Cheryl Frampton has seen more than her share of struggles, but has come through them with a determination to help others

by: RACHEL ALDRICH - Cheryl Frampton and her youngest son Lee run The Big White Goose in downtown Canby. The furniture displayed around the store, both to buy or just sit in, is chic and colorful. But the store is not meant to just sell new furniture. The paint cans on the wall and the workshops that take place in the basement are all about using the unique paint they sell to take old things and make them beautiful.

When Cheryl Frampton, owner of the new Big White Goose store in Canby, calls the Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan “healing in a can,” she’s not primarily talking about the old furniture around her store. Much like the refurbished pieces in her shop, Frampton’s story is one of restoration.

Frampton grew up in England, where all the family on her father’s side owned the gift shops by Windsor Castle. As a little girl, she spent hours working and playing in and around those stores. And it was from there she first gained a love of retail.

In her 20s, Frampton was faced with a season of struggle and hardship. While she and her first husband were living in Australia with their 3-year-old son, her husband committed suicide. His family blamed her.

by: RACHEL ALDRICH - Cheryl Frampton (left) works with a customer during a recent class. Later, she remarried. Her second husband was violent and abusive. Pregnant at the time, her son would die a week after being born, a victim of the violence she faced at home.

“I didn’t know that men did that, or that women did that,” Frampton explained. “I didn’t know people did that to each other. I never experienced it.”

Following those events, crammed together in time so closely, she faced emotional and financial hardship, including a homeless period. But through it all, she didn’t give up.

It was during those years that she picked up a habit that serves her well to this day. She simply refused to harbor feelings of self-pity.

Even now, she will let herself “throw a pity party for 24 hours.” After that, she picks herself up and “even though my circumstances haven’t changed, my thoughts have.”

“I didn’t want to be a victim. To me, if I became a victim, then those who were doing that to me were winning,” she explained.

Even in those difficult years, she said she focused on moving forward instead of feeling sorry for herself, even though by any standard she had a right to feel that way.

“I just knew that somehow there had to be an answer,” she said.

Her aunt, who was like a mother to her, suggested she write a book to help others who were going through the same things she had experienced. Prompted, Frampton laid out her life story in hopes that she could help others understand that they could survive and did not have to be victims forever.

Several publishers turned down the work, but finally a small publisher in England said they loved it. There was a lot of publicity at the time about domestic violence and the publisher thought it was timely and helpful.

When published, it did far better than anyone expected. Frampton went on television and radio, giving advice about abusive relationships. And later she released another book.

At the same time, she was traveling around England counseling women who had suffered abuse or the suicide of a loved one. Her experiences allowed her to connect with these women in ways few others could.

“You can sympathize with somebody, but until you’ve actually gone through it you can’t know what it’s like. I think being able to experience that and come out the other side, it’s a big help for people,” she said. “And it was helpful for me at the same time because I felt like it wasn’t all for nothing.”

And through it all, Frampton painted. She dyed sheets and made them into curtains. She renovated furniture. Painting was her therapy.

“I loved making something out of nothing,” she said.

Through one of her jobs, she met her current husband, Nigel. In 2004, they moved to Florida where he owned a painting and design business, and she ran an events company.

She continued working with others to publish material to help women, began recording songs, and of course, painted.

In 2008, they moved to Oregon. Frampton said she loves Oregon and that kids who grow up here “don’t know how lucky they are.”

They eventually landed in Oregon City and the search for a shop location led them to Canby. Frampton knew she loved it, especially when she visited The Place 2 Be Cafe, which reminded her of her favorite coffee shop in London.

Nigel and Cheryl Frampton have been married 24 years and have two sons. Lee Frampton, the youngest, helps Cheryl in the shop.

Cheryl loves helping people paint and discover their own creativity.

“I don’t have any regrets,” she said. “I think to have the husband I’ve got, the kids I’ve got, the grandkids and to sit here in Canby with all these lovely people coming in today — I’ve won the lottery.”

Both Lee and Cheryl spoke of the warm reception they have received in Canby.

“It’s been lovely,” Cheryl said. “Everyone’s been really, really receptive. I’m a lucky girl.”

The shop where she restores old furniture with her “healing in a can” has been a dream for a long time. But it’s not just a dream anymore.

“Sitting here,” she said, “we’re in it.”

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