SHE Matters

S.H.E. Matters and Leads: Ida Uffelman of Spruce

Ida Uffelman had never dreamed of being a business owner before. That was, of course, until she fell in love with the myriad plant shops she stumbled upon during a trip to one of the liveliest communities in the State of Oregon: Portland.

And now, she’s infused Jacksonville Beach with that same green-thumbed love.

In fact, when you first walk into Spruce, you’re instantly greeted by the sight of a spacious, modern floorplan, where Uffelman stands smiling warmly behind the register. In your right periphery, lush green entices you to browse between the trailing pathos vines, outstretched branches, and hand-crafted pieces of pottery.

Whether you prefer to sink into a chair and sip on a local brew or simply hunt for your next favorite plant pet, Spruce is undoubtedly the place to go if you’re out near the beaches.

But it wasn’t — and still isn’t — necessarily an easy endeavor to pursue for Uffelman.

While Uffelman is thankful to be surrounded by other entrepreneurial women in the community, she says she feels that she has struggled to be taken seriously while undergoing the permitting process through the City of Jacksonville as a woman.

“Dealing with the City of Jacksonville — building, zoning — it’s all men that worked there, and I felt like I was being mansplained to the whole time,” Uffelman said. “It was tough. They just kind of walked all over me. The more I stuck up for myself, the more I got buried under. The more red tape I was given.”

Thankfully, that hasn’t stopped Uffelman from seeking the continued growth of Spruce — and the overall experience has remained a positive one.

“Aside from… all of that, I haven’t had any issues,” she recalled brightly. “Everyone is amazing, our growers are great, and it’s a very female-oriented business, so that helps.”

And for any other women interested in building their own business? Well, her advice is simple: Go for it.

“Every person is unique and you’ve got to know your own risk, and what you’re comfortable losing. But also, don’t let that hold you back,” Uffelman affirmed. “Money comes and goes, life happens, but I would never go work in the corporate world again. It’s tough right now … but it’s amazing.”

Ida Uffelman, owner of Spruce, stands in front of the plants within her shop
Ida Uffelman, owner of Spruce, stands in front of the plants within her shop

Here at Mad Men Marketing, we want to do more than simply address the wage gap and the importance of women in the workplace — we want to actively highlight and empower existing women in our community!

Are you a woman who owns her own business?

Do you work in a male-dominated field?

Do you know another noteworthy woman you think deserves time in the spotlight?

We’d love to get an interview on the books! Please reach out to us or visit our S.H.E. Matters page to send in a submission for our review, and stay tuned here for more information!