Barbara Turner and Virginia Patskowski visited new Sisters Cascade of Gifts owner Kara Lappe at her opening last week. photo provided
Barbara Turner and Virginia Patskowski visited new Sisters Cascade of Gifts owner Kara Lappe at her opening last week. photo provided

One of Sisters' most iconic businesses is under new ownership.

Kara Lappe wasn't necessarily looking for a business opportunity when she headed to Sisters with her husband.

"I was looking for land," she said, "because I've wanted to live here since I was a little kid. I ran across a store - completely unplanned!"

That store has been a fixture of downtown Sisters for decades; first under the long-time ownership of Barbara Turner (1980-2011), then in recent years with Virginia Patskowski (2011-2016).

Lappe knows that she is carrying on a beloved legacy - especially with the store's specialty fudge.

"It was the fudge business that really drove me," she told The Nugget last week.

Kara is an avid baker and loves to cater, and she sees opportunities with the fudge that has become a must-have destination item for tourists to Sisters.

"I'm sure that part of the business will grow," she said.

As all those who take on an iconic business must, Lappe is balancing tradition with some strategic changes. There's a new pet department with plush toys and organic treats - and a percentage of sales will benefit Furry Friends Foundation. There's a bar accessory area, and she's expanding the home-décor options. Other aspects of the store will remain the same.

"We still have Smokey (Bear)," she said with a smile.

Kara has more than operating "a cute, adorable store in a great area of town" in mind. She's plotting to get both of her sisters here.

"We are the three sisters and I'm trying to get all of the sisters here," she said. "That's my ultimate goal. I'm just the first one."

Kara grew up in Damascus and vacationed in Sisters as a child. For the past few years she and her husband have been living in California, and she's ready to get back to country living and horses - and her venerable-yet-new store.

The doors are open now, and a grand opening celebration will be held soon.

Sisters Cascade of Gifts is located at 150 W. Cascade Ave. in downtown Sisters.