Nineteen years ago, Del and Tara Nelson welcomed their son into the world, and their joy soon turned to fear as their baby boy, Bryce, was diagnosed with a rare genetic condition, phenylketonuria (PKU). Unable to metabolize the essential amino acid phenylalanine, which is a primary component of all proteins, he has had to adhere to a strict diet made up of a minimal amount of foods that are extremely low in protein (most made by a pharmaceutical company) with over 90 percent of his daily nutrition coming from a medical food formula that he must drink throughout the day. These foods and formulas are costly, and insurance does not cover the vast majority of these necessities.
At the time he was born, the condition affected one in 20,000 births. Today, it is now one in 14,000. There are approximately 45 people in the entire state of Idaho living with the condition at varying levels of severity, with Bryce’s diagnoses at the most severe.
Tara is the owner of Ash Street Accounting Services, while husband Del operates Ash Street Handyman. Over the years, the couple has worked hard to provide their son the nutritional foods and formulas, special blood tests and travel to meetings with specialists and dieticians for his condition. In 2016, the parents had an idea.
“My very talented husband makes special pieces out of wood or metal in his spare time and, with the intent of finding a way to defray the rising costs of caring for our son, we created the Ash Street Market site on Etsy,” says Tara.
Before long, the couple began doing consignments for other local artisans, neighbors and family, clearing out their collections of unique vintage items, art and antiques. They first opened their shop to locals during the 2016 Christmas shopping season, and in 2017 they added an additional storefront online, quickly expanding their exposure. They again were open for business locally for the 2017 Christmas shopping season. With the positive feedback and urging from the community, they are now open year round!
“Since we run our other businesses out of this building, and we are here all the time already, we decided to stay open to the public regular hours and just recently completed a remodel of the space, adding a few new artisans and a ton of new items in preparation for the holidays!” Tara says excitedly. “Anyone who has been in before should stop by and see how much we have changed this year—they will be amazed!”
At Ash Street Market, shoppers will find locally made handcrafted items, unique vintage, antiques, art, global fair trade artisan items, new items with retro appeal, gifts, décor and jewelry. Del and Tara strive to curate items out of the ordinary and an eclectic mix where shoppers can find something of quality for each person they shop for.
“Although we sell many new items, the heart of our store is that it is an artisan market,” says Tara. “Since we own our building and operate our other businesses from here as well, our overhead for the store is very low. This allows our artisans to retain 75 percent of the sales of their items, and all proceeds from the store go directly to fund our son’s medical costs. We support our artisans and they help us to support our cause, so we all win, including our patrons who find one-of-a-kind gifts for everyone and themselves!”
Ash Street Market is a cumulative effort of many people, from family, friends and artisans to complete strangers who have donated items or funds to the Nelsons’ cause. “We appreciate everyone that helps with the store or shops here—they all contribute in their way, even if they don’t know it,” says Tara.
The Nelsons invite you to Ash Street Market, where you can shop local and support artisans while contributing to an important cause.
Tara has been working with other parents and the National PKU Alliance for many years to support legislation that would require insurance companies in all states to cover the costs of medical foods that require a prescription the same as any other medical drug. To learn more about the Medical Nutrition Equity Act, visit youtu.be/5hW1z1mZOtc. Additional information about the NPKUA and how to support the act can be found at NPKUA.org/Take-Action/Medical-Nutrition-Equity-Act.
Ash Street Market
7098 Ash Street
Bonners Ferry, Idaho 83805
Facebook: Ash Street Services & Market
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