Posts Tagged ‘spokane valley gift shops’

Over the last 10 years or so that the Hurd Mercantile has been in business, I had never thought to stop in during the countless times I had driven through the quiet farm town of Rockford located about 18 miles south of Spokane Valley on Highway 27. It is nothing against the Hurd, it is just that I abhor shopping in general and gift shopping in particular. Furthermore, normally I am passing through Rockford by myself on business or passing through with Elaine for a day of pleasure on the lake. When I am by myself, the idea of stopping at a gift shop never even enters my head. When I am with Elaine, I have always been able to successfully object to her motion to have our vehicle come to rest in front of the Hurd.

But last Labor Day as Elaine and our daughter, Jacque, and I took a leisurely road trip down to St. Maries to check out the Lumberjack Festival, I finally lost the battle. In years past, Jacque would have been an ally as a child not interested in mozying around a big store, but now she was a young lady who was growing in the womanly arts her mother was constantly teaching her. Like the skills required to spend hours in front of a mirror each morning, Elaine has been teaching her daughters the love of loitering in leisurely luxury at gift shops. The Hurd Mercantile was the perfect setting to further Jacque’s education. I told them to have at it, I had brought reading material and would wait in the car.

But after nearly a half hour I began to worry. I knew they were safe but I wasn’t sure about our savings and so I headed into the Hurd to herd out my lost girls. In spite of myself, I was in awe as I opened the door and began to take in this amazing store with its abundant variety and creative, lively displays spread out over 8,000 square feet and 2 stories. I knew instantly that Elaine would never leave this place empty-handed.

Upon entering the Hurd I realized my girls were lost somewhere deep inside this monstrous building.

I wandered about the myriad of tasteful displays.

I had to begrudgingly admit that this was a creative and fun place to visit.

Finally I found Elaine, happy as a mouse in a cheese factory. But Jacque was nowhere in sight.

A scan of the incredible upstairs toy section did not turn her up.

Finally I found her in one of the Hurd's many tucked away little nooks and crannies with that same "Ain't I a stinker" look on her face.

Finally after what seemed like hours, Elaine showed her daughter how big girls cap off a visit to any good gift shop by putting her purse on the counter and whipping out the plastic. I knew it wouldn't be cheap. But secretly I was glad that this was a gift shop and that she was buying Christmas presents that needed to be bought anyway. It didn't seem to matter to her that she wasn't buying for herself. I think that for women, the purchase is the climax of the stimulating experience of shopping. At any rate, Elaine has been rather passionate about it over the years.

I was just glad to get out and down the road to the Lumberjack festival. But I did drive all the way there the next month to buy the watch that Elaine fell in love with but that I talked her out of buying that day. Being an uncreative and often impassive partner, gift-givingly speaking, I was more than happy to make the trip in order to get the perfect present for Elaine's birthday. Elaine has suffered over the years because of my weak shop drive , but this year The Hurd helped me come through with flying colors.

   I pulled off the Highway 27 at the Freeman Convenience Store to receive a phone call last Saturday and discovered a brand new gift shop in the quaint building to the rear. It is called Bertha and Brambles and features the work of several of the shop owners’ work as well as large array of vintage collectables.

 The new owners, sisters Robin Foutch and Kari Patterson from the Fairfield area, come from an artistic family that has a lot to offer. Kari is a talented graphic designer with a line of children’s fabric called KP Kids and Co. that is popular around the world. Another sister, Lori Lynn,  is a popular a children’s photographer. Robin and a sister-in-law make jewelry, a niece makes pins and another makes magnets. Their mom makes those cute little topsy-turvy dolls that have a sleeping head on one end and bright eyed one on the other, with the dress in the middle hiding which ever end is held down.

    Additionally, they let some of their friends have some shelf space. Spokane soap maker, Sandy Tarbox, has her line of olive oil handmade Greencastle Soap on display. Another friend has a line of handcrafted scented candles called Bungalow Candleworks, Mary Joe from Montana has a display of photographs and another friend makes furniture.

    Beyond all these great gift ideas, there is Kari’s vast collection of vintage collectables, which Robin assured me only a small portion could be displayed and so it seems the inventory will  constantly be replenished as they empty her storage space and tap their friends and family for more and more of their hand crafted treasures.

The stores phone number is 291-3728