Oregon's Favorite Main Street
Moved: From Vancouver, Washington, to McMinnville, Oregon, in 2006
Old life: Preschool teacher in the burbs
New life: Bakery owner (rubycakesbakeries.com)
The aha moment: My husband and I had never been to McMinnville before and went for lunch on the roof deck at McMenamins, the place every nonlocal knows. It was a cold winter day, but cozy, romantic. He was considering a job with a blueberry company here. One visit and, we thought, Yes, let's live here!
What I gave up: Having my family nearby.
What I gained: The ability to walk down the street and say hello to people by name. A house—with character and crown molding—that was cheaper than our new-construction subdivision in Vancouver. A weekly farmers' market that allowed me to try out my gluten-free cupcake and meet my business partner, Amy Israel. She came every week, and one day asked if I'd be interested in opening a storefront. I don't think that kind of repeat interaction would take place in a big city. Now the two of us own a full-on bakery, Ruby Cakes.
Take my advice: If you want to start a business here, finding a niche is important. I don't know if I would've succeeded with a regular bakery; it helped to be vegan and gluten-free. The Saturday market is a great place for people who have an idea and want to try it out before opening a full-fledged business.
I knew I was a local when: I started getting my weekly duck eggs from my neighbor.
The McMinnville Downtown Association works to promote and enhance our historic downtown as the economic, social and cultural heart of the community.