It really is a little hard to believe. 19 years ago (sputter, cough: June, 1998) we took over a funky little antiques cooperative in the Boyd homestead in Bend, and we’re still here, going strong. It took a big leap of faith (and a good deal of naiveté, which is sometimes a good thing) to do this, yet in many ways it was part of a natural progression, given our passions for design and products, vintage wares, and the retail world. Saying we were on a shoestring budget is almost too kind: we really had nothing except our too-small savings, a couple of credit cards (which is not funding), and a strong DIY attitude. It took us a couple of years to take over the different rooms that were rented out to various folks, and to build up the purchasing power to fill those rooms. And we changed the name. When we walked in nearly 20 years ago, it was called Ice House Trading Post, which just wasn’t… us. Plus we got tired of the phone calls asking if we had Davy Crockett hats, traps, and beer (maybe it’s still around, but there was a beer called Ice House). There’s an old adage in marketing that you should never change a business’s name, but we disagree.
The Pomegranate name came from Jan’s mom, who lives on an almond orchard in California and also grows pomegranates (amongst many other wonderful fruits, veges, and herbs). We were always taking pomegranate branches from her to decorate the shop, and she came up with the name. It quickly rose to the top of all the other 20 pages (single-spaced!) or so of potential names we discussed (we are nothing if not thorough). And even though in those days pomegranates were still somewhat exotic (and no one knew how to spell it), it stuck with us.
And it’s still sticking. We still love our little shop, through thick and thin. The location is not ideal: we know that and have struggled with it all these years (yet people keep finding us, and become loyal customers). And it has its quirks: barely operational heat in the winter and no a/c in the summer, critters trying to get in all the time, wobbly windows and floorboards. Yet there’s that charming historical element that you don’t get in many places; we’re a little anomaly stuck in between a strip mall and a big box mall. We’re a destination, and we really like it that way. It may feel a bit far from some of the neighborhoods where a lot of our customers live, but the good news is, once you get to Pomegranate, there’s plenty of free parking (even if you have to park in the Macy’s lot and walk across the street), and we hope, unique and interesting shopping. And free gift wrap for all the perfect gifts you’ll find.
In that 19 years, we’ve opened (and closed) two other stores in Bend (our modern store – dolo urban home, and Pomegranate Downtown) and enjoyed two years in a row recently with our temporary holiday pop-up shop in The Old Mill District. But this spot is home: we’ve kept this going since day one.
We’ve traveled the world looking for fab products, and always have so much fun mixing vintage with new, romantic with modern, quirky with practical… and bringing in whatever categories we think are wonderful. One of our first non-vintage products that we searched for was good French soaps: always a must-have since visiting France on different occasions (and seeing how well-made, natural, and long-lasting their soaps are), and we’ve become kind of a go-to spot for that. And we continue to look for those kinds of quality products that make your life better, your house prettier, and your friends happier.
We’re a little creakier now (are knee and hip problems an epidemic, or is it just us?), but still have the same passion for products and design (maybe just a little more grown up??). We still get butterflies before going to market or going on a vintage buying trip. We’re still always working the creative, DIY angles (need a new website? let’s do it ourselves! wheee!), even if we’ve slowly acquiesced to hiring people to do some things (hello to our dear lawn mower guys).
Most of all, we hope to keep this going, keep evolving, and keep bringing you – our dear clientele – many more good things, for many more years. We so appreciate all your support over the years!
Come help us celebrate our 19th anniversary on Friday and Saturday, June 16 and 17, 2017. We’ll be serving up bubbles, cupcakes, and treats… along with a big sale, of course! See you then.