The spokeswoman for Sleep Country who has lived her “passion” with a home décor store in Buckley for 11 years may have to close Keepsakes.
“The economy has really hit our customers hard,” Jessica Teel said. “The store still has all the magic. But we’ve got customers who are still laid off.”
As a result, they need to buy essential items, such as toilet paper and milk. She admits she sells “frivolous” items.
“There’s not one thing in here that people need,” she said.
Maybe from a practical level, but from an emotional level?
“It’s wonderful, pretty, beautiful … People love to come here and lose themselves, escape from life,” she said.
She explained that her business is a meeting place where people sit and talk and laugh and cry.
“It empowers people to be in my little wonderland,” she said. “I’ve put my heart and soul into this.”
Teel was from Los Angeles originally and spent those days acting, modeling, working in commercials and becoming a makeup artist. But she moved north and was working “a regular job” when she joked once at lunch with her real estate agent that she wanted to “buy her own little place and do my own thing.”
The agent told her that a friend of hers was selling a shop in Buckley.
“Where are you taking me?” Teel said she asked on the long drive out here. But when she saw the business, “I fell in love.”
“It just kinda happened,” she said. “I didn’t know this is what I wanted.”
Teel was 25, “brave and fearless” and opened her own store, despite little business experience. An artist, she painted murals in LA and also likes to sculpt, create and sell. So she put her roots down in a place where she could display her artistic talents.
Teel said she’s seen a lot of stores come and go in Buckley. She was able to survive 9-11 when most other stores shut down, she said.
“We were small enough to fly under the radar,” Teel said, adding for a long time she had the only retail store in town. She said she actually thought of opening another store just to give people another reason to come to Buckley.
Teel is somewhat of a celebrity in town. Along with the Sleep Country TV ads she also has worked with Microsoft, Car Toys and Seattle Best coffee. She had a cameo appearance in the independent movie “Expiration Date.” Teel, whose daughter is following in her footsteps, sometimes can be seen signing autographs.
Teel said she is humbled with how the community has rallied once it heard about her store’s troubles. Supporters not only have gone to the media, they’ve even gone door to door with flyers.
“I didn’t expect it. It’s not their problem,” she said. “I guess they do need me.”