Cliff Swain opened his Port Angeles store in 1957 featuring war surplus merchandise. He had joined the
fledgling buying cooperative of Worldwide Distributors, whose other member stores would grow to be
Northwest institutions, like GI Joes, Yardbirds, Yeagers, and Chubby and Tubby. Jack Little, with a
clothing background, joined the organization in 1960, and Swain's then added Men's and Women's Clothing,
Shoes, Sporting Goods, Hardware, and Sundries departments. In the 1960s, the Port Angeles store was
expanded with a fifty foot addition and later a 12,500 sq ft warehouse was built with more parking.
Cliff's love of boating found an outlet in a new marine department featuring Evinrude outboard motors,
Bayliner boats, and boat trailers. Cliff surrounded himself with a knowledgeable buying staff and in the
1970s, the store grew to be a major retailer on the Olympic Peninsula of nationally known brands, and
kept a competitive edge, even with chain stores moving into the vicinity. He was active in both Worldwide
and the Port Angeles store up to the time of his passing. As president of the board of Worldwide, Swain
received an award for being the Board President of a 100 store buying cooperative from the flying bridge
of his 50 foot Tolleycraft boat.
Although the corporation did expand to three locations, including Sequim and Port Townsend in 1997 and
2001, the heirs' daughters chose to split up the stores in 2005. The oldest daughter retained the two
smaller stores, whereas, Rebecca took over the flagship operation. She chose to remain faithful to the
established loyal customer base and rebuild the Port Angeles store's reputation, under the guidance of
longtime general manager, Jack Little, now retired. With the recent passing of Rebecca Gedlund, the heirs
of Swains remain faithful to our pledge to provide a broad selection of quality products at competitive
prices, with outstanding customer service.
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