Jack's in Ocean Park: Store in a cool place

Jack's Country Store has the world's best selection of genuine Aladdin lamps.

Slogans that are unique enough to receive federal trademark protection are very unusual for a small town mercantile. But then, Jack's Country Store and Ocean Park are anything but usual. Visit the 123-year-old retailer, situated in a delightfully quaint ocean town, and you understand the new meaning.

Seattle Magazine proclaims that, "Jack's is to the average seaside shop as Tiffany is to Fred Meyer. It's simply the ne plus ultra of shopping on the coast." "What's that?" you ask. Well, this writer anonymously admits to needing to look up that term. The American Heritage Dictionary defines it as, "The highest point, as of excellence or achievement; the ultimate; the most profound degree, as of a condition or quality."

Compliments of this grade occur regularly. Superlatives are necessary to describe some of the store's lines of merchandise. For example, Jack's has the world's most comprehensive line of genuine Aladdin mantle-type kerosene lamps. They also have the absolute best selection of American-made cast iron cooking utensils. Even the array of marshmallow forks is impressive enough to warrant a rating by the Wall Street Journal.

The merchandise array is impressive by any standard and covers a full grocery selection that features fresh local seafood and specialty meats to kitchen tools, RV parts, sporting goods, and the one of the best hardware selections in the western U.S., together with everything in between.

Throughout the store you will encounter uncommon items such as hand-crank popcorn makers, graniteware pots and pans, "strike anywhere" kitchen matches, high quality wooden kitchen utensils, copper ware, ice cream makers, and campfire pie irons. Old-fashioned toys are plentiful, as are Radio Flyer products, pedal cars, and Breyer animals.

Don't forget to look up. The store covers half an acre, and is absolutely filled with merchandise. Even the ceilings are used for display of items like tin signs, flags, and wind socks. High shelves around the perimeter are packed with everything from galvanized tubs to sundials.

Founded in 1885, four years before Washington became a state, Jack's Country Store has withstood the ages to claim the title of "Washington's Oldest Store." A few steps inside the place are all it takes to convince skeptics that this general store is the real article. Very few examples of this traditional American all-purpose retail store can be found today.

Jack's has expanded numerous times over the years but has not abandoned old time features like wood floors, track ladders, and oak showcases. The store also has a beautiful stained glass ceiling that helps to generate a great number of visitors from near and far.

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