P.O. Box 266
1833 Park Lane
Burlington, WA 98233
Office: (360) 757-6053 / Fax: (360) 757-4143
Submitted by Mark Hicks & Wendy Lockard, Oak Harbor Country Store
May 4, 2017 – On the eve of Monday, March 6 the historic Smith Barn in Coupeville burned to the ground in less than 20 minutes. Georgie Smith, a fourth-generation Whidbey Island farmer, lost almost every asset she had invested into Willowood Farm. The loss included five tractors, a backhoe, a combine, and a customized, refrigerated delivery van she had just paid off.
Also gone were her tools, two walk-in coolers, her father’s old Peterbilt truck, two 19th century wagons stored in the attic, seed stock for more than 200 different varieties of vegetables she was preparing to plant, and around $15,000 worth of dry beans, including her trademark Rockwell variety.
Oak Harbor employees Wendy Lockard, Ashley Wolverton, and Shannon Bly wasted no time in brainstorming ways to build and execute a silent auction to help get Willowood Farm back up and running. It took them a week to plan, another week to set up, and two weeks to collect the funds.
Wendy, Ashley, and Shannon reached out to local businesses and members of Whidbey Island Rocks to gather donations. A total of 56 items were gathered, including 21 painted rocks by various local artists, 12 amazing gift baskets from Lavender Wind Farm, 3 Sisters Family Farm, SeaBear, and Skagit Farmers Supply. Also donated were two gorgeous furniture items, one eight-person Farm Dinner by local farmers, and six flower flats from Joe’s Gardens and Thompson’s Nursery.
Michelle Schell and Selene Muldowney in marketing created a wonderful advertising flyer and spread the word throughout social media channels, while the entire Oak Harbor staff engaged customers with information about the auction and helped pass out the flyers.
Wendy worked diligently to contact the winners, obtain their donations and hand over the prizes.
The silent auction raised $4,474 not including a very generous donation of $1,000 by Skagit Farmers Supply. The grand total of $5,474 was donated to Willowood Farms and its future on Whidbey Island. A big thank you to all who were involved in this effort to help a community farm in need!
*Thank you to Ron Newberry of the Whidbey News-Times for fire details.