When I woke this morning, I was looking forward to driving to Kent – a suburb of Seattle – to visit a home and garden shop. About a week ago, my friend Crystel visited a small shop, Bella Home and Garden. When Crystel discovered that the store was hosting an event called “The Sense of Lavender”, she told the sales clerk about my book “Discover Cooking with Lavender”. Then she emailed me telling me about the shop, their Open House and suggested I contact the shop owner. Crystel even gave me the phone number.
I was pleased because I would not have found this shop without her email. I don’t live in that area and I rarely shop there. It’s about 25 miles from my home. Friends, like Crystel, are hard to find.
I drove out to Kent. The traffic was light and the cloudy drizzly day felt calming. I brought a few books along with me. I parked and walked towards the store. Tables full of small plants made the store look fresh and inviting. I spotted plenty of 4 inch lavender plants, Betty’s Blue was blooming. I walked into the store and was immediately greeted by an attractive blonde woman, whose name I soon learned was Carol. Carol introduced me to the shop’s owner, Marci Wainhouse.
Soon we were talking about cooking with lavender, lemonade, grandchildren and Girl Scouts. “I brought a few copies of my book.” I said.
Carol began looking at it. “I love the cover.”
Then Marci paged through it. “This is my granddaughter. And the little girl on the back is Charlotte Rose, daughter of Shelley Thomas and Brian Smale (the food stylist and photographer who gave my book its great look),” I commented.
I was thrilled when Marci said, “We love the book. It fits perfectly with our shop. We’d love to carry it.”
The conversation turned back to the Open House. “I can be here on Saturday, October 2nd from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Would you like me to demonstrate how to make and use lavender sugar? Also, I’d love to show your customers how easy it is to dry roast culinary lavender buds to create a whole new taste,” I offered.
“Good, sounds wonderful,” Marci replied.
With that settled, Marci asked, “Have you shopped at Martha E. Harris? She used to be near University Village? I used to work there many years ago.”
What a coincidence, I thought. “Martha Harris is my favorite florist. Whenever I order flowers, I call Martha E. Harris.”
Marci smiled, saying, “I thought I might have recognized your name. You should see if she wants to carry your book. It would do well there!”
She went on to suggest several other places where she thought my book would be a fit. One was Purple Haze. Then the topic of food came into the picture. Marci raved about Purple Haze Lavender and Herbes de Provence Mustard. “It’s delicious on ham on French bread. I made a wilted salad with it and loved it,” she said.
“I’d like to buy some and try it.” I said.
Marci walked across the shop to the shelf where the mustard was displayed, picked up a jar and placed in a bag with the Bella logo. “This is on us. I hope you enjoy it,” she said.
This is a story of how one kindness can open the door to more. Crystel, thanks for opening the door.
p.s. By the way the mustard is delicious. We tried it this evening using Marci’s serving suggestion. Perfect!
If you are in the Kent area on Friday(10-1) or Saturday(10-2) between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m., drop by Bella. Gourmet food tastings, special price for lavender and great gift ideas will be available.