February 15, 2012
Like many small business owners, Caren Barber works long hours and draws on a lifetime of experiences to better serve her customers.
“It’s a lot of fun but it’s a lot of hard work,” Caren said. “As a small business owner, there is no end to the day.”
Caren, her husband, Dave Barber, and her father, Richard Conrad, moved from Port Angeles to Colfax about a year and a half ago. Caren said she and Dave were ready for a change.
“My husband was robbed on a Monday, and his mother passed away on Sunday of the same week,” Caren said. “It was one of those things where it was time. We said, ‘let’s get outta here’.”
Caren’s daughter, Heidi Brincken, had opened The Quilted Moose in Colfax and wanted Caren to join her in the business. They are co-owners of the sewing specialty shop. Not only do they run the day-to-day business, but also make many of the items on display. Caren and Heidi used to teach many of the classes, but Caren said they ran out of hours in the day and now bring in instructors.
“We want a place for women to come and spend time together,” Caren said. “That’s why we have a lot of clubs, so people can get together. It’s not just a place to buy sewing stuff.”
A retired health-care administrator, she has found her experience aids her in many aspects of running their business. Caren said her biggest challenge is technology.
Caren credits the many people who help keep The Quilted Moose going. The Hen House Chicks, Nancy and Sandra Cochran, bring in items from estate sales and help to decorate the business. Caren and Heidi are often asked by customers if they will help decorate their homes.
Caren’s husband and father are both retired from the military. Caren recalls a time when her husband was on a short training mission aboard the USS Nimitz. She had not heard from him for over a week and was concerned the Nimitz was no longer in San Diego. She returned home from work and turned on the news to see a report from the Persian Gulf with the carrier passing behind the camera.
When Caren was 37, she suffered a stroke. The Navy didn’t release her husband from the Gulf duty for three months, so her daughter, Heidi, cared for her. Now, Caren is able to lend her support, time and talents to Heidi.
“It’s my military experiences that have taught me how to just roll with it,” Caren said with a laugh.
Although business has slowed due to the down economy, Caren and Heidi have been able to “roll with it.” Caren is passionate about small businesses in Colfax. She said they do all they can to provide for their customers. She said the Internet is their biggest competitor.
“Unless communities support their local businesses, we will all go under,” Caren said. “We try to keep our prices as low as possible, but Internet companies can buy in bulk. More people need to support our small towns or they will dry up.”
1 cup shortening (half margarine, half Crisco)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 white sugar
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups cake flour
Cream shortening and sugar together. Add egg yolk and vanilla. Stir in 2 cups cake flour (to make cake flour, take out 2 tablespoons flour and add 2 tablespoons cornstarch). Grease a large cookie sheet that has sides.
With floured fingers, press dough evenly onto cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees on the middle rack for 15 minutes.
While it bakes, melt 10 ounces of Hershey bars in a double-broiler. When toffee squares are done, spread melted chocolate on top. While still hot, sprinkle with toasted, sliced almonds or walnuts. Cut into squares. Cool. Store between layers of waxed paper.
4 1/2 cups sugar
1 can Carnation evaporated milk
1/2 pound butter
1 bag regular marshmallows, or jar of marshmallow cream
3 packages chocolate chips (5 to 6 cups)
1 teaspoon vanilla
Combine sugar, milk and butter. Cook and stir to a boil. Cook 10 more minutes. Add marshmallows, or marshmallow cream, chocolate chips and vanilla. Stir and pour into buttered 13X9-inch oblong pan. Refrigerate.
1 cup shortening
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups pumpkin
4 cups flour (approximately)
1 teaspoon each cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves
1/2 cup dates
1/2 cup nut meats
Cream shortening and sugar together. Add eggs and pumpkin. Beat together. Add flour and spices. Mix well. Add dates and nut meats. Stir.
Drop by rounded teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly brown.
12 ounces veggie noodles, cooked and drained
Large can olives, sliced
Red or yellow sweet peppers
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons parsley
3 or 4 shakes of crushed red pepper
3 or 4 shakes of sweet basil
Red or white onion, sliced
Mix above ingredients together. Set aside.
Mix in a bowl:
1 cup vinegar
11/4 cups oil
2/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons garlic powder
Pour mixture over noodles and veggies. Mix well. Sprinkle a little parmesan cheese on top.
Honey Popcorn Balls
1 cup honey
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup water
2 tablespoons butter
3 quarts popped corn
Combine honey, sugar, water and butter. Cook and stir to a medium crackle. (Test by dropping a few drops of mixture into cold water. If mixture breaks like glass, it’s ready to pour over popcorn.) Salt to taste.