You might expect to find a store like The Brilliant Moon in Seattle’s University district, on Berkeley’s Telegraph Avenue or at San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury.
But in McCleary?
The Brilliant Moon, which opened in the spring, is the brainchild of retiree Mary Schroeder and her daughter, Lindy Cameron. both of Olympia. It features an eclectic blend of organically sourced teas, spices and herbs, books, hand-crafted jewelry and art by local artisans, kitchen items, incense and worldly gifts.
“The town has really welcomed us,” said Schroeder, who chose to open a store in McCleary for a slower pace and lower overhead than Olympia.
“If I was in Olympia, it would be a lot different,” said Schroeder, while serving a visitor a mug of “Happy Tea.”
“We love it here. It’s a really friendly community. This has been a dream of mine for many years. It took us about a year to open it.”
After retiring after a career as a social worker and CPA for a Tacoma law firm, Schroeder enlisted the help of her daughter, a graduate of The Evergreen State College. Lindy, 30, is the store’s marketing and merchandising expert, and creates the displays, packaging and labels for many of the store’s products.
“We’re trying to create space where people are really comfortable,” said Cameron, “They can come and use the space, even if they don’t buy anything.
The building space, at 121 W. Simpson Ave., includes a main display room, a hallway lined with teas and holistic herbs, and herb and kitchen room, a book room — with big, comfy chairs — an office, classroom and professional kitchen, though the latter has yet been put to use.
The Brilliant Moon plans to offer its classroom for community meetings, “soup nights,” and plans to begin various cooking and herbalism classes there next year.
“This space has so much potential,” said Schroeder, noting that business has been good so far and has even picked up as people come in seeking unique gifts you’ll rarely find in any department store or strip mall.
“We just thought we could bring something bright here that the community can enjoy in many ways,” said Cameron.
“And in a town like this, there’s a lot of word-of-mouth going on, which really helps,” added her mom.
The Brilliant Moon — named after a noted Buddhist monk — is normally open 10 a.m. through 6 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. The phone number is (360) 861-8542. The store’s website — which they hope to develop beginning in 2014 — is at www.thebrilliantmoon.com.