Community Futures Sagehill

515 Mayer Street, Bruno, SK - Phone: (306) 369-2610

Sarah and Lorre Ethier, Tree House Treasures

  • Sagehill Success Stories

     Before purchasing Tree House Treasures in November 2019 with her husband, Sarah Ethier was a customer of former owners Blake and Darlene Peters.

     And when the Peters’ wanted to retire, Sarah, who has always been entrepreneurial-minded, and her husband Lorre Ethier, who is creatively-minded, knew that Tree House Treasures was right for them.

     “We were just looking at different avenues, looking to do our own thing and not have to go to a nine to five every day. And it just all fell into place.”

     Sarah and Lorre inherited a lot of great wholesalers with the purchase of their new St. Benedict business and carry different kinds of gift and craft ware, including ladies’ handbags, hoodies, shoes, candles, lotions, and a whole lot more.

     Working with Sagehill Community Futures to own their new business made everything flow, says Sarah. Before they even took over Tree House Treasures, Sagehill knew the business, says Lorre. Even in a Saskatchewan village of 84 people, Sagehill saw the potential of the business and of Sarah and Lorre, when others didn’t, says Lorre.

     When an entrepreneur is taking over a pre-existing business, building relationships, with both customers and wholesalers is a big part of their success, says Sarah.

     Within a few months of speaking with the Peters’, the store was theirs and within a few months of that, Sarah and Lorre were dealing with a global pandemic and adapting their business to public health restrictions. Part of that was moving their products online while still maintaining the strong presence the Peters’ built in the community and beyond, says Sarah.

     “Blake and Darlene built this business up so well that if it wouldn't have been for them and their customer base and the friendships that they had built with people, we may not have succeeded the way we did.”

     While obviously the pandemic isn’t over, says Lorre, he and Sarah are proud of how their business has survived so far.

     Purchasing the home next door, which was also owned by the Peters’, has made things easier for Sarah and Lorre, considering they are able to keep their family life stable while continuing to build the business. During the pandemic, their boys are more than willing to help out with customers, says Sarah.

     “Our oldest one, I've caught him. He'll grab a bag for a lady and hold the door if he's in here talking to me. And I don't have to even ask.”

     Especially as the kids get older, Lorre is excited to make them more a part of the store, he says, especially after COVID-19 is gone.

     As well as Sagehill and customers across the province, Sarah has taken a lot of business advice and support from her parents. Growing up, she was learning business skills without really realizing it, she says. By the time Sarah was in a Grade 11 business class, she knew she was going to open her own business one day.

     “My dad always said to find a job you love doing because you work three-quarters of your life. You should love doing it.”

     As a red seal welder, Lorre looks at items in different stores, including his own, and sees how he could make it himself. Lorre’s hands on approach and Sarah’s entrepreneurial mindset make for a great team.

     Within the next few years, Sarah and Lorre say a new addition to the store will be a workshop for Lorre to create their own line of giftware. With the pandemic creating some challenges, that dream has been pushed back somewhat but is still there for Sarah and Lorre.