Family bazaar celebrates 30th anniversary
As the fall winds blow, sending colored leaves of orange, yellow and burgundy scattering to the ground to set the mood for coming trick-or-treaters, so too is the season ready for holiday shopping.
Near the southern outskirts of Hubbard, a not-so-secret haunt is already peddling crafted wares, celebrating 30 years of business as a regional destination for all things Christmas, winter decore — and now, Halloween.
Mother Hubbard's Cupboard Bazaar, located in a three-story former dairy barn rising out of the farmland off Broadacres Road, is entering its third week of business this year after opening Oct. 12 for the 2019 holidays.
"A lot of people tell us this is what starts their holiday season," said Lisa Holum, who helps set up, organize and run the popular craft bazaar. "They can't start the holidays until they have a visit to Mother Hubbard's Cupboard, which is fun to hear."
Featuring a variety of holiday-themed gifts and handcrafted boutique items from throughout the region, Mother Hubbard's Cupboard originally began as a fundraiser in the 1970s to help raise money for the St. Agnes Catholic Church in Hubbard.
"The St. Agnes church ladies in Hubbard would get together every Wednesday and do crafts and sewing," Holum said. "They wanted to raise money to build the hall that they have on the building now."
At the time, the barn was still in use for farm animals, and they would hold an annual bazaar in the winter every year at the house located on the property, displaying various craft goods in the extra bedrooms that weren't being used.
After the church hall was built, Holum's mother-in-law, Alice, wanted to continue doing her crafting and have an outlet for it.
"She knew other crafters and people who did the same thing, so they started with the first main floor (of the barn)," Holum said.
Over time, the bazaar gradually grew to incorporate more area inside the barn. Holum's father-in-law, Bill Engelman, built stairs to go up into the loft to expand the space, and eventually, they fixed the flooring on the bottom floor.
"They actually had to jack up the corner, because it didn't really have form anymore because of the animals," Holum said. "They jacked that up, put in a foundation, and they had rough-cut boards from some property he had cut and put down in the areas that he needed to replace. Then he built the stairs down, and we had the three levels."
The bottom level maintains the dairy farm aesthetic, painted bright white. The floorboards of the mangers, which are lined with soaps, jams, and crafted goods, are worn down with divots from years of stamping hooves from its time as a dairy barn.
The bazaar attracts crafters from around the region, from the coast to southern Oregon and into Washington. Every year, crafters bring their wares to the barn, where Holum and a pair of helpers have less than a week to set up the holiday displays, themed by the type and color of crafts.
Holum said the bazaar stocks items from anywhere between 80 and 100 vendors, who continuously bring in new items throughout the bazaar's 10-week run each year.
"We get new stuff daily, so even if you thought you saw it all, if you come back, you'll see new stuff," Holum said.
The barn continues to renovate each year. Nine trains run through the rafters of all three levels, which have tracks circumnavigating the barn. A new cafe was installed last year to sell desserts, coffee and snacks. For those who scoff at the ever-encroaching front line of Christmas, last year, the bazaar strategically opened in mid-October to provide Halloween-themed items for the season.
"Christmas is No. 1, but Halloween is No. 2 not far behind," Holum said. "We'll keep fall (displays up) all winter. I have people that even up until the last day will buy a Halloween item, even in December."
Holum credits the bazaar's longevity with a combination of constant innovation and striving to make sure the stock of items is diverse and ever-changing.
"I try to balance it out," Holum said. "I don't typically turn (vendors) away unless it's something we already have multiples of. My goal is to make sure everybody that is a crafter here is as successful as possible."
Holum married into the Engelman family, who has been running the bazaar for three decades and has been involved in its setup for 20 years, taking over operations 15 years ago. Over that time, she has seen and met a variety of crafters and community members who have become regulars at the bazaar each year, giving the barn its unique community.
"We have made a lot of great connections with people in the community that we don't see very often until this time of year; then we see them on a regular basis," Holum said. "You kind of get to know them, watch their kids grow up over 30 years. It's been really exciting to see people and get to know their community as well."
Mother Hubbard's Cupboard Bazaar
Where: 11712 Broadacres Rd. N.E., Hubbard
When: Weekends through Dec. 15. Fridays and Saturdays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sundays, noon-3 p.m.
30th anniversary events
For Mother Hubbard's 30th anniversary, the bazaar will feature gifts and incentives to shoppers each week.
Oct. 25-27 — Come trick or treat in your costume.
Nov. 1-3 — Find the hidden button win a $30 MHC gift certificate.
Nov. 8-10 — Find the hidden Button win a $30 MHC gift certificate.
Nov. 15-17 — Find the hidden button win a $30 MHC gift certificate.
Nov. 22-24 — Founders Day! Come get some free dessert.
Nov. 29-Dec. 1 — Drop off a letter to Santa and get a free cookie.
Dec. 6-8 — Find the hidden button win a $30 MHC gift certificate.
Dec. 13-15 — Pick up your reply letter from Santa and a free cookie.
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