While enjoying the scenery and recognizing the many wild ferns along hiking trails in Kauai, Deanna Gaines came up with the name for her new apparel shop: Wild Fern.
Gaines opened the shop in June of 2016, after nearly a year of pondering what she could do to bring a new vibe to Main Street.
“I wanted more to do in the neighborhood, as I live close by, walk and bike in uptown and downtown,” Gaines said. “My purpose was to extend the visiting time that folks have over here on Main Street. You can only eat and drink for a certain amount of time, so adding retail to the mix was a no-brainer.”
The store initially started by selling women’s apparel, handbags and jewelry from local artists. Now, Wild Fern has added a men’s apparel section as well as local apothecary and gift items.
“Our styles, prints and fabrics are unique and on trend,” Gaines said. “We have picked up sought-after brands such as Free People, Pendleton, Betsy & Iya and Brixton along the way. We have bestselling candles and mix textiles from LA and Pendleton wool as well.”
When asked why she believes her store is succeeding in the community, Gaines shares that her joy in owning the business is rooted in being in the heart of town and talking with people from all walks of life.
“We are happy to be here, and I believe it shows,” she said. “We love our neighbors, the kids and dogs, and we’ve made it stroller friendly. We also are happy to donate to our local schools and outreach programs.”
Wild Fern employs three people and most of them live nearby and are in touch with what’s happening in the neighborhood.
“Our employees are also artists themselves and have the opportunity to share their business with customers and express their creativity in the store,” Gaines said. “We are all friends here, we have fun, and we are kind and compassionate people who love clothes and our neighborhood.”
To help build customer loyalty and to stimulate the local economy, Wild Fern offers a neighborhood discount.
“Many of our brands are found in Portland, so we give a neighborhood discount when you work or live in the surrounding neighborhoods,” Gaines said. “We want folks to buy in town and spend less time driving to Portland. Many of our customers visit the Farmers Market, walk up to Wild Fern and then walk home.”
The new waterfront development project is something that Gaines recognizes will change the downtown business landscape. She said that even though working in a new building in a hot location sounds appealing, she loves Wild Fern’s current location and the old building that they’re in.
“We don’t plan to move from our location even though the waterfront project sounds appealing,” she said. “The price on the new development is hard to chew at this point. I would like shoppers to know that we are investors in our community first, not real estate investors. Having said this, we’ll stay nestled into our neighborhood for now and hope to see continued local events and wonderful surprises in Clark County as it grows.”
Wild Fern is located at 2106 Main St., Vancouver.