This Saturday we’re celebrating our 17th Pomegranate anniversary (about a month late, but who’s counting?). No one is more surprised than we are. We started this as kind of a lark, a dream, a leap of faith: a way to have a little business and satisfy that urge to shop and hunt and display. We began on a shoestring and did everything ourselves: we made our own signs, lots of our displays pieces, our own ads… and still do things that way.
Seventeen years later, we’re still going strong, still loving what we do (most days), and looking forward to more years as retailers. It’s hard to imagine the day we “retire” … if that’s even possible. Sometimes we engage in these ridiculous conversations about new cars – Robert wants a Mazda sports car, and I want a Mini Cooper (or maybe a little Fiat) – only to realize that we can’t do that, since we’ll always and forever be finding treasures and hauling stuff around. Even when we’re dottering around in old age, no doubt.
We are so indebted to all our lovely clientele, for shopping with us and returning again and again over the years. For finding us in the first place, and then remembering to come back! We know our location is kind of a challenge (although on the good side, there’s parking). We’re out there on our little tiny postage stamp of history, surrounded by big boxes and unrelated businesses. It’s not on the way to anything, really (except for Sun Mountain Fun Center, and if you’re going there, your car is probably filled with excited, impatient kids). So, we’re really thankful that we’ve become a destination shop, a locals’ favorite… and sometimes, the first place our return tourists come to when they arrive in Bend!
You know what makes us especially happy? When people tell us that they still have – and use – things that they bought from us years ago. We always wanted to have that kind of longevity in our taste, our offerings. From the beginning, we wanted to bring you things that you wouldn’t tire of after a season or two. Classics, simple and well-designed, that hopefully won’t end up in a garage sale.
We still have that same principle in mind every time we go to market, or go out hunting for vintage items. And we still like quirky, oddball things, like the “Joltmeter” we found recently (which never made it into the shop – on our mantel now). Both of us flipped for this quasi-industrial piece that was a sham marketing device from the 1930s, made by Chevrolet to demonstrate to new car buyers how smooth their ride was. Someday it might be for sale at Pomegranate. Depends.
Sometimes a vendor will ask what our shop demographics are, and I think it doesn’t really matter, does it? We have 25-year-olds with good taste, and we have 75-year-olds (and beyond) with good taste. It all kind of transcends demographics. We love the 12-year-olds who already have their favorite French soap… and everybody else who shops with us.
And we’re happy that our favorite look – vintage artfully mixed with modern – is on the rise. I grew up in an Eichler house with a mix of mid-century modern (although we didn’t call it that back then) and antique pieces. My parents loved modern art and Scandinavian furniture, and cleverly mixed it with family pieces and garage sale finds. Robert’s parents held onto to true antiques – beautiful heirlooms, some of which we are now entrusted with. So it’s all near and dear to our hearts… we love bringing in good design, period.
I sometimes think back to when we also had our little modern store (dolo, where delicious Bontà Gelato is now) – it’s been about ten years now, but I still use a lot of the pieces we had at the store (those that I managed to bring home, anyway). Dolo was maybe a bit before its time… we had some very loyal clientele, but sadly, not enough to keep it going and profitable. But nothing stops us from bringing in some of that vibe now at Pomegranate.
That’s what keeps us going – always changing and refreshing, new looks, new finds… but with an eye towards design, not trends. Seventeen years goes by fast when you’re having fun, and when you’re proud of what you’re creating. We are looking forward to more, and looking forward to seeing all of you again, whether you’ve been shopping with us from day one, or just found us last week!
Jan and Robert Brockway (and Jilly, shop dog extraordinaire)