because then it loses the charm," she explained. "As soon as this isn't fun, then I probably won't do it anymore."

Clementine Home hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Reporter Bret Anne Serbin may be reached at 758-4459 or bserbin@dailyinterlake.com

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Clementine Home features home goods, clothing and baby items at its location on Oregon Street in Kalispell. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)

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Clementine Home features home goods, clothing and baby items at its location on Oregon Street in Kalispell. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)

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Clementine Home features home goods, clothing and baby items at its location on Oregon Street in Kalispell. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)