Sally Brandt is owner of The Sheep Shed on Main Street in Joseph. She started the knitting and arts business with Nancy Knoble in 2009 in the building that now houses Highland Mercantile. The two businesswomen were finalists in an Eastern Oregon Small Business program “thanks to Nancy Knoble’s organizational work,” Brandt said.
The business moved to the current location at 3 S. Main Street and Brandt became the sole owner when Knoble moved on to other interests.
In addition to raising three children with her husband, Ray DeLury, Brandt served on numerous volunteer boards throughout the years. Most notably, she was the Court Appointed Special Advocate coordinator in Wallowa County for 21 years. The group advocates for abused and neglected children. She has a masters degree in elementary education and served as a substitute teacher both before coming to Wallowa County and for two decades after.
Brandt and is now active in both the Joseph City Library Renovation and Expansion and Wallowa County Action Group (Democrats).
Q. What brought you and Ray to Wallowa County?
A. I’d lived in Portland in 1981 and had come camping here and loved it and was looking for a way to get back here. We, my husband and I, and my parents, went to the Cow Palace in San Francisco in 1990 to hear my brother perform in the Barber Shop Harmony finals (his group won an International Championship in 1979) and we drove back up the coast and then out to Wallowa County as an extended vacation.
I started working on my husband about moving here and my dad helped because he wrote him a marvelous letter about how hard it was to make a change –– but this one seemed like a good move. We moved here from Green Mountain Falls, Colo., in 1991.
I also say I “lured” my husband here, pun intended, because he’s an avid fisherman, and I emphasized the good fishing.
Q. What has been good about the move?
A. I think everything. We moved here in our 1956 Bluebird school bus with four malamute wolves –– and we didn’t have jobs. We’ve seen people come and go from here, but we did whatever we needed to do to survive here and make it work.
My husband worked in the lumberyard before he found work in his field, which was as a stonemason, and I worked for Carol Lee at Eagle Mountain Gallery and Centennial House before I started my first business as Uncommon Threads in Enterprise.
We wanted to be involved in our community, and we got involved. We took the foster parent training because we intended to adopt and they contacted us to foster just as soon as we graduated that training. We fostered more than a dozen children and ran the “Time Out” program for the justice system.
Q. What has Wallowa County taught you?
A. You can make your home anywhere when you find the right people and have sticktoitivness with regard to finding work and staying where you love it.
When we moved here, we were informed that it was a difficult place to establish yourself if you were not 10th generation Wallowa County residents. But we met a whole group of people, similar age, kids about the same age as ours, and there were potlucks all the time. We met this wonderful group of people and it was a marvelous time in Wallowa County.
Also, I’ve found myself being much more politically involved –– it took me a long time to express myself openly and not be damaged business-wise by it, but I’ve watched people come from being really unable to talk to each other to being able to talk to each other. I now see people able to sit down and have a discussion and that’s amazing to see.