Winter Weather Impacts Local Businesses

Sourced goods, beautiful second-hand pieces and a welcoming environment are just a few ways to describe Gathered Wares. Lauren Cooley, the owner and founder of Gathered Wares, has been the backbone of this local boutique since it was just an idea. Cooley opened her business in March of 2021 and now has five total local vendors renting space in her brick-and-mortar in the Old Iron Works district of Bend.

Located in the Old Iron Works district of Bend, Cooley has made it her mission to catch the eye of the locals.

“Gathered Wares, in short, is a place to adorn your body and your home with both new and previously loved wares,” Cooley said, “My goal was to create a space that would inspire others to think differently about shopping used before new, to showcase the magic in pieces that have lasted decades and are unique in a way that new cannot offer and to build community both for myself but also for others.” 

With five different vendors in Gathered Wares, there’s always something for anyone who walks in. You can find some second-hand clothes, furniture, and other things that aren’t second-hand, like some local art and jewelry. With fast fashion becoming more unsustainable, Cooley wants to give consumers the opportunity to shop more thoughtfully, secondhand.

Gathered Wares’ Bend location deals with, like many other local businesses, erratic weather that affects operating hours. While this past winter wasn’t Bend’s worst, it still notably impacted the local community and its businesses. The roads were dangerous and schools were closed, forcing working parents to stay home.

“January of 2024 was our worst January in the three years we’ve been open,” Cooley said. “Our sales were drastically impacted. And my business is unique in that I have vendors that rent spaces from me and sell their wares as well, so it impacts us all — five total businesses.”

The intense winter and snow brought school closures. According to the Bend-La Pine Director of Communications Scott Maben, three school days in January were missed due to dangerous driving conditions.

“Myself and my main employee are both moms to school-age children, and school closures cause a lot of chaos, with having to rearrange entire [work] days,” Cooley said. 

Even with the closures, Gathered Wares is making a steady recovery, recently having its Second Sunday Market, an annual market where more local vendors are able to participate and promote their business. With music and coffee from Café de Chutes this market is a wonderful way for Gathered Wares to promote shopping locally, second-hand. 

“Make sure to be intentional about visiting those places and telling people about them,” Cooley said. “Just simple things — even just a visit and a chat goes a long way to keeping us struggling shop owners’ spirits up.”

Keep an eye out for their next event, the Second Sunday market at the Old Bend Iron Works, occurring Mother’s Day weekend Sunday, May 12, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. with music from local DJ Adam Powell.