While Newberg, Oregon is considered a small town (its population hovers at around 20,000), the community is a mixture of urban sensibilities, agricultural roots, and faith-based heritage. Newberg was the first community in Oregon to hold Quaker services. George Fox University (originally known as the Friends Pacific Academy) was founded by the Quakers in 1885. Newberg incorporated at the same time the town’s newspaper (The Newberg Graphic) fired up its printing press in 1889.
In recent years, Newberg has become a destination for Oregon’s wine country travelers. As a result, boutique-styled establishments have become close neighbors with historic buildings and farm-to-table producers.
Attorney Dean Werst, owner of Yamhills Gallery, has observed Newberg’s shift from a town that people bypassed on their way elsewhere, into a niche destination.
“There are approximately 120 vineyards in our area,” said Werst. “The vineyards are absolutely stunningly beautiful—they’re a bigger draw than those located in Europe. It’s something that Newberg and Yamhill County are known for around the world.”
“Cameras were popular in the late 70s,” said Werst. “But I really wanted to invest in a business that supported Oregon artisans.
“I was open to showing local art, and my wife and I had contacts, so the Yamhills Gallery fell into place. We started by showing paintings and other wall art, but quickly picked up pottery, turned wood and other tactile pieces. However, I knew we wouldn’t survive in a retail business if we didn’t have something for the traveler—we needed to carry gift items and smaller pieces of art that were affordable.”
Dark chocolate, wine and shopping just for you
Today, Yamhills Gallery offers 30 different categories of goods—from jewelry, candy and books to gourmet food items and Pendleton blankets. “We even carry Dansko shoes,” said Werst. “All of our goods are very high quality, including our Oregon and Northwest produced crafts. Rather than jury every selection, we know that companies like Seattle’s Glass Eye Studios and Portland’s Moonstruck Chocolates produce superior products that people enjoy and trust.”
Werst compares his shop to a mini high-end department store. “The gourmet food category is impressive,” said Werst. “We also stock items that pair well with wines produced by local vintners. We carry beautiful wine glasses and of course, dark chocolate. We’ve held wine tasting events where we serve locally produced dark chocolates and truffles or sea salted caramels.”
Yamhills employee Kristi Peterson helps run the gallery’s concierge shopping service. For those too busy on the wine trail or perhaps enjoying the nearby luxury Allison spa and hotel, Peterson et al will help travelers select gifts of jewelry, art, clothing, or wine. The concierge staff will send phone shoppers a text image of their gift so they may see it before it is gift-wrapped.
If you go
Yamhills Gallery is open seven days per week, although hours vary by weekend and weekday, so check the gallery website at www.yamhillsgallery.com. Dean manages to work the store on weekends, though he still practices law full time. Dean’s wife Jean, tends the gallery Monday through Friday, along with Peterson. For concierge services, telephone the staff at 503-538-1311, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The gallery is located at 901 N. Brutscher St. Suite F, Newberg, Oregon, 97132.