Solvang store adds second location geared toward Southern California tourists
The Mole Hole in Solvang, a 50-year-old renowned gift shop known for its quality gifts (you’ll find no “touristy” kitsch or tchotchkes here), will be opening a second location in the city — with a different feel from the original store.
The goal is to meet the demand from a new type of tourist.
Harlan and Linda Munneke, who have run The Mole Hole since 2005, plan on opening the new storefront — which will be named “Mole Hole Cottage” — on Oct. 14. Located at 1539 Mission Drive, the new store will primarily feature baby products and other lifestyle gifts.
Mole Hole Cottage will also differ greatly in aesthetic from The Mole Hole, which is a three-floor wonderland of gifts located in an English-style Tudor building that is, as Mrs. Munneke put it, “more of a store that you have to have the time to explore.”
“With the new store it’s a totally different feel. It’s a modern, very open small space that was designed by MC Design Collaboration from Los Angeles,” she told the News-Press. “I’ve been told by other people that it’s the type of store that someone from L.A. would just walk into and feel right at home. It doesn’t have any Danish feel. It just looks like a fine clean modern shoppable store with baby and lifestyle products.”
This decision was made in large part due to the changes in Solvang tourism that the owners saw during the COVID-19 pandemic, which they said brought a new type of customer to the world-famous Danish-themed town.
“The pandemic definitely put an end to international travelers that came to Solvang, but what happened I think in that shift was that (people in California) got tired of being pent up and couldn’t air-travel anywhere,” Mrs. Munneke said. “So there were a lot more people that came out to just explore what’s close by (to them) that they could drive to. I think it’s just the joy of being able to jump in your car, get on the road and go explore something that might be different from home and enjoy yourself.”
In addition to appealing to a new regional demographic of tourists that is more domestic, the Munnekes also said they were hoping the new store will also appeal to a younger demographic compared to the existing store’s customers.
When asked about the decision to enter a new retail venture during an uncertain economy, Mr. Munneke told the News-Press he was optimistic that expanding the Mole Hole brand would be successful.
“We think that by continuing the Mole Hole name in a little different venue will work for us. But you know, retail is always a risk, and you always wonder when you open that door what’s going to happen,” he said. “But we also know that by having the original location secure (which can bring in hundreds of customers a day) that we have a great window of opportunity to have our employees let customers know about another location within walking distance, and they can see something else that we’ve produced that has a quality array of different items.”