Mothers Marketplace
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Mothers Marketplace's Story

Before I begin, “Our” story is not really “our” story but my story as I am only a small part of the equation. I am trying my best to get Margaret to fill in the pieces as she and Chris are really the glue that began Mothers and in a lot of ways, continue to add and fill and patch as we continue on our journey. Stay tuned as one day you will be blessed to hear “the rest of the story”.

MargaretWow, where do I start?  I own Mothers Marketplace. Why do I own Mothers Marketplace you ask?  I will have to go back a bit for that. It all goes back to 1996 when my wife, my two boys and I moved to beautiful Oregon. We bought 30 acres along Mosier Creek and were going to live the rest of our lives, happy and healthy. We had been (almost) vegans for about 2 years when we moved to Oregon. Where from you ask? How about the suburbs of Chicago? I was the General Manager of a 10 million dollar computer cable company. Oh, things were going so well. That is until my dad passed away suddenly in April. I put my house on the market in May, quit my job in June and we moved 2100 miles in August. Quite a whirlwind! The boys were 5 and 7. I had never been on anything but a postage stamp lot and moved to 30 acres in the wilderness, or so we thought. About a month after we arrived, our closest folks that we knew, my sister in law Margaret and my brother Chris…our only life line to the west went to Tennessee for a mission trip. Yes our life line was cut to all of society. Here we were, knew nobody, knew nothing of anything and we were on our own.

We were doing quite famously as the vernacular goes, getting our boys involved in all sorts of activities…gymnastics, piano, swimming, you know, boy stuff, when out of the blue, Chris called and said he wanted me to go to a place called Mothers in Lyle, Washington and give them a check as a down payment as they were going to buy the business. You know a mom and pop business, run at arm chairs length, sell a few veggies and fruits. RIGHT!!! In retrospect, how wrong could that assumption be? Hind sight is a great thing, is it not?

Six months after being in Lyle, they decided Lyle was not going to get them anywhere so they moved into Bingen. A nice building where they could do everything they wanted. Sell organic fruits and vegetables, run a vegan deli, teach classes, and more than anything, tell folks about GODSPLAN. If you don’t know what that is, come into the store and we will explain.

Sorry, got a bit off track. About 5 or 6 years into the Bingen store, the state of Washington decided to do a bit of road work. 6 months……6 months turned into a couple of years. I can’t recall 100% but I believe there was more than one business that went out of business do to that road construction. It just so happened that the same person they were renting from in Bingen happened to have a building in Hood River. Sooooo, they ran two stores for awhile. That just about exhausted everyone and as I look back I can see why. I have a difficult time running one store, let alone two. I don’t know how they did it. You will have to excuse me as everything gets a bit foggy here as about this time, my wife found out she had Breast Cancer. Yes, we had still been eating well, juicing, exercising, you know the whole bit. Why us? Isn’t that what everybody asks? Anyway, here is where I went on my conquest to beat cancer. I scoured the web looking for the best way to cure cancer, outside of the usual….lumpectomy, mastectomy, radiation, chemotherapy.  This happened to my mom 20 years earlier and I would not let it happen to my wife.   After doing everything under the sun, RuthAnne passed away on August 3rd, 2003. There I was with an 11 and 13 year old, we home schooled and I was exhausted. Yes, Mothers was just humming along in the Hood River store. Yes there were some hard times and only Margaret and Chris can tell you how hard.

ChrisI was managing to get through the days selling real estate, teaching a little bit but mostly being a limo driver for the boys and their activities. Mothers Marketplace was doing its own thing.  We are finally getting to the point of this dialogue. Somewhere in the midst of 2010, real estate wasn’t selling so well or I was tired of it or maybe, by divine guidance, Mothers needed a good full time employee. Notice I mentioned a good one. That would be me!  Just funning with you all. Anyway I started about 30 hours a week in the middle of 2010. I enjoyed it. I kind of really enjoyed it. I was ordering produce and working with customers, you know,  tasks store people do. (Here is where it gets exciting)  One day Margaret….you know I would be remiss if I did not tell you what I think of Margaret. Many of you do not know this but she is my sister in law twice as I married her sister and she married my brother. (I can see the lights coming on to many of you) Frankly I don’t know how she did it as I am going through many of the struggles that she has gone through, with one big exception. She did it on her own. Talk about a lady with both conviction and passion. I will tell you right now, if you want to make a bunch of money, do not buy a health food store, if you want to be satisfied knowing you are doing the best by most of your customers and helping out in the community, then that is a different story. I can remember many days when I lived in town and Margaret and Chris would stay at our house, (as they live in the sticks)…and she would come in at 11pm. I would kind of laugh and say she was sending emails or looking on Facebook, come to think of it, Facebook was not an entity then....whatever. Quite the contrary as I have come to find out as she was working a solid 80 hour work week for…7 years? SHE IS AN AMAZING WOMAN. When I first took over Mothers, I used to chuckle with people and tell them she was retired…only working 50 hours a week.

Yes I digressed again but that is to be assumed.  One of those weeks in 2010, Margaret came up to me and said she was going to close the store.  She was tired and worn out. I said she should sell the store. She said no. How many hours had been put into Mothers Marketplace and yet she was willing to let it go. Not me! I sat a bit stunned, a bit dismayed and overall unbelief but even as thick as I am, it sank in. I eventually talked with my son Nathan and mentioned the opportunity of buying Mothers.  He could have a crash course in accounting (which he passed very successfully I might add) and we could run a store together, with the help of Margaret, which by the way if you have not noticed…well frankly you have not noticed. I know I have not mentioned Chris in this whole thing a lot but he has been a backbone in the whole “thing”. Thank you Chris!! I purchased the store in October of 2011, and as they say, the rest is history.

EricI will try to get Margaret to tell her story as hers will be much more elaborate and fill in all the missing details. I have only scratched the surface of Mothers Marketplace. I was away doing my thing for most of Mother’s history.

It is an interesting concept where ministry merges with business. The mere notion that good fresh organic food has to be more expensive than “fast” food has always struck a sour chord in my soul. I am trying to do my best to keep prices down so people can afford the best they can possibly get as far as convenience goes. As long as I own Mothers, I will always be open to suggestions.

Thank you for supporting our store. We hope that each time you come in to our store; you take away something that might make you a better person, either by the products you buy or possibly by the spoken word. I know that speaking for Margaret and Chris, we are blessed to have you both as our customers and our friends.

106 Highway 35 Hood River, OR 97031  ::  541-387-2202

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