Owner says costly county fees, deeming structure unsafe resulted in closure

After years selling fresh produce and flowers — along with hosting annual pumpkin patches and generally becoming part of the Sherwood community — Gramma’s Farm Store has shut down.

The iconic store, located at Roy Rogers and Scholls-Sherwood roads, is now closed until further notice. Most likely it won’t be current owners Nancy Brugato and her brother David Nemarnik who reopen, if that happens sometime in the future.

“We couldn’t be more thankful and appreciative to all of our wonderful customers we have been blessed to call our friends,” reads the store’s Facebook page. “We may consider re-opening in 2016 but nothing is definite.”

Brugato said it was a combination of both Washington County deeming the current structure “unsafe” as well as the county’s new occupancy fee (which would have cost them $30,000) that forced them to shutter their store.

“We didn’t want to sink any more money into it,” said Brugato. “We’ll sit back and figure out what happens this year.”

Brugato and Nemarnik took over the building three years ago from the Schlichting family, who owns the Oregon Century Farm.

Brugato said the name Gramma’s was a nod to Dorothy Schlichting, the elderly matriarch of the Schlichting family who passed away the same year the store opened.

Brugato, who has spent many years around wholesale produce, said the farm grew most of the items they sold. She and her brother leased 70 acres to grow their fruit, flowers and vegatables.

“I only (carried) what was good,” she said, about the store’s stock. That included strawberries, Marion berries, blackberries and tomatoes. Of course the pineapples and avocados didn’t come from around here but Brugato said they made sure they catered to the needs of their customers.

The sweet corn was a Brentwood variety, a seed that costs a little more and yields a little less but produces a superior corn, Brugato said.

“It’s very sweet and very tender,” she said. “Oh, we grew the best corn.”

The pair would also grow thousands of pumpkins on-site.

Brugato said not only did the store have the produce they were so well-known for but sold products on consignment as well.

Those included such items as quirky wooden signs crafted by a 94-year-old area resident who inscribed such adages as: “Bad Decisions Make Good Stories” and “Wine is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.”

Over the years, Brugato and Nemarnik (her brother owns the 78-acre Alloro Vineyard off of LeBeau Road) have made numerous improvements to the site. Among those were paving the once dirt floor, installing new ceilings and adding five large roll-up overhead doors.

Meanwhile, Brugato said she was pleased with the support the community showed for the farm store over the years.

“Sherwood is a great community,” she said, adding that they had one of their busiest summers ever.

From Feb 27 through March 1, the store owners held a huge sale, unloading shopping baskets, coolers, an ice cream machine and the store’s cash registers.

The products went fast.

“We had a trebuchet,” she said referring to a device similar to a catapult that they once used to send produce airborne. “We used pumpkins. We used squash; pretty much anything you could launch.”

The device, which is more dangerous and powerful than a catapult, was donated to a search and rescue group, for them to use for fund-raising projects.

They also sold the large slingshots customers would use to shoot produce at old buses parked in the farm fields.

While they are shut down for now, Brugato points out, “You never know what will happen.”

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