BONNERS FERRY — A beautiful soul, a well known artist, a mother — Dorothy Smith inspired and shared a dream with her three daughters. Together, they wished to open an eclectic shop where people could come, shop and be inspired, filled with unique and affordable items.
For Smith, family and a passion for art was so important and it shows in the close-knit sisters, Kelly Wilson, Lisa Shelton and Debbie Wombacher.
In 2015, that dream became a reality with the Backstreet Market, located in the alley between the Post Office and Mi Pueblo Mexican Restaurant, selling their items once a month.
“Then we got more and more excited about it and wanted to do more,” said Wombacher.
The dream grew, but the three sisters had to move on without their inspiration, losing their mother to a battle with cancer. Although she is gone, her love of art lives on through her daughters, and on the walls of the fledgling business, now renamed “The Nest,” in the form of her oil paintings that grace the walls and watch over the family’s shared dream.
“We chose ‘The Nest’ name because it was a homey, secure, comfy kind of a name,” explained Wombacher. “Mom came up with the tag line: Inspiration for home and garden.”
With their amazing array of unique home and garden items, that spills from the still-life wood and stone setting inside the quaint shop, out into the alleyway, The Nest is making a name for itself. Despite the hideaway location, they have garnered regular customers, not just locally, but also from farther away, like Canada and Sandpoint.
“It’s fun to get discovered,” said Wombacher. “We’ve had some people come up from Sandpoint recently who were so happy to see this place, saying they didn’t have anything like this in Sandpoint.”
One enthusiastic regular customer is Jan Irving.
“I love shopping at the Nest!” she said. “Kelly and Lisa are fabulous to deal with on special orders and just all around great place to shop. I could go on and on about how much I love that business! They have really unique, one of a kind, merchandise and great ideas.”
All three sisters grew up in Bonners Ferry. Wombacher now resides in California, where she contributes to the business as a buyer, using her graphic arts background to choose beautiful new and antique items to bring back to The Nest.
Wilson and Shelton take those items, often old furniture that is still strong and in really good condition, that just needs the sister’s love to repurpose it. They look for the lines, the shape. They bring out the beauty through hard work and the use of Superior Paint. Co. chalk furniture paint, and transform it into a functioning showpiece.
True to their moniker, the sisters also want to inspire people through their work. They carry the paint that they use to refinish the furniture, so that customers may get ideas from what they have done, and create their own masterpieces.
Amongst the furniture is a wide array of products, more than would be expected in a shop with such a small footprint, yet it doesn’t feel cluttered thanks to the amazing attention to detail. “Some things are used and we bring life to it, and other things are new,” said Wilson. “We usually do our buying out of state, to bring new things to the community.”
They carry organic teas from the Flying Bird Botanicals. “They are made in Western Washington and they are all organic ingredients, and if they are not organic, then they are wildcrafted, picked from the wild,” stated Wilson. “It’s just an awesome tea line.”
Three artists have their unique works of art for sale through The Nest. Seamstress Marie DePue features handmade items such as pillows, runners, and tablecloths. Becki Mindem’s heartfelt signs line the shop, while Fiber Artist Melanie Grant showcases her fish and bird sachets, pouch purses, and coasters.
Shelton and Wilson run the shop, taking turns each week. “I enjoy the people,” said Shelton. “Everybody is so nice who comes in.” She especially enjoys the layout, putting things together and arranging them.
Among the many items are also soy based candles, made with essential oils, that have a great burn time. They also showcase jewelry, yarn, and much more. The Nest expresses a coziness that invites visitors to stay, to explore. The genuine love that the sisters feel toward their customers is evident, and welcoming.
“We just want people to feel happy when they come in here ... like an escape, you know?” said Wombacher.
The hidden gem that is The Nest may not stay hidden forever. Overcoming a tough location, their customer base is growing, thanks to their attention to detail and love shared, passed from mother to daughters, to customers who become friends.
Open Friday 9 a.m.- 5 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m.- 3 p.m.
For more information: 208-290-7491