Cheney Free Press -

By Grace Pohl
Staff Intern 

Farm Salvation offers a unique style in Medical Lake

 

February 8, 2018

Grace Pohl

Farm Salvation reopened from renovations on Feb. 7. The store is open Wednesdays to Saturdays from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Farm Salvation, located at 106 Lefevre St. in Medical Lake, is a place where items can have a second chance, thanks to Gerri Johnson. Since 2012, Johnson has been taking things from her farm and giving them a new purpose for Farm Salvation.

"I think to myself 'how can I make an item part of something?'" Johnson said. "If it is really tired and worn out, you can paint it or take the paint off."

She has done shows around the Pacific Northwest, including Farm Chicks, which was a big inspiration for her. Farm Chicks takes place every year on the first weekend in June at the Spokane County Fairgrounds. The event features hundreds of creatively and carefully curated spaces filled with vintage and handmade goods.

Through her success from Farm Chicks, she became good friends with the founder, Serena Thompson. Thompson ended up being a mentor to Johnson and was eventually featured in examples of Farm Chicks.

"I have been really blessed in that respect," Johnson said. "Knowing a local woman in our area that is known for being international, that's pretty incredible."

Despite Johnson's success at her shows, Johnson didn't have a permanent spot to sell items unless she invited people over to her house. But that changed when she opened a store this past April.

"People would tell me to open up a store, but I wouldn't want to unless I opened up in my community," Johnson said. "So when a building opened in Medical Lake, I decided to go for it."

And there is a reason why she wanted to stay in Medical Lake as her husband, Randy, has lived on the 1800's family farm his entire life and they have been involved with the town for a long time.

The store includes items that Johnson will make from her farm or from just obtaining items that are vintage or restored. All of the new retail that Johnson has blends in with all the farm style. She also sells soap products, and is a local source for lotion and candles that are GMO free. Another local item is soup from a Pacific Northwest source.

The building even has its own history as it was Medical Lake's First National Bank in the 1900's. The location went through a variety of changes, including a sheriff's office and a gas station, throughout the years, and brings in people from all over. Johnson said one of her favorite parts about the store is that people come in with amazing stories to tell.

One of her favorite moments from the store was when an older man came in just looking at the walls of the building. When she asked if he needed any help, he explained how his dad used to work in the building when it was the sheriff's office. The gentleman went on to tell her that he was ultimately inspired by his grandfather, who was a chef at Lakeland Village. Johnson then asked more questions, and discovered in front of her was President Ronald Regan's personal chef.

"It has been really fun," Johnson said in regards of hearing stories. "Everyone has a story and you want your story to be told. We can't lose our identity and we have to capture our legacy"

Johnson's store is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to community involvement as she is also the vice president of Re*Imagine Medical Lake and was a part of the city's first "Small Business Saturday."

"Small Business Saturday was a positive day for all of the West Plains," Johnson said. "I was impressed and it was a very good day for me. I would like to do one event like that a month. And in the West Plains in general, I would love to see our businesses come together and see us all succeed. That is a big deal for me."

Farm Salvation has been under some renovations for a month, but reopened on Feb. 7. The store is open from Wednesdays to Saturdays from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Grace Pohl can be reached at grace@cheneyfreepress.com.

 

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