Over a dozen years ago, my mother and I sold the deli and market, we owned together in Brattleboro, VT. At the time, I had worked with my mother in our deli for 12 years, since age 12. I traveled a few years, finally taking a train across country to settle in Southeast Portland, OR. After arriving in Portland I took a Trimet bus across town. Arriving close to my new home, we stopped in front of the very first business I went inside in my new neighborhood, Limbo. I had heard about Limbo for months and was excited to finally be in front of the well known, organic produce and specialty food store. I went inside and was in awe. With a suitcase in hand, I asked if they were hiring. They were and I started my position 2 hours later, on the same day. After a few years, I became their evening manager, until Limbo closed their doors July 2011. After several years, I was jobless, when the owners of Limbo made the decision to retire.
The community relied on many of the items Limbo carried, such as bulk medicinal herbs, spices, teas and local organic produce. There were people with tears in their eyes, because the didn't know where they were going to get the products they had relied on, for 15 years. For this reason, the last month Limbo was open, I began the process of what was the beginning of Stone Cottage. Two and a half months after Limbo closed, I opened Stone Cottage on a shoestring budget, 3 blocks away. Our 1 years anniversary is quickly approaching, on September 15th!
Stone Cottage Holidays 2011
When we opened nearly a year ago, we had just over 150 bulk herbs, spices, herbs, teas and culinary ingredients, most of which are organic or wild harvested. Today, we have quickly grown to become Oregon's largest selection of mostly organic or wild harvested, herbs, spices and teas, with over 800 bulk jars. We also have over 30 organic produce items, most of which are locally grown. We carry local bath & body products, coffee and kombucha. We have worked very hard this past year! We are proud to be include in the Willamette Week “Devour 2012 Edition: Best Specialty Markets.” Businesses rarely make it onto this list their first year of business. We have been credited by many, for turning a street corner that most people previously avoided, into a gem that glows and draws you to it. We believe in the support of our community, and building relationships with others who share that view.
With our quick growth, our store is at capacity, and we don't have the capital to make needed purchases! We have run out of room for product, and we are at a point where we need to make upgrades, in order to ramain efficient as a business, and prevent product spoilage. We currently don't have the proper refrigeration to preserve our fresh organic produce, such as organic lettuce and organic leafy greens, fresh orgainc herbs, organic carrots, organic celery, organic cabage, organic bell peppers, organic summer squash, organic mushrooms, organic berries and organic fruits. We have ran out of shelving space, and many of our bulk jars are not big enough to keep up with our current demand. We don't have enough sinks, and the ones we do have, are not adequate for our business needs. We as well are having issues with our website, and the ability for our customer to place online orders.
Here is what we forsee needing in the near future: 1 produce cooler, 1 freezer, 1 refrigerator, 8' wall shelving units(total of 8), 3 sinks, an ice machine, 600 bulk containers, product to fill the containers, shelving for back-stock and website repairs. These upgrades will allow us to finally be in a position to mix our own seasoning blends and teas, and package our own brand of products. It will keep produce longer and prevent it from going bad in a day or two. It will provide us enough shelving space to store our back stock, and keep up with our current demand. We will be able to make necessary repairs to our website. It will increase our efficiency as a business. It will allow us to support our community more. It will increase revenue, so we can give part time employees who would like to be full time, more hours. Thank you for your consideration and thank you everyone who has supported me so far.