WHEATLAND – It’s simple. You dream a dream and you make it come true. And it’s the dream itself that drives you to create beauty out of simplicity.
Genia Vineyard, a cornhusker from Nebraska until fourth-grade when her family made the move to Wheatland where her grandparents owned a hotel in the area for many years. She is a graduate of Wheatland High School and is married with three children.
“I started a business quite a while ago, which was something similar to the business that I own now,” Vineyard said. “I ended up selling that business, but just couldn’t get out of it. It was what I loved to do, so approximately 16 years ago, I started ‘Simply Creative.’”
Vineyard started her Wheatland based business in a type of railroad car across from the railroad tracks in the downtown area, where she ran that initial store for approximately two years.
“It just had crafts, and I was just planning on being a seasonal store,” Vineyard said. “It was mainly just Christmas and I would give other crafters the opportunity to sell their wares and I would just hang out there. After the season was over, nobody would let me stop.”
People enjoyed the store so much that after two years, they begged her not to shut it down. The problem with creativity such as Vineyard has, is, it just keeps creating. The fresh creativity of the moments keep expanding and with expansion come growing pains and ofttimes decisions of great faith.
Vineyard, even in the startup had to take great leaps of faith. In the beginning she began with $500 in her pocket and a knapsack full of ideas that can be a challenge on a startup budget. After two years, the dreams just overwhelmed that small space, and she had to make some changes.
“I took a really deep breath,” she said, “and I bought 855 Gilchrist. I never dreamed it would turn into what it has turned into today.”
Something that you will not be able to pick up from a newspaper article or even a video is the scents that make up this eclectic shop. From the minute you walk in you notice an aroma that is for lack of a better word, something that smells like home. There is an aroma therapy added to the ambiance that blends well with the soothing jet tea smoothie you may find to drink at their coffee bar or the various signs with soothing sayings you may want to read as you browse.
They even have comfortable chairs for the husbands as the wives can lose themselves in the women’s boutique. Pencil in a good chunk of time for this store, though, as you may go through it every day for a year and still not be able to see all the wonders that is has to offer.
“We do get told that it smells so good in here, and that is because we have the best candles, the best flowers, and we have all the good stuff,” she said. “That’s what you’re smelling as you walk in through the door, and I’ve had people ask me, ‘which candle is that?’ I don’t believe it’s a candle, but I think it’s a combination of all the things that are involved when you walk in this building. I’ve had people who have worked for me tell me that when they got home, their husbands would say, ‘you smell like Simply Creative.”
Vineyard admits that she did not initially want to start a flower business, but when a local florist was going out of business, it just seemed like a right fit to add flowers to the mix. When Vineyard purchased the flower shop, she also got a flower cooler with the deal and a key florist who was an invaluable employee who not only knew the flower trade, but became an instructor to all the other staff members.
“Flowers express so many emotions,” Vineyard said. “They can help with sympathy, they can help with birthdays, they can help with new babies, and they can help the one in your life who is struggling and needs a little bit of a pick-me-up.”
Flowers are certainly not all that this shop has to offer. It is a women’s boutique; it sells everything from jewelry to purses and everything that you would need to accessorize the outfit that you would be able to find. It sells candies and coffees and snacks and crafts and to list the entire range of product this store has, the paper would not have any other stories in this week.
“We can sit here and talk about products all day long, but I’m going to tell you the real essence of my business,” she said. “We are here serving people through our products. You want to buy a sweater, yeah, I’m going to sell you a sweater, but if instead I can help you feel incredible in that sweater, that’s what my team is here for.”
The coronavirus that has hit many small businesses in Platte County has also hit Simply Creative. Other avenues are being created to provide the ability to shop through their website, call-in orders and curbside service. Although the hours of the staff had to be cut back, Vineyard is utilizing staff in new and creative ways to try to keep them working.
As for wisdom that Vineyard offers to get through this pandemic, she says, “I believe that this too shall pass. I think quicker and more efficiently we all work together, the quicker this is all going to go away. Reach out to your community. There are so many great programs and so many people in this town that have food programs and delivery services. People will help. I think we are extremely luck to be in a rural community right now where we can all band together and make things happen.”
And that is the essence of Vineyard herself. She is not just a dreamer, but a visionary who somehow finds a way to put the dreams into action. She is handling the care of people around her in a community that is struggling to stay afloat economically with the same tenacity that she used in creating an iconic retail shop. She comes up with ideas. Good ideas that are being used to get everyone through this.
Whether it’s her flower arrangements or organizing a countywide car cruise down main street, she is being herself and simply… being creative.
Although the shop has not been closed due to the restrictions dictated by the Wyoming State Health Department, they have voluntarily closed the front door to protect both customer and their employees. You can still call or go online to order clothing, flowers and so much more. The website link for Simply Creative is: https://www.shopsimplycreative.com/ and their phone number is (307) 322-0918.
Selected clips from the interview with Genia Vineyard can be seen on our weekly web-based television program, “Homespun” which will air May 6.