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    Let me tell you about this sweet little shop called Sweet Pea Rose Cottage.  It sits in a charming vintage shopping center fashioned out of a former motel so the shop has several small rooms all in a row.  Each room is decorated in specific vintage themes and are filled with delightful vintage items as well as handmade repurposed lovelies, such as dressed-up picture frames and bracelets made from old buttons.  It’s as charming as the name suggests and the shopkeeper Raylene is just as charming and treats every customer like a new friend.  She has put her heart and soul into the shop and it shows.

     Sweet Pea Rose Cottage closed its doors two weeks ago.  Another victim to the current economy.  Raylene didn’t have the money for lots of advertising.  She relied on word of mouth, like most small shops do, as well as the high traffic through the shopping center.  Raylene did everything a shopkeeper should do:  good unique merchandise, reasonably priced, and beautifully displayed.  Add great personal customer service and a delightful owner—she truly did a wonderful job.

     The closing of her shop has hit me hard.  My heart goes out to Raylene.  I know how devastated I would be if I lost Penelopes.  When you pour your passion into a shop it becomes such a big part of your life.  Raylene would wistfully mention to me how women would spend 20 minutes perusing her shop, oooohing and ahhhhing over every item, tell her how much they loved her shop, and leave without buying anything.  It brings home hard how much we need to support the small businesses that are special to us.

    Thank you Raylene for giving us so much pleasure for the past three years with Sweet Pea Rose Cottage.  I know there are some sad hearts in Portland tonight.  There is one less lovely thing in the world.

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