(Photo | Courtesy of Juniper Blu Home & Gift)
Somerli McLain wasn’t planning on “planting another tree” in Sisters. The owner of Maple Moon in Redmond and Sweet Willow in Prineville, McLain opened Juniper Blu Home & Gift last November. “I wasn’t looking to open another store but when the owners of the space approached me and told me how much they enjoyed visiting my stores in Redmond and Prineville, I told them I would visit the space in Sisters,” McLain said. “I drove out and fell in love with Sisters. It’s like a little Hallmark town. It’s incredibly charming and everyone has been welcoming.”
McClain said her love of nature and especially trees provided her with the inspiration to name her three stores. She started her first store in Redmond in 2016. Both the Prineville and Sisters additions weren’t planned. Instead, she was asked to open stores.
Always considerate of what other shops offer, McLain shared she chose her merchandise based on what wasn’t already available in Sisters. “I try to find the most unique things I can find and what people living in or visiting Sisters would need or want,” she said. “I purchase items made in Oregon. The Juniper Blu store has an assortment of gourmet foods such as honeys, syrups, chocolates, teas and cocktail mixes. It also has a variety of cooking items, handbags, linens, candles, tablecloths, gifts, cards and jewelry.”
Each store has taught her valuable lessons. “All three of the stores are different in their own way but what they have in common is my and my staff’s dedication to catering to our customers’ needs and wants,” she said. “I tell every new business owner how important it is to listen to the customers, especially when they make a request for something they would want.”
McLain also encourages new business owners to discover ways to contribute to their community, whether it’s volunteering at a community event or donating items to a fundraiser. “It’s also important to know the owners of the businesses around your business,” she said. “One reason I decided on the Sisters’ location was because of the surrounding businesses.”
And if she doesn’t have something a customer is looking for, she can recommend which neighboring business may have it.
Just as important as it to listen to her customers, she said it’s equally important to listen to her employees. “I have a wonderful team of wonderful women who are dedicated to their jobs and are like family to me,” she said. “I love being in each of my stores working with them.”
She invites locals and tourists to stop by Juniper Blu Home & Gifts to say hello and browse. “I am so glad when people come into the store and just look,” she said. “People have apologized for looking and not buying anything, but I always tell them I appreciate them stopping by.”
Juniper Blu Home & Gift
351 W Hood Ave. in Sisters
Facebook @Juniper Blu