Posted on September 24, 2015
Welcome to the shopthefrontier.com.
All of our profit supports business training and micro-lending programs for women and small business and, as we grow, we’ll fund local youth technology and area business start-ups. In these ways, we serve rural women and their communities by being a catalyst for entrepreneurial success.
The following “snapshots” will give you an accurate sense of what Shop the Frontier is all about. We are a rural Internet hub for skills and vibrant energy–dreams-put-into-action. We are a non-profit project, created and nurtured in the American frontier spirit of working together for the greater good–for our families and communities, for the environment, and for our customers and patrons wherever in the world you may be.
In the past we chose to strenthen our rural roots by living and working outside the traditional commercial mainstream. But the Internet has changed all that. Shop the Frontier is our way of extending the virtual highway of commerce to talented rural artists, artisans, crafters, and entrepreneurs.
THE PLACE: We live in Ferry County, a remote mountain area in northeastern Washington State, and nearby rural communities, where people still chop wood to heat their homes, preserve food for the winter, and know their neighbors, even if we happen to live a few miles apart. We are surrounded by mountains and rivers, and we hike, bike, and kayak, ride horses, and ski. We raise gardens, tend our farms, and meet at school and church. We rarely lock our homes and cars, and we wave at each other as we drive down our two-lane roads. Our town has one grocery store; the nearest mall is two hours away.
THE PEOPLE: Like many rural communities, Ferry County is a mix of folks who were born here and stayed, born here and moved away then came back, and others who came here looking for a better way of life. Steve, for example, worked for Cisco in San Jose as a networked multimedia producer, retired, moved here, and volunteers as our photographer. Janine is originally from Dallas but moved here to raise a family. She now runs our business programs and her own business, Wild Garden Herbals.
Tiffany, raised by an Alaskan bush pilot, lives with her children in a log cabin on the banks of the Kettle River. She makes wonderful hats and bags, mostly from her own patterns. Gregg is a Plein Air artist who also farms and logs with horses and travels to Washington D.C. to work on such issues as the Federal Telecommunications Act. A former LA stockbroker, Cynthia chose to move where people know each other; now she puts her heart and soul into beautiful pieces of jewelry that she designs, as well as amazing shawls she knits out of wool and silk.
ME: My dad’s family homesteaded in the Okanogan Highlands around 1895. My great-grandfather ran a freight wagon between Republic and Chesaw. My mother was born on a houseboat on the St. Joe River in northern Idaho near where her French-Canadian ancestors had settled. They met while attending the University of Washington. After Dad finished law school they moved back to Kettle Falls, his hometown, where I was born and raised. After being immersed in state politics in Olympia for twenty years, I was able to move back to my old stomping grounds. Those years of running statewide programs, creating successful coalitions and lobbying for the greater good have served me well since co-founding Stone Soup in 1999.
I hope you’ll get to know our members by reading the entrepreneur profiles in the Artist Community section of this website. From Southern Oregon to Central Washington to Northern Idaho and everywhere in between, our membership is growing geographically and numerically every month. And I invite you to call or email me if you have questions about what we do or how we do it. I’m confident you will enjoy the products of our community.