Business & Development, Creswell

Farmlands Market facilitates circle of giving

Jessica Landstra stands in front of her business Farmlands Market, which opened June 30, 2014, as a response to Creswell not having a chain grocery store. Landstra started the business when she was 20 years old. ALIYA HALL/THE CRESWELL CHRONICLE

When Jessica Landstra was 20 years old, she filled a void in the community by establishing the Farmlands Market. Although she said the job started accidentally, she has grown it exponentially since it started.
After Mayor Dave Stram informed Creswell Residents that the population wasn’t substantial enough to attract chain grocers, Landstra talked with her father and his boss – who had been buying product from closing Rays stores – about getting more product and creating a store for Creswell.
It started with the cooler, and slowly other products accumulated. Landstra said at first there was Bigfoot Drinks and Charlie’s produce, but the shelves were bare.
Landstra took the profit that was made and put it back into the store, using it to buy more product and ultimately grow it. Now, four years later the shelves are stocked and a deli has been added.
For an average day, Landstra works around 12 hours. She starts at 6 a.m. and the earliest she leaves is 4:30 p.m. She counts deposits, manages deliveries, writes orders, drives to pick up product and goes to the bank, and after everything that needs to get done is finished, she works on business development.
”With whatever is left of my time I try to educate myself,” she said. ”I read books about business. I dropped out of college twice; I’m not educated, I’m just working hard and guessing here.”
She works five hours on Saturdays, and while she tries to take every Sunday off, it generally turns out to be every other Sunday.
”I grew up working, work was always a thing,” she said.
One of the biggest challenges for Landstra has been with employees, of which she has 10 now.
”I’m wanting to build a relationship with them, but I can’t make them my best friend. There has to be a business relationships,” she said.
Another struggle is always trying to stay ahead of the game, while also accepting where she is now.
”You’re working on stuff today that you couldn’t predict, and then you’re planning for two years down the road,” she said. ”Especially with the pressure I have to grow, it’s huge. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t hear Creswell needs a bigger store, and I agree. That would be awesome, but I’m 24 and can’t go out and get a huge loan.”
Farmlands Market works with multiple distributors, like Franz, Bigfoot, Columbia Distributing and Super Value. Landstra also works on getting as much local products, like wine and produce, as she can to meet Creswell’s varied demand.
”Creswell is a small, but diverse community,” she said. ”(The products) are a balance of local, good and affordable. We have the hungry man and the people who want to make amazing dinner dishes.”
When she first started, Landstra took customer requests to get an idea of what the community needed. She said that willingness to help support her is one of the many reasons she wants to give back to the community.
Farmlands Market donated food to the local food pantry when their supplies were low, sparking a food drive that other businesses followed suit in. Landstra will also give money to children for sports uniforms or food if they come in and talk with her.
”Seeing kids come in and ask me for something, coming in with their piece of paper and giving me a spiel, that’s hard. That’s hard for anyone, but especially as a kid,” she said. ”If they can stand there and give me the rundown and I can do it, yes. That’s a huge thing. Kids need to know how to do that and should be rewarded for that.”
For Landstra, the community has always been there, and her family has always been an integral part of Creswell; her parents helped form the 4th of July parade and her father volunteered with the fire department for 30 years.
”Somehow I carved a large space for myself in this community and people respect what I do,” she said. ”If I take the leap (in giving), people also will too. That’s a big deal to lead something like that. Our community helps out our community; it’s give, give, give.”
Farmlands Market
204 W. Oregon Ave.
Monday to Saturday 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.



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