“Amazing transformation. Unbelievable. Beautiful.”
Those are just a few of the things visitors to the new Juxtaposition shop in downtown Camas were overheard saying last Friday, during the furniture and home decor store’s soft opening on Feb. 28.
Indeed, shop owner Suzanne Ferguson has utterly transformed the former Post-Record newspaper office, located at 425 N.E. Fourth Ave., in the heart of historic Camas.
Inside a space that once housed a newspaper press is a luxurious bedroom set. A former photography darkroom now shows off an exposed brick wall and shelves filled with glossy tableware. In the old newsroom, living room sets promise beauty and comfort.
Of course, the transformation didn’t happen overnight, and it wasn’t without plenty of sweat equity and sleepless nights on Ferguson’s part. In fact, in the days leading up to her new store’s soft opening, Ferguson said she could no longer see if her carefully planned designs and merchandise selections looked OK or not.
“I had been in the trenches so long, I just couldn’t see it anymore,” Ferguson said recently.
It was only after a friend came in and photographed the new shop that Ferguson could sit back and admire what she’d accomplished.
Ferguson has been working for several months, preparing to open her new furniture-home decor shop, which will have a ribbon-cutting event at 5:30 p.m. Friday, March 6, during the Downtown Camas Association’s First Friday shindig and a grand opening celebration in mid-March.
“I started thinking about this last spring,” Ferguson said. “It seemed like a good time to do something for myself.”
Ferguson already had plenty of business experience, having earned her master’s degree in business, run R3 Retail Development with her husband, Rick, since 2003 and given plenty of business advice to entrepreneurs throughout the years. More recently, Ferguson had found her creative side and was creating artwork, which she sold at a Vancouver vintage mall.
But, in the spring of 2019, Ferguson felt ready to expand her world.
“I wanted to do something that would bring me joy,” she said.
The result is Juxtaposition, a store specializing in unique furniture and home decor with an emphasis on products that are made in the United States and/or produced using environmentally friendly building methods or materials.
The shop’s line of richly colored American Leather couches and chairs, for instance, are crafted by a Texas-based company — a founding member of the Sustainable Furniture Council — which has developed green building practices that include using wood harvested from sustainable forests and leathers that incorporate water-based pigments, as well as reusing or recycling all of its scrap material.
Throws from a woman-owned company called In2Green also are made in the U.S. and use yarns made from recycled T-shirt fabric that keeps materials out of the landfill and requires no cotton dyes or chemicals.
Ferguson is excited when she talks about the people and companies she’s discovered since Juxtaposition became her new reality: the Portuguese company that turns recycled dinner plates into gorgeous stoneware; the woman from Guatemala who employs dozens of women from her village in her environmentally conscious textiles company; the local artists, including two Portland makers and Camas artist Elida Field who will show their work at Juxtaposition.
Ferguson’s love of the arts is apparent — in the way she’s decorated her new store, the artwork she chose to sell and in her description of Juxtaposition as a place to find “art inspired Northwest living.”
Her love of the arts is something she hopes to give back to the community. In fact, she has already established a separate account, where 1 percent of all Juxtaposition sales will flow into a fund to help local youth access the arts in and around Camas. The money could go toward scholarships or help pay for arts programs for lower-income Camas students.
Ferguson said she also looks forward to keeping her new shop open a bit later in the evening than most retailers in downtown Camas to take advantage of the dinner crowds and participate in the art-heavy First Friday events sponsored by the Downtown Camas Association.
Juxtaposition will be open during the March 6 “Go Green” First Friday celebration in downtown Camas, and will offer 10 percent off certain “green” or eco-friendly items.
Ferguson said she has had fun pulling her new shop together and finding an assortment of higher end furniture to mix with mid-range and more affordable home decor and gifts.
“We’ve been very deliberate in what we have … even the coffee we serve and the paper that goes into the bags,” Ferguson said, pointing out the “extra care” details she hopes will make Juxtaposition stand out.
“I want this to be a good experience for our shoppers,” she said. “A cool and inviting place people enjoy coming into.”
Juxtaposition is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturdays, and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays.
For more information, visit artfuljuxtaposition.com.