For gifts with meaning and one-of-a-kind pieces, the go-to spot is Four Corners Merchants. The business was voted Best Antiques and Treasures in Renton by community members.
Located in Fairwood, Four Corners is a gift boutique owned by Karen Rafchiek, an enthusiastic businesswoman who has a real passion for her vendors and their wares.
“Eighty percent of my vendors are local and the rest are international because I would like to go to the four corners of the earth,” said Rafchiek. “I have imports you see things from other countries because I want to empower those women but I also want to stay local, as in my neighbors, as in this neighborhood.”
Four Corners sells house plants, cards, artwork, clothes, candles, jewelry, hand puppets, birdhouses — too many varieties of gifts to name, and the vast majority are made by local artisans and craftpeople.
“My goal is to help somebody achieve their dreams,” Rafchiek said. “I’ve always had a passion for helping somebody succeed.”
She also has great pride for her local vendors, eagerly describing their backstories and details of their work, from custom purses made from Japanese kimono belts (called obi) to woodwork carved and made by a local firefighter.
“As a gift store, you need something unique, you need something to attract people to your door,” Rafchiek said of the treasures throughout her boutique.
Four Corners first opened in June 2020 and despite the pandemic, Rafchiek says that the boutique actually did pretty well in the beginning. She was able to sell items even with COVID restrictions and even when she wasn’t selling something, she still recieved a lot of encouragement.
“This man stopped by and he didn’t buy anything but he gave $200 in cash to me because he wanted me to stay in business,” she said. “He also gave me a note that said, ‘I hope you do well, you have a lovely store.’ Any time I have a bad day, I look back at it.”
Four Corners Merchants is located at 17620 140th Avenue Southeast and is open from noon to 7 p.m., Monday to Friday, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, and is closed on Sunday.