Where we've come from and who we are becoming
Smile Herb Shop was founded in the early 1970’s by a woman affectionately known as “Sweet Cicely”. She was a bit of a wild woman and if you walk down the stairs in the building next door to the present Smile, you might find roots hanging from the ceiling, skulls tucked in among the herb jars, skins on the walls and a multitude of other natural wonders in her small two room shop. She shared her love of plants and the earth with all. A few of her early customers still shop at Smile Today.
In the spring of 1975, when current owner Tom Wolfe happened to walk in, she was itching to get back to the woods and out of doors. They struck up a friendship and eventually came to an agreement. Tom was soon left to run Smile for the summer. It was an exciting summer; he discovered a deep appreciation and love for the healing herbs. He was amazed to be able to cure a chronic cough by drinking yarrow tea. Duly impressed, he wanted to learn more.
Tom’s soon-to-be wife Linda was running the café down the street at the time and their relationship grew. By the fall of 1975, they decided to run Smile together.
When fall came and “Sweet Cicely” returned, Smile had flourished and she reached the conclusion that her first love was the out of doors. She offered to sell Smile to Tom for the sum of $1000 and the assumption of all debts. Alas Tom had no money at all. She said “Pay me later!” (Ironically, when he tried to pay her at a later date, she wouldn’t even take the money!)
Over the years several hundred different people have contributed their energy to help Smile become a leader in its field. Additional components have been added along the way. Many customers wanted to learn more about alternative health, so classes were begun that brought in different teachers on many subjects. In 1995, Leroy Wilton joined us to provide a garden business so people could experience firsthand the wonderful plants they had been using in dried form.
In 1995, the work of figuring out just what it was that energized the community of Smile was begun. Visioning sessions were held with a lot of good thoughts, hopes and dreams.
In the 1990’s and early 2000’s, the whole world of herbalism and alternative healing was changing. Smile has had to change as well, creating a website, joining social media sites, and starting a store-and-garden blog (we’re still working on that!). While we’ve joined the digital age, Smile continues to provide the one-on-one attention and focus on education and empowerment of staff and customers in a world that seems to be moving faster and faster every day.
Although we've been through many changes, we continue our focus on a thriving, healing community focused on the Green Angels, the herbs, and each other.
What will be the story of Smile in upcoming years? It will be up to everyone in the community to help answer that question. There is a great need for a more responsive, holistic and integrated approach to healthcare and Smile hopes to be able to effectively respond to those needs with the help of the many dedicated individuals who have gifts to give and work to do at Smile.