Thank you, Denise!
Three Sisters of Clallam Healing Arts Center and Gallery
The Northwest Coast, Washington State: The communities of Clallam Bay and Sekiu, along with the Makah Nation in Neah Bay, make up the Norhtwest Coast of the Olympic Peninsula in Washinton State. It's a remote and stunningly beautiful area whose residents are economically challenged by changes in the logging and fishing industries.
Entrepreneurs, Sisters and Partners: As often as not, the first question that pops up when people first meet Susan and Diana, co-owners of Three Sisters of Clallam, is: There are two of you-what's with the name? "The inspiration for our name was the Three Sisters of Sekiu (an ancient rock formation that defined the neighboring community of Sekiu from its earliest years)," They explained. "We have lots of women in our family and whatever woman we're working with-that's our sister."
The Goplen women have built a business space in the small coastal community of Clallam Bay, Washington that is part art gallery, part massage practice and entirely original and personal. Three Sisters of Clallam is a large, airy building with wooden floors, arches and a vintage chandelier in the main gallery. A spectacular room divider is actually a huge slice of root base-polished into gleaming artwork-that provides a link to the community's logging history. Diana's massage business fills one elegant room and small spaces throughout the facility are becoming business ventures by others in this tiny hamlet.
"We wanted a place that was centered on healing, wellness and art." Sue said. "We wanted it to be organic and relaxing-always evolving and changing. We're thinking about adding a caf'e and a spa and maybe a hostel in the future." Diana added, "This business was and is a step of faith."
One thing you notice when you meet Susan and Diana is that they sound exactly alike and tend to talk as much to each other as to you. These two sisters have expanded the bond of family into a business partnership that seems to be thriving. "We've grown a lot through this process." Sue explained, "When you are sisters and become business partners, you bring a lot of baggage with you. We had to change the way we worked together. Diana said, "We learned to talk about our fears as well as our hopes."
Local residents of the Norhtwest Coast work hard together to keep businesses afloat and when the gallery opened its doors the community responded. Time, energy and artifacts were donated and the sisters agree that "People have really helped us with the process and shown us how to evolve."
The gallery complex opened in May of 2007. Almost a year later is there anything the two entrpreneurs would do differently if they could? Sue reflected, "We'd have more of a business plan to help us work together." Diana added, "That and a bigger woodstove!"