The scent of lemongrass, clean and crisp, softly welcomes visitors stepping into gather + grace in downtown Chaska. Filled with handmade items from Minnesota and Wisconsin makers, the atmosphere immediately offers a sense of warmth, tranquility and beauty. “We are lovers of Jesus and oils,” owner Maria Mercer says. “We love sharing the word of God with others, as well as our love for the oils He created.”
Mercer was first introduced to essential oils when her mother came home with a box of them and the book Healing Oils of the Bible. “I had a headache, and the oils helped,” Mercer says. “From there, I was hooked, so that is what led me down the road of sharing the one thing that changed our lives for the better.”
The refreshing aroma of peppermint might be what customers need to rub on their temples or neck throughout the day to invigorate them, or they can create a calming environment with lavender by adding it to bath water. “I love that we created just another business that exposes the amazingness of oils,” Mercer says.
Mercer is able to pass along what she’s learned about oils with classes and workshops held at the store. “We have blend bars—creating fun things with your oils, like body butter, lip balm or really anything, and we have do-it-yourself workshops,” she says. The space is also used for events, including baby showers; “shoe cutting” parties for Sole Hope, which provides shoes for people in Uganda; Bible studies and other events, parties or celebrations.
For Mercer, wife and mother of four boys, the most meaningful aspect of running the business is seeing lives impacted. “There are customers who have come in that struggle from depression, and it’s like you can see the weight lifted off them,” she says. “It’s amazing to see the shift in the way they feel and are uplifted immediately by the smell of the oils.”
Tara Bauer discovered gather + grace the first weekend it opened in September 2016. “I was in downtown Chaska one Saturday morning visiting my chiropractor, and she asked, ‘Have you checked out the new shop on the corner?’” Bauer says. “So I wandered in. I spent the next two-and-a-half hours at the shop just chit-chatting with Maria Mercer and her mom.” Struck by the women’s welcoming and inviting natures, Bauer wrote a review on their Facebook page and now shops the store frequently.
In addition to the oils, the store is stocked with delightful handmade items, including custom wood signs and one-of-a- kind gifts, mugs and glasses, bags and totes, jewelry and wall art. “They are very creative folks that love to make pretty things for others to enjoy,” Mercer says of the vendors she features.
“It has been the most awe-inspiring journey we have ever been on,” Mercer says. “The women that walk through our doors are just so amazing. We love hearing testimonies of how the Lord just told them to walk through our doors, and they did. From there, that is when we see blessings flow. We need community—all of us—and at gather + grace, that is what we thrive on. That is what feeds our soul.”
Send someone special a bit of gather + grace with annual subscription deliveries. Items are shipped in May, July, October and December at $30 per box plus the cost of shipping. (Month-to-month subscription option is $35 a box, plus shipping.)
Deliveries come beautifully packaged in a gather + grace box including everything from candles to cute coffee mugs, essential oils, leather diffuser bracelets, bath bombs and citrus-blend happy roller balls.