Introducing Wolf & Bell

The vintage gift shop with a little bit of everything made its debut on First Avenue this month

By Lyndsie Kiebert
Reader Staff

Nellie Lutzwolf is bringing her love for the unique and antique things in life to downtown Sandpoint through Wolf & Bell, a shop named for a combination of her husband’s last name — Wolf — and her childhood nickname: Nellbell.

Nellie Lutzwolf stands in her Sandpoint shop. Photo by Lyndsie Kiebert.

Wolf & Bell, located on First Avenue and attached to the Panida Theater, has a style all its own: bold stationary sits beside a vintage typewriter, sprigs of lavender fill tiny glass bottles, wool blankets from Scotland sit stacked in all their plaid glory, Lutzwolf’s unique brand of art lines the walls and a photo booth sits unassumingly but adorably in the corner.

The Reader sat down with Lutzwolf to talk about the inspiration behind Sandpoint’s latest downtown addition.

SR: How did you end up in this space?

NL: Me and my husband, Nick, have a thing for old theaters. We’ve always seen ourselves being a part of something like that … Anywhere else, I don’t know if it would work quite as well. We really wanted to be here, and I’m really proud to be part of the Panida.

SR: Are you (and the Panida) planning to play off each other at all?

I really want to be open during some events. I plan on being open late for the Follies, because I think that will be a good event for people to be able to take pictures (in the Wolf & Bell photo booth). They’ll be in their costumes, so that will be fun. 

SR: If you were to sum it up, for someone who is unfamiliar with you guys’ style, what would you call your shop?

NL: *She laughs* This has been a tough thing. When we started actually making this a business, the only category that really fit everything that we had was “gift shop.” So that’s what I’ve been telling people as our short answer, but really it’s a little bit of everything — it’s handmade, vintage gifts; art; stationary; a little bit of surprise here and there. 

SR: And tell me about the photo booth a little bit.

NL: Me and Nick, when we travel, it’s always a novelty thing that we like to do to mark where we go, and I know that we don’t have one here so I thought it would be a special thing for Sandpoint to have. 

The Wolf & Bell photo booth. Photo by Lyndsie Kiebert.

SR: That is so true. It hadn’t occurred to me, but we really don’t have one.

NL: Yeah, and this is a travel destination, and there’s lots of cool things that happen here.

SR: What draws you to the vintage style? Has it been a part of your personal aesthetic for a long time?

NL: Oh yes, ever since I was little. My parents took me antique shopping and I always found wonder in the older objects and the stories that they had. I think that’s also where the plants come from, too — I got my license to sell plants. My dad was a landscape architect so that was a part of my background, too. When (a customer) said ‘This is kind of like being inside of your brain,’ I thought, yeah, the shop is, in fact, the inside of my brain.

SR: Want to share anything about your personal background, just so people can get to know you?

NL: I’m from Montana, and I went to school to be an artist. I found myself in art education, and when I did my master’s, I decided that teaching high school is what I wanted, and that was good for five years, but then I decided opening a shop would be the next best step for me and my husband, and that it would something fun.

SR: Is there anything in the shop that has a particular story you want to share?

Oh, everything has a story. Well, we have a ton of cameras at home — I’d say upwards of 85 displayed in our house, and we’re starting to thin the herd a little, so that’s a bittersweet thing. It’s fun to see them on the shelves, but also we’re excited to see them go to a new home.

SR: Before you started the shop, you were doing the full-time artist thing. What’s the term for the art that you do?

NL: I would classify it as collage and paper cutting.

SR: What draws you to that medium?

NL: Collage, first, is you’re taking in the world as it is. You’re dealing with materials that are already out there and then making something of your own message from it. It is the search — like all of the objects in (the shop), they’re treasures that we’ve found. I feel like my artwork is the same. I search for images, and then I make something from it. And then just the meditation behind the cutting — it’s really relaxing to just do it all by hand.

SR: Is there anything I haven’t asked yet that you really want to talk about?

NL: I do want to say thank you to everybody — I feel like I’ve gotten so much support from the community, and I’m just overwhelmed with how awesome that is.

Visit Wolf & Bell at 300 N. First Avenue — to the left of the main Panida entrance — during current business hours: Wednesday-Saturday 10:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Also find Wolf & Bell on Facebook and Instagram, and browse some of the shop’s available art at

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