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Many hands make light work - that's the philosophy behind much of the work that happens at the West Linn Adult Community Center, particularly with the gift shop.

SUBMITTED PHOTO  - Sally Olson, left, and Veronica Ferenz have long histories of keeping the West Linn Adult Community Centers gift shop in tip top shape. The gift shop is now called the Little Shop on Rosemont.

Bits of lives swirl and unfold here. One woman purchased the jewelry she would wear for her wedding here. Another bought baby booties for her soon-to-be-born granddaughter. A former West Linn mayor found a brass door knocker adorned with a fox, and excitedly purchased it for her friends, the Fox family. A young mom gleefully bought a tooth fairy pillow for her young son, soon to lose his first tooth. A dad found special pearl earrings, which he purchased for his daughter's 30th birthday. And just last week, a woman purchased a beautifully embroidered sympathy card for a friend whose wife had just passed away.

Beginnings ... and endings, they all share a moment here. These are but a few of the many thousands of purchases that have been made inside the walls of the West Linn Adult Community Center (WLACC) gift shop, open now more than 14 years, and recently crowned The Little Shop on Rosemont.

Its humble beginnings date back to a square room marked "gift shop" on the 2002 blueprint drawn up for the current-day community center.

This gift shop — like the center in which it is housed — owes its very existence to a small group of determined individuals who believed that West Linn merited an adult community center. They worked hard to prove their case in the 1990s and got the City onboard, while growing in number in several interim locations, before today's center was built.

Eight months after the January 2003 dedication of the WLACC, that little space on the architect's blueprint gave birth to the center's gift shop. A story published in the center newsletter late that summer reported that a shop, dubbed Nana's Place, would open the day after Labor Day, Sept. 2, 2003. Nana's, it said, would sell unique, reasonably priced items. People were invited to consign and donate products, as well as volunteer in the shop.

By 2006, one such volunteer would deftly steer the gift shop to new levels. Sally Olson's journey at the center started when she took a class. After that class, she recognized she had something to offer, too. Sally had significant retail buying and sales experience from her long career with Lakeside Drugs and Lakeside Gifts. So she volunteered to run the gift shop. In short order, the shop was open five days a week and she was choosing merchandise for the shop, and arranging it amid fun seasonal and holiday display themes. Her keen skill for helping folks find the perfect gift for those hard-to-buy-for people we all have in our lives really shined.

Soon, the center's wood carving group created a display rack for Sally so the shop's marvelous products could spill out of the shop into the hall. By now, offerings included jewelry, purses, soaps, candles, garden signs, bird feeders and wood walking sticks. Sally devoted four years of volunteer work at the center, in the gift shop and on the board of the WLACC Friends group.

One of Sally's recruits was Veronica Ferenz, an Oregon native who'd taught public school in California for more than 20 years. She and husband John retired in Oregon, were volunteering for various organizations, and enjoying the WLACC's popular yoga class for several years. Veronica's volunteer work in the gift shop beside Sally was heaven-sent, as Sally was ready to reduce her hours and enjoy her grandchildren and gardening.

Just as Sally once took the shop in new directions, Veronica would, beginning in 2009, steer it to new heights. Veronica recruited many new consigners, bringing an even greater selection of unique products to the shop's shelves. She recruited many new volunteers, including husband, John. She is emphatic that her commitment is inextricably tied to John's dedication and support of her own work with the shop. They took great joy in the shop's expansion. During her tenure, Veronica has staged popular fashion shows, rolled out gift certificates, a customer wish list for new products, watch battery replacement service, online selling and credit card acceptance. She invites the public to come and check out The Little Shop on Rosemont and like us on Facebook!

The lunch menu this week features shredded pork tacos, refried beans, peppers and onions and for dessert chocolate pudding on Friday, Oct. 13; beef stroganoff with egg noodles, cauliflower and vegetable medley on Monday, Oct. 16 and grilled cheese sandwiches, tomato soup and brownies on Wednesday, Oct. 18. Cost is $5 per person.

Patti McCoy is a volunteer in The Little Shop on Rosemont, located at 1180 Rosemont Road in the West Linn Adult Community Center. She has resided in West Linn for 31 years.

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