One fine February morning in 2020, I learned that a tiny little shop in an alley in Newberg, situated between a pizza place and an acupuncturist, was about to become available. I knew this because this was the tiny little hair salon I had been going to for the last few years and my stylist told me she was moving to a bigger space. Immediately, the wheels started turning—because the first time I had walked into this space I had looked around and thought it was just about the perfect size for a lavender shop. So the next day I contacted the landlord, told him I was interested, and immediately started freaking out. This was a big commitment after all. I would be tied to the shop, I’d need to work all the time to keep it stocked, I’d have to remodel—what in the world was I thinking? But I kept pushing forward.
I imagined that I could sell local flowers along with my lavender products, and I just so happened to know a couple of amazing flower farmers, my friends and neighbors John and Jeremi of Pollinate Flowers. So I texted John and told him that I was thinking about opening a little shop and would they be interested in selling their flowers wholesale to me. He texted back a few minutes later asking, “Would you be interested in a partner?” I immediately texted back, “Yes I would.” This was one of the quickest and best decisions I’ve ever made. And together we moved forward.
On March 1 2020, I signed the lease and picked up the keys and the shop was ours. On March 13th, schools shut down and on March 23rd our world came to a screeching halt. COVID had hit Oregon and our dream of opening our shop on May 1 (May Day) was put on hold. But as we looked around at the teal ceiling, the pink chandeliers, the warped white floor, and the light mustard colored walls, we figured that while we were waiting for the world to open back up, we might as well remodel. So we planned and dreamed and Pinterested our way into a look that we all loved and then with the incredible talent, vision, and crucial guidance of another member of the Pollinate team, Zach Goff, we started to work demo-ing, painting, building, and sewing so that we could keep moving forward.
In June, before masks were mandated, we very tentatively and partially opened our doors, wearing our masks and setting up tables at the entrance to the shop so that visitors could see our products and could purchase what they wanted. A few weeks later, once masks were required statewide, we were able to fully open our shop. One side of the shop carries Little Lavender Farm products and the other side carries Pollinate flowers and products.
In August our little shop made it into a Forbes magazine article titled “Summer Road Trip: Hitting America’s Lavender Trails and U-pick Farms. The author very cleverly and appropriately called our sweet little shop “Lilliputian.” This former English teacher was in heaven.
In September, the final touches to the outside of our shop were finished—the awning was installed and the barn door panelling nailed to the outside—and the remodel of our shop was complete. And then the next week Oregon endured some of its worst fires in its history. Once again our hearts broke for the pain and sadness that we saw around us as we closed our doors due to the hazardous air quality. But we locked arms and together we all kept pushing forward, helping and supporting each other along the way.
A few months after that, right before our first anniversary, the worst ice storm in generations hit our area, leaving our roads treacherous and many in our community without power for weeks. Once again, we had to close up for a week or so and tried to help our neighbors as much as we could.
So in our first year as shop partners, we navigated a pandemic, destructive wildfires, and a debilitating ice storm.
I’ve heard that the first year in business is the hardest, but wow...this one was a doozy! Then again, we figured that if we could get through such an eventful year intact, we could get through just about anything.
Though hopefully we won’t have to find out any time soon.
Hello! My name is Pam Reynolds Baker and I am a mom/wife /English teacher and lavender farmer located in Dundee, Oregon.