The Advantages of Being a Small, Independent Retailer

The winter months provide a time for us to reflect on our business.  We had one of our most successful holiday seasons ever and we want to thank YOU for shopping at the Northwest Nature Shop. In the build-up to the holiday season and then in the frenzied weeks before Christmas, I feel energized by the flow of customers through our store. I know I say this over and over but having the Northwest Nature Shop is really fun! The holiday season is a culmination of a year’s worth of looking for new products, trying them out and then picking the very best.  The advantage of being a small, independent retailer is that we get to decide exactly what to sell in the store.  We can bring new products in whenever we want. We don’t have a boss, who has a boss, who has a boss who answers to shareholders, etc.  It is just us, in the small town of Ashland who have lived here for over 25 years and we have a good idea of the things we like, what our customers like and what is good for our community too. We are constantly looking for and buying new products for the shop. Products such as solar lids that fit on top of a mason jar to turn common mason jars into beautiful outdoor lanterns or zip lines to give your kids a thrill ride in your backyard or beautiful bird feeders that feed hundreds of little goldfinches, nuthatches and chickadees but keep away the big jays are a few products we found the last few months that we love.

Now is the time of the year when we go to rock shows, trade shows, and arts and craft shows to find even more new, great products to offer in the shop.  We love this.  Chris and Kathy just got back from a trip down to Quartzsite, Arizona where they camped in the desert and went to the annual rock and mineral show where hundreds of RVs set up in the desert and sell their rocks from around the world. They go from one RV, a young Brazilian couple who sell phantom quartz points to another, a man from Morocco with fossilized shark teeth and then a family from Madagascar with amber.  Tomorrow, Kathy and I are off to Seattle where we go to a trade show that specializes in Pacific Northwest-made products as well as home and garden décor. We also like to check out the cool, hip, fun stores in Seattle and Portland to get ideas of what other shops are doing.

On all our buying excursions, we strive to find unique products that encourage a curiosity and appreciation for nature as well as gifts and toys that get kids and adults outside in our beautiful natural surroundings.  We strongly support smaller independent companies and products made in the United States or made with Fair Trade practices.

Come into the Northwest Nature Shop to see what we have found. See you soon!

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