A 45-year-old business has been reborn in Lebanon.
Exclamation Point, a specialty shop for needlepoint, embroidery, counted cross stitch, knitting and crocheting supplies, celebrated its grand opening on March 1.
The original owners founded the business in the mid-1970s in Los Gatos, Calif. Owner Melanie Vancil acquired the business in 2011 and operated it in Santa Clara, Calif., through 2016.
She temporarily closed the business because she and her husband, Lloyd, were planning their move to Oregon.
Lloyd Vancil had worked for 20 years as a system administrator for Apple and was nearing retirement. The company granted him permission to work remotely for his last couple of years and they began looking for a new home.
They initially considered moving to Portland, but after visiting found it wasn't a good fit. Traveling down the Willamette Valley, they began to feel more at home. The Vancils looked at almost two dozen properties from Eugene to Dallas before settling on Lebanon.
"We see this house and said 'it is perfect,'" Melanie Vancil said.
They bought the home in May 2017 and began considering how to reopen the business. There were not able to locate a commercial space which they felt was a good value and turned to the unattached apartment which is located on the property.
This building is about 900 square feet and is intended as a guest suite. Melanie Vancil said when she first contacted the city she was told it could not be used for commercial purposes.
But when she revisited the issue with a city staff member sometime later, she discovered it was possible as long as certain conditions were met. The Vancils spent the last six months getting the space ready to serve as a business and opened their doors this month.
"Thank God we weren't paying rent," she joked.
The space is filled with materials, idea books and finished products. Vancil has all of the basic supplies for each craft as well as a wide range of specialty yarns and threads.
"I carry really special threads," Vancil said.
Every member of the family is involved in the business. Lloyd serves as the tech support and Jennifer Vancil, their oldest daughter, manages the company website. Their son, Scott Vancil, designed the company's logo.
Heather, their younger daughter, served as the store manager when the business was located in Santa Clara, and is expected to take up that position again when she moves to Lebanon this summer.
That will free up Melanie Vancil to teach classes. She is a qualified instructor in needlepoint, embroidery, counted cross stitch, knitting and crocheting. She will be available to teach classes in these arts for students of all ages.
She thinks Lebanon is an ideal location for her shop. The city does not have any chain craft supply shops and there are few other options nearby.
"People enjoy doing handcrafts, all different kinds of handcrafts. I know that some of the community is extremely interested in needle arts, a variety of needle arts. I figured that since the nearest needlepoint shop was one in Eugene and one or two in Portland, this would be a really good central point for all the surrounding communities to be able to provide them with exactly what they are wanting," Vancil said.