CARPIO What do three ladies with varying interests do? Open a store, of course.
Carrie Peterson, Donna Bryans and Kim Bloms not only partnered together to open a small store called "the Porch", they built it too! That's right. The three ladies can swing a hammer as well as they can grow vegetables and create unique and whimsical craft items.
"The three of us put it together," said Peterson when asked about the small red building housing a variety of homemade items. "We had the help of a contractor, but us three girls did all the building. We nailed every nail in the building. Our husbands helped with the roof and tin and ground work."
Carrie Peterson, Carpio, along with Donna Bryans and Kim Bloms, operate “the Porch”, where they sell a combination of crafts and garden vegetables. The Porch is located on U.S. Highway 52 one and one-half miles west of Carpio.
Amy Gerlofs, Carpio, purchases an item inside “the Porch”. The small store features a variety of items from crafts to canned goods.
The result was "the Porch" and it wasn't long before curious travelers on U.S. Highway 52 began to take notice. The Porch opened in 2013.
"We got the building together and just put out a sign and opened," laughed Peterson. "We got into it because I was into gardening, Donna and Kim were into crafts and coffee. Everything is homemade."
A few yards behind "the Porch" is a large garden, the source of fresh vegetables marketed to whomever pays a visit. Recently onions and beets were ready for sale but the garden also produces lettuce, peas, carrots, beans, tomatoes, potatoes and more.
"We have all the garden vegetables. We also have canned goods, salsa and spaghetti sauce," said Peterson.
The Porch is not just a farmer's market. Inside the building the walls, shelves and even the ceiling is loaded with a variety of craft items. Some of the items are made from wood taken from pallets.
"It's a neat form of a craft," remarked Peterson. "Kim and Donna make a lot of things out of pallets. There's never two of the same thing."
Tables, chairs and decorative signs are just a few of the unique craft items that can be found at "the Porch." There's plenty of seasonal items too, such as those with a Halloween, Thanksgiving or Christmas theme.
One by one, sometimes several at a time, vehicles turn of Highway 52 and stop at "the Porch". Every customer seems to have a different interest in mind. Many stop because they are simply curious about the little red building along the highway and then find their stop was worthwhile, often leaving with a few vegetables or a nifty craft item.
"There's a lot of people that stop off the highway," explained Peterson. "All of our neighbors to the west like Donnybrook, Kenmare, Powers Lake and Lignite are awesome customers. They stop a lot. Some are into canning or gardening or crafts. Everybody is just different. It depends on the day."
The Porch is open Tuesdays and Wednesdays only or by private appointment. Sometimes a sign on the door directs customers to check the nearby garden or make a call on their cell phone. Peterson lives on the property and is often tending to the lush garden a few steps away from the increasingly popular little red building constructed and operated by a trio of friends.
"It's kind of just for fun but there is a business side to it," said Peterson. "I've always wanted a Farmer's Market in my own back yard, so that's how it came to be."