Parkdale shop features local artists
Story and photos by Drew Myron
What’s growing in Parkdale? The answer is Lady Fern. Not the common leafy plant, but the one-of-a-kind shop.
Lady Fern is the town’s only retail shop, operating with a mission to bring people together by shining a light on local creativity.
Located in downtown Parkdale, Lady Fern features a rotating collection of wares crafted by artists from the Columbia Gorge.
“Everything is local,” says Brooke Yokers, the art-loving entrepreneur who opened Lady Fern in June 2019. “Most everything is from Hood River and Parkdale artists. There’s so much creativity here!”
A combination gift shop, art boutique and artist cooperative, Lady Fern represents more than 25 professional artists working in a variety of forms: from painting to pottery, jewelry to furniture, clothing to coffee and woodwork to books.
Thanks to Brooke’s artful curation, each piece is in constant rotation and artistically displayed in the shop’s bright and airy setting. Necklaces drape from vintage books, irreverent undies fill a shelf, a stained-glass skull hangs in a bright window and twinkle lights line the walls.
“I like creating spaces,” Brooke says. “This space is my art. I think artists have the tendency to not recognize their worth, and a lot of times they are not good salespeople. I like talking and getting to know people, and I make people comfortable. I felt like we needed a place in Parkdale that allowed an outlet for creativity.”
Housed in the historic Parkdale Grange, tucked between Solera Brewery and the Hutson Museum, the space previously hosted a bike shop, a snowboard shop, a grocery store, and pool hall.
In the summer, this hamlet of 300 residents is flush with tourists visiting the Columbia River Gorge.
“We get this crazy amount of traffic, and there was no little shop to walk around and admire,” Brooke says.
She says the real traffic comes from year-round locals and those with second homes in the Hood River Valley.
“It’s a nice way for people to connect to the area,” she says. “Shopping here is like buying from your friends and neighbors. It’s a nice hub.”
Brooke, 30, is from Kent, Washington. She attended Seattle Pacific University as a soccer star. In 2014, she moved to the Columbia Gorge and met her soon-to-be partner, Paul Spaulding. The two traveled for a bit before returning to Parkdale in 2016, where they now raise their 4-year- old daughter, Mable.
The hardworking couple juggle a full life. Along with running Lady Fern, Brooke works as a bartender at Solera Brewery in Parkdale and at Double Mountain Brewery in Hood River. Paul works as a cook at Broder Ost in Hood River.
“I like being busy,” says Brooke. “I like having all these micro-communities that I can gather together.”
To that end, Lady Fern has established itself as a hub, hosting events such as Meet the Makers—an artist meet-and-greet— and Mommomsocial, a Parkdale mom meetup.
Brooke hopes to offer workshops and art events, and locals seem eager to take part.
“I have seen several businesses come and go,” says Jordan Kim, an artist who has lived in Parkdale 15 years. “Like any small town, it can be hard to survive the ebbs and flows of the seasons and traffic flow. Lady Fern hasn’t even been in Parkdale a year, and already it’s become a staple. Because it is a beautifully curated mix of regional artisans’ products, locals feel a lot of buy-in and ownership in the shop. Brooke has added creative touches and aesthetic senses to the space which has beautified the community as well. She has brought love, charisma and a breath of creative energy to our sweet little town.”
Lady Fern is in downtown Parkdale at 4959 Baseline Drive. Winter hours are Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Summer hours are Thursday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call (253) 486-9366 or follow Lady Fern Parkdale on Instagram @ladyfernparkdale, and on Facebook.