June 18th, 2021

Left By West Opens in McMinnville’s Historic Downtown District

As McMinnville’s downtown district springs back to life, there’s a new shop on the block you’ll want to add to your must-visit list.

Zach, Meg and Poncho find a cozy nook in one of their custom-built dressing rooms.

Left by West, created by Zach and Meg Hixson, offers a relaxing, personalized space and shopping experience that’s got a bit of everything: Art, household items, kitchenware, clothing, personal accessories, incense and more.

What sets every item apart from similar products you might see elsewhere is that Zach and Meg can tell you exactly where it came from — and, in many cases, who made it.

“We want people to feel a connection to the items they’re buying,” said Meg, who has worked in the wine industry and other small independent shops. “We want to put intention into everything we’re bringing to the shop, from the build-out to the products. We want to create a comfortable environment for everyone to spend some time wandering and finding things in.”

The couple has been into curating personalized spaces since they met in Washington where he was building “a wild project of a house.” They’re originally both from Utah — they even attended the same high school, but didn’t know each other — and landed in McMinnville ten years ago.

Designing the shop together, Zach says, gave them a chance to “create an overall feel and aesthetic, a representation of us. I feel like now people are a little more receptive to being out and being in a space, so we wanted to create a place receptive to that.”

Zach is a professional painter, and you’ll find his work and items by other artists for sale at Left by West. Many of the items — linens by Ruby Claire Johnson, leather, brass and copper work by Ryan Schoeck and ceramic wine tumblers by Rachel Astin, for example — were made by hand, and the makers are known to the Hixsons. 

“The items we’re most excited about are the ones where we know the makers,” Meg says. “It’s nice to be able to share the process of how these items came to be.”

There are also items from around the U.S. and Europe, and in all cases, whether it’s food wrap made with bee’s wax from Oakland or women’s clothing from Bibico in the United Kingdom, the companies walk the talk of sustainability, fair trade and living wages. 

Left by West is a chance to put some intentionality into shopping and to support local makers. They’re open daily … what do you know, but Father’s Day is this weekend! 

The storefront of Left By West has a pride flag displayed out front along with a sale rack.  The historic marquee of the Mack Theater is in the background.
Left by West is located at 512 NE Third Street in downtown McMinnville. Open Monday-Saturday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Masks are currently required. For more information, call 503-472-1754 or visit online at www.instagram.com/_leftbywest_/.

A cartoon of David Bates

David Bates is a McMinnville writer who has appeared in Gallery Theater productions since 1998.