HERMISTON — Laurie Hartung gets a little emotional when she talks about needing to close Scrubs Life, but she doesn’t regret owning her own business for five years.
“I get a little tearful talking about it,” she said. “When I opened that business, I started it from nothing. It was just an idea.”
She used to be a homemaker, but when her husband died, leaving her to provide for their children, she graduated from nursing school at age 45. Nursing provided steady work and benefits, but she worried about all those years she had missed contributing to a retirement account.
In 2014, she started Scrubs Life, selling scrubs to Hermiston-area medical staff and offering customized embroidery on them.
“I thought it was a great idea, I just never made any money,” she said. “I never made a dime off of it ... everyone kept telling me, ‘When you hit five years you’ll start making money. Give it that long.’”
Five years has come and gone, however, and while the business has grown, she said she still hasn’t been making a profit. She chalked it up to a few reasons, including the size of the market in Hermiston, the cost of hiring employees to cover the store while she was at her other job and changes in the past few years to the materials used to make scrubs.
“Scrubs are lasting longer,” she said. “They’re not fading.”
She plans to close her doors on Dec. 20, taking an additional 10% off prices each week between now and then.
Hartung said the customers have been the best part of the experience, and she will miss them greatly when Scrubs Life closes. It was a hard decision to make, she said, but now that she has come to terms with it she is seeing the positives of having more time to focus on nursing job and on her children.
While owning a business is harder than it looks, she said, she doesn’t regret it for a second and she hopes other people won’t be scared away from being an entrepreneur.
“Follow your dreams,” she said.