Notable in business: Dream spa, spalted maple, country chic decor and used books – goskagit.com

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Robert Box makes Camano Koroks, guardians of the forest out of spalted maple and exotic woods.
Robert Box spalts maple from his property.
Nikki Rong shows off a French-style Vichy table shower, which is used after a mineral salt scrub.
Nikki Rong opened her dream business, a Chinese massage and spa with luxurious Chinese linens.
Robert Box makes special items for gamers, like this bits keeper.
Robert Box makes special items for gamers, like this dice tower.

Robert Box makes Camano Koroks, guardians of the forest out of spalted maple and exotic woods.
Robert Box spalts maple from his property.
Nikki Rong shows off a French-style Vichy table shower, which is used after a mineral salt scrub.
Nikki Rong opened her dream business, a Chinese massage and spa with luxurious Chinese linens.
Robert Box makes special items for gamers, like this bits keeper.
Robert Box makes special items for gamers, like this dice tower.
A spa set up shop in uptown Stanwood, a boutique retail store opens on Camano Island, a woodworker started a business on Camano, a used book store reopens in Stanwood and the local housing market remains hot.
Rong’s Massage and Spa
Nikki Rong’s dream was to open her own spa. After exploring the area with her husband Michael Pence, they settled near Kayak Point, and she opened a spa in Stanwood.
Chinese massage, facials, sauna, salt scrubs and more are on the menu at Rong’s Massage and Spa.
“When I can relieve a customer’s pain, I’m very happy with it,” Rong said. “I have special skills. I’m always learning.”
She practices traditional Chinese massage, a combination of deep tissue, reflexology, acupressure and working with meridians.
Rong came to the United States from southwestern China six years ago, got her license and has been working in Chinese massage, saving money for her own spa.
After remodeling the space, Nikki and Pence got married in the store on Saturday, June 26, and soon after, she opened her dream business. 
Rong’s Massage is at 7104 265th Street NW, Ste. 115, Stanwood. It’s on the south side of Village Commons, the apartment building between Ace Hardware and Stanwood Cinema.
Visit rongsmassage.com or call 360-572-3176.
The Camano Shop
It’s a home boutique inside a vintage farmhouse. The Camano Shop’s grand opening is at noon to 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 6.
Melissa Overbeck is filling the venerable old house with “everything you’ll need to create a cozy home, develop your personal style, find amazing gifts and build community with pops-up, events, and parties.”
She combines her background in fashion design and home staging to curate collections of clothing and home decor that fit well together.
“Now with this return to home in this new world we’re living in, we’re experiencing our homes differently because we’re spending more time there,” she said. “It’s a simple way of rewarding yourself. We’re thinking more about our homes, how we set them up, how we find joy, raising kids.”
The Camano Shop is open noon to 6 p.m. Friday, Saturday, Sunday or by appointment. It’s just east of Camano Marine, at 913 Highway 532, Camano Island; 360-334-7855; on Facebook and thecamanoshop.com
Tinderbox Wood Products
Four years ago, if you asked Robert Box what he’d do when a maple tree blew down on his Camano Island property, he would have said, “Buck it up for firewood.”
That was until a friend pointed out that the spalted maple is highly prized by woodworkers.
“He showed me a picture on the internet of spalted maple,” Box said. “That same day, I took a chainsaw and cut through a maple log and saw the same thing. It set a lightbulb off — why should I cut this up for firewood when I can make stuff out of it?”
Box was inspired and began woodworking with the spalted maple, expanding into other woods.
He and his wife Becky Box live on the homestead that his parents had in the late 1960s. When COVID-19 hit, he built a showroom. He opened the showroom in October 2020 in the middle of the first big spike.
Box makes handcrafted items in all kinds of wood, like padauk, African mahogany, and Western red cedar. But most of all, he uses spalted maple that he cultures and mills himself.
Storm winds blow down maples. He leaves them for three to five years to go through a spalting process, which allows fungus to bring out warm caramel, black, and brown tones throughout the wood grain.
“I’m fortunate because I have a treasure trove of branches and maple trees that have blown down in the wind,” he said.
Box makes Camano-shaped cribbage boards, as well as an assortment of cutting boards, lazy Susans and growler carriers.
His “bits keepers” are chunks of wood with small bowls carved out for gamers to organize special dice, cards and tokens. He makes dice towers to ensure fair rolling of the dice. Box works with a character artist to custom design characters. Many items are laser-engraved.
Becky Box owns half the business and makes handmade soaps and bath salts.
Tinderbox Wood Products, 2295 South Camano Drive, Camano Island, is open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays or by appointment. 360-387-8471. tinderboxwoodproducts.com
Community Resource Center Used Book Store
Staff at the Community Resource Center gave the used bookstore a fall cleaning, selecting the very best to keep and tossing out old.
They’re open again but are not currently taking book donations. Proceeds fund community programs for families and kids. The bookstore is open 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday and Thursdays at the Community Resource Center, 9212 271st St. NW, Stanwood; 360-629-5257 or [email protected]
Local housing market remains tight
There were a combined 65 homes for sale in September on Camano Island and in the Stanwood ZIP code — that’s down from 194 two years ago, according to the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.
Low inventory continues to pose challenges for buyers, NWMLS officials said in a news release last month. 
“While one could expect months of supply to increase around the end of the summer, shortage of supply still remains a significant issue, indicating demand still exists in many submarkets,” said James Young, director of the Washington Center for Real Estate Research at the University of Washington.
As of the end of September, there was about three weeks supply of homes. A two-month supply is considered healthy. There has not been more than one month of supply in Western Washington since July 2020.
Young contrasted strong price increases in nearly every “outer suburban” county along I-5 with prices in King County. He noted nearly all of the outlying counties posted year-over-year price increases at or above 15%, while King County experienced only a single digit gain of 6.7%. 
On Camano, 54 homes sold in September compared to 44 a year earlier. The median price was $600,000, up from $547,000 a year earlier.
In the Stanwood ZIP code, 66 sold in September compared to 55 in September 2020. The median price of the Stanwood homes sold was $593,000 in September, up from $525,000 a year earlier.
Contact reporter Peggy Wendel at [email protected] or 360-416-2189.
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