Auntie Pam’s applies for grant to expand

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By Meg Olson

Auntie Pam’s Country Store is asking for your vote to qualify the Gulf Road business for a $100,000 grant to expand their line of skin and body care products.

“I want to keep this little store going and the way to do that is to expand the wholesale division,” said owner Pamala Sheppard.

Manufactured in Sheppard’s Point Roberts workshop, organic body care products include soaps, lotions, bath IMG_5039products and natural healing solutions. A favorite is Survival Spray, which Sheppard describes as a first-aid kit in a bottle, effective for providing relief from sunburn, insect bites, shingles, athlete’s foot and other skin conditions. Last summer Sheppard said they sold 1,800 bottles of Kool Off, their “poison-free” mosquito repellant and cooling spray from the store, which also stocks everything from sunhats to candy.

This year Sheppard started offering the products on eBay, and she says she now sells approximately eight bottles a day. A few weeks ago she began selling the products wholesale, and they are now being carried at Blue Door Interiors in Ladner, B.C. and in Leavenworth, Washington. “There’s a great potential here,” she said.

To expand, Sheppard said she will need additional equipment and more staff – she currently employs three people. She has applied for Mission Main Street Grants, a program by Chase to award $100,000 to 20 small businesses. The first step is to qualify by getting 250 votes online. Businesses who do will move on to have their applications evaluated by a panel and the winners will be announced in September. To vote visit missionmainstreetgrants.com and find Auntie Pam’s Country Store by entering 98281 for the zip code. Voting ends June 19.

“If I could buy more professional equipment it would enhance my ability to produce,” Sheppard said. “My staff would grow as my business grows.”

A thriving wholesale division will give stability to the store “by forming a strong financial foundation that won’t be influenced by the dollar, seasons or the weather,” Sheppard said.

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