Our History

A Toy Store and so much more…

In July 1974, the late John and Karen Rieke founded the Wood Shop Toy Store in Leavenworth, Washington, spurred by their entrepreneurial spirit. Karen, a former elementary school teacher, and John, a former attorney turned Lutheran Pastor, opened the original Wood Shop in the back suite of 833 Front Street, where John handcrafted all the merchandise sold in the store. They stocked two of everything, and John replaced sold items with more handmade wares. In 1975, the Wood Shop moved to the front of the building, gaining more exposure.


During the first few years, the profits were lean, prompting John to supplement income by working as a plumber for Stroup Plumbing of Leavenworth. Karen took on the responsibility of purchasing more inventory due to her husband’s absence. This was a smart decision, as the Wood Shop and the town of Leavenworth continued to grow in popularity over the next seven years. In the spring of 1982, the Wood Shop relocated to 721 Front Street, and in 1986, the business moved next door to its current location at 719 Front Street.

John and Karen Rieke also envisioned a shop filled with hats, leading them to open The Hat Shop in April of 1987. John witnessed the successful growth of the Hat Shop before he passed away in 1995, leaving Karen to run both businesses. Following Karen’s passing in 2006, the Wood Shop and Hat Shop remained family-owned and operated, continuing the legacy left by John and Karen Rieke.