Small business' journey on to a new leg in Tualatin
Angela Dickson knows something about making a new space into a home.
For the past eight years, off and on, Dickson has operated a retail business called The Little Door, selling rustic-chic and farmhouse décor and home furnishings. Her first store was in an older building on Willamette Falls Drive in West Linn; problems with the building prompted a move out to a converted nursery on Stafford Road, a few miles to the west, which The Little Door shared with Stafford Farms & Vintage.
After taking a break from the retail side, Dickson has opened her latest store, The Oilery by The Little Door, in Tualatin.
Dickson wants to get something out of the way right up front: "We don't sell oil."
In fact, the store's name is inspired by the business it replaced at 19310 S.W. Mohave Court, just south of Tualatin-Sherwood Road. Dickson put a lot of work into making the former oil changing station into a home décor store, although she said she likes the industrial "edge" of the setting.
It's an eclectic part of Tualatin's expanding commercial area, in a transitional zone of sorts between the suburb's downtown retailers and industrial facilities. The Oilery's neighbors include June Taylor's School of Dance, Tualatin Tire Pros Automotive Repair and the Tigard-Tualatin Online Academy, among others.
Dickson lives in West Linn, but her husband grew up in the Tualatin area. Before opening The Oilery, she said, her most recent project was building a small barn on his family farm. Once that was done, she decided it was time to get back into retail and find a new store location, she explained.
"All of our customers are around here, so I wanted to stay close enough to them," Dickson said.
Most of Dickson's time is devoted to finding new items for her store's inventory, she said.
"We are constantly on the hunt … even when we're traveling," Dickson said. "That's probably what keeps me the busiest is searching for all of this. … It's got to be forever changing. And my customers really expect — or have come to expect, I should say — a really good price point. So that search goes on and on to find the right stuff at the right price."
The Oilery opened its doors to customers last weekend. But it won't have even been open a week before its first big event: the Farm Fresh Antique & Vintage Fair at Lee Farms.
Lee Farms is a neighbor of the Dickson family farm, and the Lees agreed to host the fair this weekend, Dickson said. There will be 25 vendors from across the Western United States there to sell a wide range of décor and furniture, she said — lots of diversity, with the unifying rule being that items sold must be antique, vintage or handmade — as well as indoor and outdoor plants.
"I hand-selected each one to make sure that it was … not saturated with the same thing, same thing, same thing, same thing," Dickson said. "I picked from different genres in kind of a nice eclectic, but just beautifully set up, (group of) vendors. … They're awesome. They're going to be phenomenal, so I'm excited."
Hours for the Farm Fresh fair are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, July 14, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, July 15. Admission and parking are free.
Refreshments will also be available, including wines from Tumwater Vineyards in Stafford and food provided by Lee Farms.
"We really wanted a little bit of both," Dickson said. "So, like, a really good family environment for the ladies who want to bring their families and let their kiddos just — they can go off and do all the kiddo activities we're going to open up for the public. And then there's the other side of the ladies who want to grab a friend and come wine-tasting."
This will be the first year Dickson is putting on a vendor event at Lee Farms, although she said she organized similar events on a yearly basis when she had her store on Stafford Road.
Lee Farms is at 21975 S.W. 65th Ave. in Stafford.
The Oilery by The Little Door is open Thursday through Sunday. Dickson said she hopes to expand those hours as the store becomes better established.
By Mark Miller
Assistant Editor, The Times