by: ISABEL GAUTSCHI - Becky McFarland stands before an array of merchandise in the barn/store addition to the Wade Creek House.Six years ago, Becky and Bill McFarland bought a little house on Wade Street.

The dwelling was built in 1944 and had once been home to a family of eight. The McFarlands thought that fixing up the building would make a nice retirement project.

They went to work adding new insulation, remodeling and fixing up a new electrical system, not yet sure what they would do with it.

But when Becky McFarland got to talking with her fellow nurses and other work buddies, she realized that they all had a strong interest in crafting and antiques. Everyone thought it would be great to have a space where they could sell items that reflected their unique talents and interests.

Why not open a collaborative store where people could vend from their area of expertise?

Wade Creek House was born.

It started out like a co-op, everyone’s merchandise was mixed together.

Now there are 19 separate vending spaces, thanks to the barn/store area that the McFarlands added in 2010.

One can find antiques, soy candles, artwork, quilts, vintage books, dishes and more.

“A lot of young families shop here. It’s really fun, they can get cute fun stuff at a reasonable price,” Becky McFarland said.

She added that “lazy” dealers are often frequent customers, Wade Creek House being one of their first stops to add to their collections.

It’s fun for the vendors too.

Retired teacher and longtime Wade Creek House vendor Debbie Ingamells said, “It’s the perfect thing for someone like me. You’re always learning. It’s something new every day. It’s always an adventure. Everyday is a treasure hunt.”

Ingamells said she discovered Wade Creek House following her recent retirement.

After taking a year off, she wasn’t sure what she wanted to do with her time.

Driving by, the store caught her eye. She stopped in and was enchanted.

She met the McFarlands and was invited to the vendors’ monthly meeting.

She brought quilts and antiques of the kind she hoped to sell at the store. She was welcomed to join the vendors.

“At first I really had to learn the business,” Ingamell said and explained that the other vendors helped her to quickly learn the tricks of the trade.

Ingamells implied that Wade Creek House gave her the space to explore her interests and the community to support her while doing so.

Every now and then, Ingamells will teach a quilting class or a “UFO” (unfinished object class) where participants are invited to complete projects in good company.

“It’s kind of a fellowship of women (and men too),” Ingamells said. “I love it there.”

Pat Tawney, another longtime vendor, has a similar story.

Just as her retirement and the life changes it would bring were looming, Wade Creek House came into Tawney’s life.

There, she found a community that supported and inspired her in her creative endeavors.

“People are so generous with their knowledge and background. I’ve made some wonderful friends there,” she said, “I have a great life. Wade Creek House has been a huge part of that.”

Tawney started out with vintage pieces but her inventory began to rapidly expand as her interests did.

“That’s how I started, with just a few pieces in the shop and the next thing you know, you look at your inventory and all of a sudden you have 500 pieces in the shop,” she said.

Wade Creek House has given Tawney the space to explore and sell decoupage, distressing and restoring techniques, and a place to sell apples and honey from her farm. She also sells succulents and lavender in the shop’s yard.

Earlier this month, Tawney taught a beginning bee keeping class. She explained bee keeping was a hobby that turned into a passion, and now she’s “pretty good at it.”

“It’s very diverse. I do a lot of things. I couldn’t ever get bored,” Tawney said.

Tawney is thrilled with the way Wade Creek House gave her an avenue to explore her creativity.

“Without Wade Creek, I don’t know I’d have a way to afford all these things,” Tawney said and explained that separate booths at fairs and farmers markets cost a lot of money. But at Wade Creek House she can sell items from all of her interests in the same place.

Vendors seem pleased with the Wade Creek House setup, judging by the waiting list to participate.

The vendors pay a monthly fee, attend monthly meetings, and work a couple days in the shop a month. They usually work two to three events a month as well.

And there are a lot of events.

In addition to the numerous classes offered by Wade Creek House vendors in areas that range from concrete leaf casting to beginning beekeeping, there are three vintage flea markets a year and there’s usually a charity fundraiser going on.

Becky McFarland seems just as pleased with her vendors as they are with her and explained that the classes they offer are a huge draw. People often come all the way from Sauvie Island to attend.

“They’re inexpensive and lots of fun,” McFarland said.

Becky McFarland sells antiques. “I like the old, primitive, rusty stuff,” she said.

She also sells eggs from the large chicken coupe on the property. She explained that all of the materials (save a few posts) for this chicken palace were recycled. The pen is a donated dog run; its roof was her children’s old deck.

Bill McFarland sells “the guy stuff” such as tools and antique car equipment.

He’s also quite handy and has done a great deal of remodeling and additions to the property with his own two hands.

“This wouldn’t be around if it wasn’t for him. He can do everything,” McFarland said of her husband.

To learn more about Wade Creek House, its vendors, and its classes visit or stop by the store at 664 N.W. Wade St.

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