Scout Northwest owners Jerome and Gitl Black
The first Scout Northwest storefront opened in 2017, but the story really started at a bar in Austin, Texas in 1997, when Jerome spent five minutes with Gitl and knew his life was changed forever.
“I told her I was going to ask her to be my wife one day," Jerome said. "She just laughed."
Within a year they were married and 20 years after their first kiss they are now a family of five, including daughters Faith and Lila and son Daniel.
Though their shared history includes time in Arizona, Texas and Minnesota, Jerome had Oregon in his blood as he has ancestors who had left Ireland for Minnesota generations ago but about every three generations some “hopped” over to Oregon.
“I came out here a few different times when I was younger too but kept getting pulled back by jobs or family. I knew I wanted to end up here someday.”
The road to Oregon and the origin of Scout Northwest in some ways started on two wheels when the Blacks started a business in Minnesota building custom Harley’s. That evolved into a custom bike shop in Austin, Texas, that included rentals and fabrication. Finally tiring of working 18 hour days the couple was ready for a change. Selling the shop and nearly everything else except a vinyl cutter and graphics printer, they headed back to Minnesota and started a graphics shop.
Now that the Black’s had settled into some stability, the time was finally right to head west.
“We sold the graphics shop, bought an RV and travelled the Oregon Coast,” Gitl said. “We finally ended up staying in Lincoln City and opened Lincoln City Graphics in 2016, thinking it would just be a business making stickers to sell to tourists.”
Instead, they ended up creating custom graphics for local businesses. Thinking it was going to be a hobby, they weren’t prepared for the influx of work. So, building on the success of this latest graphics venture, the couple decided it was time to start their dream business.
“We had talked for along time about creating an adventure lifestyle shop that carried all of our favorite things from local artists and established companies,” Gitl said. “We went camping, fishing and traveling with the kids a lot.“
Recently, the Black family has grown a big bigger with the addition of Grandbaby Jasper.
“Family is so important to us,” Gitl said. “We were always together when the kids were growing up. I wanted the kids with me, not in daycare. They are still such a big part of everything we do today.”
The name for the business came from family too.
“My Aunt Kim made such an impression on me at such an early age,” Gitl said. "I always saw her as so adventurous and bold. Always in flea markets and on the look out for something she or my Uncle had to have...Always SCOUTING for antiques and unique hard to find items. Such a fun eclectic mix, still to this day! She is a free spirit!