Promise I won't talk about Tried & True or Bespoken very often on schneiderlife, but I feel like it's important to have my first 'places' post be about them. My businesses are a huge part of me and often a lens through how I experience other places, most small business owners can relate to that! I know the shops are a far cry from perfect but how can I not talk about something so near and dear to my heart?
Time for a little background! I've been asked off and on over the past few years how Tried & True was started and there never seems to be enough time to explain the miracle behind it, so I'm going to paint the picture here. The journey began with two separate couples, Don and Christy Orwick, and Collin and myself, both headed in the same direction, desiring to open a coffeeshop in the heart of the Willamette Valley, but taking two very different paths to get there.
Don and Christy happened into the coffee industry a little later in life, both wanting to bring something special to downtown coupled with Don's endless need to work although he had previously retired. Don comes from a small business background, having owned a women's boutique at a previous point in his life, and couldn't shake the itch to open something again. Christy works at OSU in the pharmaceutical department (we joke that she has the 'real' job between the four of us), and due to Don's power of talking anyone into anything, she was along for the ride!
Collin and I had worked in coffee from a very young age and knew, even way back in high school, that we wanted to own a shop someday. We romanticized about opening in a small community, serving the same people day to day, year to year, building a close knit family within the shop and letting the town kind of take ownership of it. After ten years of working for other people, gleaning information, and learning how we wanted to (or didn't want to) run a business, we packed up everything and moved from Portland to Corvallis in hopes of starting a new chapter in our lives. Bespoken started pretty quickly after that but we kept hitting dead ends with the coffee shop side of things.
Four months after moving we were still unsettled, questioning our decisions left and right, wondering if we should have ever left Portland. We had a good life up there, had we made a mistake leaving it all? Around that same time, in mid July, we found out that some of the funding for our hopeful shop had fallen through and we felt utterly defeated. I remember sitting in my kitchen drinking a beer midday and angry crying... it wasn't my best moment.
Then that same week divine providence stepped in. Collin was randomly put in contact with the Orwicks, a couple who we were told 'wanted to open a coffee shop, were business savvy, but didn't have a coffee background'. We weren't looking to partner with anyone at the time but figured in our despair it didn't hurt to reach out to them. Within the week, after several meetings, the four of us decided to become partners and open the shop together. It's crazy how in just seven short days things did a total one-eighty for us!
The past few years have been the best of my life... and the hardest, the most exhausting, the most stressful, the most joyous, and so on and so forth. You get the idea! I never knew I could experience the onslaught of emotions I go through on a weekly, sometimes daily, basis. But everytime I walk into our shops I know it's all been worth it. Even if we close tomorrow and we lose everything I am confident that moving to Corvallis, meeting the Orwicks, and opening Tried & True were exactly the right moves for our life. Sometimes when I'm in the shops I have this urge to stop everything, stand up on the counter, and thank each and every person there. To let them know that we see them, we love them, we appreciate them, tell them that they're sitting in our high school dream, and to pull that cheesy mom move and say 'this is proof that anything is possible'!
I never want to lose sight of the miracle that is our story or forget how I felt in my kitchen that day in July, to know that even during hard times there is hope on the horizon. Every intentional business out there has a beautiful backstory, and I want to take the time to listen, to tell their stories, to paint the picture that is their business and to share it all with you. That is my plan with the 'places' section of schneiderlife, to tell you the stories behind the companies we all love. And I never want to stop encouraging people to go for it, to try, to dream, to risk it all because at the end of the day, 'even if we fail at the right thing, it's better than succeeding at the wrong one'.*
*quote by Seth Trimmer