Patti Jo Beal has a genuine interest in people - which makes her a natural for a position as an advertising representative with The Nugget. She's been at it for just short of two months now, and she's enjoying the interaction with customers and clients.

"I love people's stories," she says. "I chat people up in the grocery store."

Beal managed Old West Collectibles in Sisters for four-and-a-half years until owner Len Gratteri died in 2016 after a long battle with Parkinson's Disease. Beal loved the work, which combined her passion for antiques and Western heritage with the opportunity to hear fascinating stories from her customers.

"I loved the history, loved the connections," she recalled.

"Old West Collectibles was one of my favorite places in Sisters," said Nugget editor-in-chief Jim Cornelius. "I knew Patti Jo from the store and was always impressed by how genuinely interested she was in her clients. When she applied for the position at The Nugget, I knew that she would be great at establishing relationships with our advertisers - which is the key to everything."

Beal knows first-hand the challenges faced by shop-keepers and business owners in Sisters, and she brings that experience and her natural empathy to bear in helping clients craft effective marketing for their businesses.

Beal takes her preferred title of "community marketing partner" seriously.

"I want the people who say they shop local to shop local," she says. "And I want to help businesses to succeed, to bring people through their doors. If they succeed, I succeed. And it feel good to see people be successful."

Beal has spent most of her working life in various retail capacities, and she saw the sales position at The Nugget as an opportunity to make a change and to serve the community she calls home, even though she lives in Redmond.

"I honestly always loved The Nugget," she said. "I love the community and I wanted to be out in the community."

She notes that being in retail leaves you "strapped to your store 10 to 5," and she's relishing the opportunity to get out and discover more of Sisters.

"It's nice to get out and go into the shops and discover the amazing boutique-style shops we have," she says.

The job has its challenges.

"Who knew there'd be so much paperwork?" she said with a rueful laugh.

But Beal likes her work environment.

"What I love most, and what I tell people is how awesome the staff is, and how supportive."

Patti Jo recalls being drawn to history and to antiques since she was just a girl. In recent years, her interest in history has led her into the field of Civil War reenactment. She participates in the reenactment staged the third weekend of May every year at Metolius Meadows, and she plans to do several events this summer.

She described a powerful sense of frisson getting out of her car and looking down on the encampment at Metolius Meadows her first year there. A Confederate battle line was moving into position, fife and drums beating the tattoo.

"I got goosebumps," she recalled. "And I got teary. I got a sense... for the first time I got the sense of what it must have been like. I was surprised at the emotional impact it had on me."

In addition to reenacting, Beal continues to sell antiques, and enjoys hiking and fishing.

And if you've got an interesting story to tell, she wants to hear it...