Sunday, August 30, 2009

Stealing sucks

I've been a retailer/small business owner for eleven years now, and still haven't figured out how to deal with the deep pain that comes with finding out we've been shoplifted. I just don't understand it. I don't get how anyone could do that and sleep at night. I don't get how it's sort of a game for some people, or a challenge, or a sickness. Yeah, I saw that Oprah segment on the klepto women who stole just for a thrill. Then stuffed all their ill-gotten loot into the trunks of their BMWs, never to look at it (or wear it or use it) again, because the thrill was already gone. Or something. Get some help. Get a job. Stay outta my store!

It's not Les Miserables, folks. It's not a case of people stealing bread for their starving children. They're just stealing stuff they want, that they don't want to pay for. Jewelry, ribbon, candles. Aprons. How about that Newport Market thief, stealing expensive bottles of balsamic vinegar? [Hopefully they've solved that one.] I bet these thieves would scream bloody murder if someone just walked into their house and helped themselves to whatever they felt like.

It's especially heinous in a mom and pop store. There are no corporate pockets to dig from to cover the losses. There's no big tax write-off. Or profit margin increases to pay for more security. There's just us, sad because we need to reorder (and pay for) those necklaces that got stolen that we already ordered (and paid for).

On the other hand, I have to say that overall we've been pretty lucky in this regard over the years. We have a very trusting, low-key atmosphere, and a wonderful group of customers. So when shoplifting happens, it's a shock.

Consider for a moment the apron pictured (and the empty hanger behind it). Just got them in a few days ago. It took almost a month for the order to arrive, and we paid for them before they shipped. I put two up on this little stand in the back room, and sometime between 5pm on Friday and 11am on Saturday, someone just helped themselves to the cuter of the two, the chocolate brown one. Discerning taste, our little thief. I walked into the room and saw the empty hanger swinging in the wind, and my heart fell. Who would do that to us? What are they going to do with it? Give it as a gift? "Here: I picked this out just for you! I didn't pay for it; all I did was pull it off the hanger and stuff it into my giant handbag. Ha ha! Hope you enjoy wearing it."

So that did it (that, and a few other incidents this week). We're getting cameras. We've resisted surveillance all these years, because we feel like our little homestead has such a sweet and welcoming atmosphere. Cameras are just so... big brother. A little creepy. But we must. Note to that seemingly sweet and friendly person who stuffed entire bolts of expensive ribbon into her purse (along with a lot of other things): I come from a long family line of gentle and kind people. It takes a lot to get me mad. But when I get mad, I get REALLY mad. And I never forget. That's a little side effect of my Sicilian heritage.

As an antidote to this rant, I have to mention that one of our dear customers ran in the other day and plunked $3.50 down on the counter for a soap that we had forgotten to charge her for. I thought that was just the sweetest thing, that she realized it (we didn't) and made a special trip back to pay us for it. So dear! Cindy, if you're reading this, you're an angel, and I'm going to give you a free soap next time you're in, just because you did that!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Pottery Show at Pomegranate: today in the gardens

Another great event in our gardens today: we have three wonderful, professional potters (all Bend locals) setting up at Pomegranate for a one-day show and demonstration (today from 11-5). Come meet the artists, buy directly from them, and try your hand at the potter's wheel. The weather promises to be perfect...

Our artists are Linda Heisserman, Eleanor Murphey, and Steve Provence.

Pomegranate Home & Garden, 120 NE River Mall Avenue. Call 541-383-3713 for more info.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Snooping in Seattle

Just back from a very quick (and entirely lovely) buying trip to Seattle. We left at 6am on Sunday following our French Flea Market and drove straight to the market showrooms where we scoped out new products, placed orders for things we fell in love with, and talked with fellow retailers and reps. I have to say, over the quick three-day period we were there, the mood felt pretty good. Nobody was rejoicing yet over the state of the market, but there weren't as many scared-looking independent retailers (us included) as last time. It ain't over, but there was definitely a little vibe of hope. The manufacturers were really on the ball, too. So many of them a) designed and produced fabulous new products for the season (they had to put their hearts into that during the worst of the economic woes, not knowing if anyone would buy), and b) many made it easier for us to buy, lowering their minimum dollar amounts to buy in, and trying to make freight more reasonable. It's all about survival now.

Anyway, we found some really great things, some of which are going to be in the shop in a matter of days. Some will take a while to ship, so will be floating in over the next few months.

These market trips are our little vacations. The days are long, but we have fun in the evenings. And then we sometimes have a little window (a day, an hour or two) at the end to goof around and play tourist. Have to say, I love Seattle. It is such a working city, and visitors get to observe. And it's beautiful. Loved all the ferries and harbors and ships going in and out. Loved Pike Place Market and all the bustle. Yep, full of tourists (every one of which -- us included -- has to take a picture with the bronze pig), but also full of locals buying seafood and produce and cheese and coffee. Oh, and the "Oh My God" peaches from one local farmer.

Took the Farmer's Market shot from upstairs at Matt's in the Market, a fab little restaurant we found on our last trip. Highly recommended. Hard to find, so look it up. Next morning we accidentally stumbled into that crazy alley where everybody sticks their gum on the walls. Quite artistic it is. And we had a teeny bit of time to jump into the Seattle Art Museum and catch the Andrew Wyeth exhibit. It's just a dozen or so of his paintings, but each one is spectacular. Ahh, a mini, but perfect vacation.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Pomegranate's Flea Market -- Today!

So throw on your shopping shoes and run down to Pomegranate for the best flea market of the summer. It officially starts at 10am, but you can get there a little early, as do some of our regulars. It is going to be packed with goodies... we hand-pick all our vendors for their fabulous offerings, so there's no junk to sift through. There's antiques, vintage, retro, industrial chic, funky style, jewelry, hand-crafted objets d'art, and lots of great repurposed furniture. Prices are always great: just what you'd expect from a flea market (that's why we have lots of dealers shop our markets). By the way, you can use your credit card on purchases over $100 from the vendors.

And, the shop is full of new things as well. We've just gotten in some big shipments of glassware, tea towels, bedding, books... Check out our sale shelves in the Cottage (we just put a bunch more out there) and specials throughout the store.

Perhaps best of all? The weather should be a beautiful, blissful 82º. Perfect shopping weather. Know where we are? 120 NE River Mall Avenue, just off Business 97, across the street from the north side of Macy's. Look for all the cars...

Thursday, August 20, 2009

New arrivals for your perusal

We've received a great infusion of new products at Pomegranate over the last few weeks. It's been an interesting ride this summer, trying to buy the right things, in the right amounts, at the right time. When our orders come in (or we find some vintage stuff we love), we're so happy with the new things that we feel like doing a little dance (or maybe the heat is making us delirious). Here's a small sample of new arrivals:

Tea Forté iced teas. So delicious, with a clever glass pot/pitcher to brew it up fresh.

Aprons. Funky and fun. Some are locally made, some imports. They're bright and happy, and make a great gift.

School of Fish glassware. We are now fully stocked! Those of you who saw them at Wine by the River can now come in and get whatever you want (even that very popular large wine glass that we kept telling people wouldn't be here for another three weeks). We also got in shipments of our dragonfly bistro glasses (3 sizes), bee glasses, bowls, and carafes, and those cute cute cute little "vin" and "eau" bodega glasses.

Books. Cookbooks. Dog books. Style books. Baby books. Wine books.

Wine barrel top lazy susans -- people were practically fighting over these at Wine by the River. A few more came in, and we have more on the way.

Linens. Tea towels. All over the place. Vintage linens. All over the place. Tablecloths (a few) and placemats, napkins.

Bella Notte bedding. Oh. My. New fabrics, new color (cypress; a very soft, sagey green). Already ordered for ourselves the totally cozy and beautiful new "Adele" shams in white. Kind of a chenille jacquard that you just want to bury your face in. Just found out "chenille" means "caterpillar" in French. How cute is that?

Wine accoutrements: Robert's favorite corkscrew (Coutale); cocktail napkins (can't have too many of those on hand); little tasting guides (at $3, what a great stocking stuffer, and yes, it's time to start thinking about all that); and the cutest candles that look like corks (just stick them into your favorite empty wine bottle for instant ambiance, only $2 each).

Archipelago Pomegranate lotions; our favorite, back in stock. Also new Archipelago candles, selling quickly.

Vintage clocks. Mostly 1920s or so through mid-century. We bought a bunch from a collector.

Hotel silver: a nice little selection right now, although it probably won't last long.

Earrings made by a Portland artist, all really fun, all just $18 each.

French salts (crunchy grey sea salt and a delicious new crystalline fleur de sel) and bags of fresh Herbes de Provence, shipped over by one of our French companies. We use ours every day, on just about everything.

There's more. You just have to come in and see it all.

French Flea Market this Saturday at Pomegranate

Mes amies: this Saturday, August 22, is our last Flea Market of the summer at Pomegranate. It's our own little mini Paris in Bend: I daresay the biggest and best flea market in Bend. We hand-pick all our vendors for all their good finds (and good prices), and it's double the size of past years. I know they're all bringing fabulous things this time, and more than ever because it's our last flea of the summer. Time to clear everything out! It's all fun stuff: vintage, antique, hip handcrafted goods, funky jewelry, cute linens, garden goodies.... and Strictly Organic coffee.

It's in the gardens at Pomegranate, from 10-4. Get there a bit early if you want first pick, but remember that lots of our vendors keep putting out new things as pieces sell. And sometimes in the afternoon... well, that's really the time to score. After the last flea market I wrote about being so surprised at the cute cute cute $12 birdcage a customer found at 4pm (as everyone was packing up).

So grab your mad money and plan to spend a little time at Pomegranate this Saturday. We're at 120 NE River Mall Avenue, just across the street from the north end of Macy's. Easy. By the way, the shop is open 10-5:30, and is absolutely full of new goodies, from funky aprons to lots of new glassware, vintage pieces (a great selection of hotel silver), our favorite French salts and Herbes de Provence (finally back in stock), wine accoutrements, beautiful trays, new cards...

Go to for more info and maps. See you on Saturday!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Thank you, dear customers and "Source" readers!

Today's the last day to pick up the Source's "best of" issue: full of the winners of the reader's poll for the best of the best. And we are SO proud to be in it, voted best home décor for the second year in a row! Thank you thank you thank you, dear Pomegranate clientele! We were afraid we were a bit off the radar this year, having closed our downtown store and consolidated into our original (hidden) location. And, I didn't pester anyone to vote, as I should have. So this was a huge vote of confidence for us, and we're very happy. Yeah, that's our blue ribbon right there. Nice party for all the winners put on by the Source at Deschutes Brewery, too. Very generous, great venue, and so nice to get a treat like that...

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Wine by the River setting up at Riverbend Park

Took a little spin last night down to Riverbend Park, where Partners in Care is setting up for their Wine by the River event, which starts tomorrow, 8/14 from 1-9pm (Saturday from noon-8pm). It's just lovely. What a great spot for an event, and I think a brilliant piece of urban planning. Whatever controversy there was (I have no idea; usually have my nose to the grindstone and miss some of this stuff) should dissipate the first time you walk along its paths or put your kayak into the river. It's really pretty: they did a great job.

So excited for this first event there: the tents are huge (lots of wineries, restaurants, vendors coming) and the whole setup is looking really good. There's plenty of parking and the weather will be perfect for wine tasting (even if we get a spot of rain, you'll be protected under the tents). My only regret: we'll be working our Pomegranate booth and will hopefully be too busy to do any wine tasting ourselves. Well, I hope we get to have a teeeeny taste of something...

Go to for info and tickets (mostly tax-deductible I believe, since this is a fund-raiser). See you there!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Wine by the River – this Friday & Saturday!

Friends: the premier wine-tasting event of the season is coming up this Friday and Saturday. Wine by the River (at the new Riverbend park) is almost here, and we're so excited. It's a major fundraiser for Partners in Care (hospice); see their website at

More than three dozen award-winning wineries from Oregon and Washington will be there, as well as restaurants, artisanal food producers, chocolatiers, and exhibitors. Like Pomegranate Home & Garden. Yep, we'll be there with a selection of our goodies (including some wonderful new wine-related items). In fact, we're very honored to be their "Featured Local Business for 2009."

Don't know about you, but we can hardly get out of here to go traipsing around the NW wine country (fun as it might be) to visit some of these wonderful wineries... so I'm really happy that they're all going to be here, all in one place. You can taste your way around and find your favorites. Then taste some fab NW cheeses and chocolates. Or have a delicious bite of something from Cork or Chow, Blacksmith, or a dozen other restaurants and chefs. There will be a handy will-call system for your purchases, so you don't have to lug anything around. Just your tasting glass!

It's all under big tents at the new Riverbend park and goes from 1pm-9pm on Friday, and noon-8 on Saturday. There's live music, seminars, treats, lots of mingling. Does this sound like date afternoon/night, or what? Perhaps best of all, we're going to have PERFECT wine tasting weather for the whole event. And it's going to be gorgeous, right next to the river. This is why we live here!!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Things that are too early: Christmas at Costco and Calendars at Pomegranate

Went to Costcovia last night to buy a fax (replacing one that got fried in that last big storm). What did I see? Christmas wrap and ribbons! Not in a big way, not 1,000 square feet of Santa extravaganza, but there. I don't know about you, but I cannot stand the sight of shiny red ribbons and gold foil fou-fou in August. It is just too early. Give us our last bits of summer, then bring it on.

That's funny, because I own a retail store, and it's all about the wind-up towards christmas. We plan for and buy most of our holiday stuff in January or February, right after the last christmas. That doesn't bother me. As long as they're not playing jingle bells in the showroom, I can put my christmas hat right back on and think about what we need eleven months down the road. But I don't want to look at the stuff in the shop until it's time. The trade magazines and advice-givers are telling us to put out seasonal stuff out earlier and earlier. "People will buy it," they say, "no matter what the time of year." Yeah? Well, I say it takes the excitement and specialness of it away when you start seeing Halloween stuff in July. I do not want to smell any pumpkin spice candles right now, thank you very much.

On that note, we've been receiving our 2010 calendars at Pomegranate for the last month or so. This year I just let them ship when ready, and they were ready nice and early. Ha ha. At first we put them in the back room (that old "I don't want to see 2010 yet" thing) but then decided we should just put them out and start selling them. Because some of you are so organized and forward-thinking that you'll get your calendar now (or buy them as gifts) and have it ready to go. And get first choice, too. So there you go. We have lots of nice 2010 calendars for your perusal. But no christmas wrap. And no ghosts or goblins.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Stuff we don't miss

The other day a customer was commiserating with me over the closure of our downtown store, and she asked if we missed the First Friday artwalk gatherings downtown. I'm afraid I answered "No!" a little too quickly and enthusiastically.

Don't get me wrong: we love to throw a good party, love a big crowd, love to see customers and friends. And part of First Fridays was fun like that. It's a night for galleries and shops to open their doors to a whole new crowd of people. It's a night to treat everybody to drinks/snacks, be a part of the festivities, and hopefully sell a few things (or make some connections for later). The best are in July and August, when Bend is full of visitors, nights are balmy, the streets are buzzing with activity, and everyone is in a good mood. Those were the times we would come home exhausted but happy.

Part of it was not fun (I can say it now). It's expensive, even if you just stick to two-buck Chuck (which ain't $2, by the way). We agonized over every little thing: like spending $50 on a case of small plastic cups or going cheap (and greener, too) with ugly paper cups (paper eventually won). There's a lot of prep, shopping, gathering, schlepping. Also, in our case, since we had two stores at the time (down to one now), there was a certain amount of panic in closing our River Mall Ave. store early so we could get set up, drop the dog off at home, run and get ice, etc.

There were the two-fisted drinkers, the ones who would walk in with a big ol' sloshing glass of red wine from somewhere else (totally illegal). There would sometimes be a few tears shed (by me, the next day) upon finding a linen pillow with a big wine stain, or a hole where something was stolen. Ugh. There were the obnoxious pick-up artists who thought maybe we were a singles bar. And, we never ate dinner until long after the last lights went out, all the stuff got cleaned up, and we stumbled home at 10pm or later, slightly comatose. Our tradition was a little comfort plate of scrambled eggs and toast. I can sure stand to skip dinner, but poor Robert has this burning metabolism that needs fuel, or else he falls apart. I always made sure we had a little bowl of nuts or something to keep us going. And that leads me to one of the funnier stories of our artwalk career.

One night we were very busy. All I had left for our "emergency" snack was a handful of stale Japanese rice snacks from Costco. Pretty pathetic. I put them into a tiny bowl and hid it behind a display on the wrap counter. Robert had skipped lunch, too, so I knew this wasn't going to do it for him, only two thirds of the way through our 14-hour day. A nicely-dressed couple comes in, takes some sangria (this was our go-to libation, recipe available at our shop), and kind of gives a cursory glance around. Next thing I know, he nods to her (as in "Honey! I found the food!"), reaches way across and behind the front desk display (right in my face) and sticks his hand into our little bowl of rice snacks. Stale rice snacks. How he saw it I'll never know. Maybe x-ray vision.

"Oh!," he says to his wife as he takes a bite. "Ugh. It's just Costco stuff." She rolls her eyes and makes this little gutteral "ach" sound of disgust. They make a beeline for the door, sangria still in their hands. I call over to Robert with this kind of suppressed half-laughter, because I'm trying not to snort and burst out in real laughter. But I can hardly help myself, it was so funny. Like we were trying to pass off some horrible snacks to our visitors. Snacks that were hidden in a tiny bowl for none to see.

I looked at our half-filled bowl. The guy had just stuck his paw into our pathetic little dinner. And he didn't like it! Not one bit. I threw the rest out and started counting the minutes until we could go home and make scrambled eggs with herbes de provence.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Remember this stuff?

Found these shots of Pomegranate in a snowstorm... kind of refreshing on these dog days of summer, no? Wouldn't you just like to plop down on that front lawn and do a snow angel? I know my puppies would. Poor things panted all night long last night, even though we had the fan blowing and windows wide open.

Here's a great product recommendation: misters! We don't carry them, but you can find them at irrigation supply stores (I believe we got ours at the one on Nels Anderson Rd., near Round Butte Seed). It's a holey tube that you hook up to your garden hose; wrap the mister around an arbor, gate, entryway and you get this delightful misty spritz as you walk through it. Not as intense as walking into a sprinkler, but you may not want a complete soaking anyway. We've got two of them going at Pomegranate, so if you're brave enough to shop in the heat, we'll take care of you!