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The Work We Do: Patrice Conklin, White Flower Farmhouse

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My name is Patrice Conklin. I work here at White Flower Farmhouse.

When I come in, the first thing I do is walk around the store, because [owner Lori Guyer] brings in new things almost every day.

It is definitely every aspect of the business, from ordering, because we do carry new merchandise as well as vintage, to unboxing and pricing when it comes in. I love customer service. Customers have a lot of questions about design, what will go with what. I can offer some help with designs, but Lori is the expert. I’ve learned so much from her. I’m even changing my look at home because of her.

I worked at a desk job for a marina for about 10 years and got tired of that.

So I left there and then I ran into Lori at the Opp Shop and we started talking. She asked if I wanted to work at the store and I jumped at it.

It’s been a match made in heaven. She has helped me get my creative side out again.

I’m really into vintage photos and vintage maps. But I’d just keep them in a box, even with my old family photos. When I started here, Lori pushed me — she said, “Let’s do something with these.” So I collected old photos and maps from tag sales and I’ll make cards out of them or frame them.

There’s just something about old photos of the area that I just love.

I actually wish I could go back in time for a day and see the North Fork how it was.

People come in for the farmhouse tables, weathered white-washed mirrors, ironstone and candles are big. One of the attractions is that Lori has the Shiny Brite ornaments, vintage ornaments in the original boxes.

I guess it reminds me of my childhood. My mom was into antiques and it just was a simpler time. That’s why I think it’s such a good fit in the store for me. And Lori is a really special person. She’s giving and supports women-owned businesses. That really inspires me.

I never am like ‘Ugh, I have to go to work.’ One of the best parts of the job is that I’ve made so many new friends. The customers become my friends. They’re really great, really friendly people.

“The Work We Do” is a Suffolk Times multimedia project profiling workers on the North Fork.