From rain to shine: Store helps mother weather emotional storm
Since High Point Framing & Art Gallery changed owners and moved into the space beneath the NP Design and Photography studio earlier this spring, a new business has popped up in the familiar space across from Glover Park at 124 E. First St.
Rachel Fitzgerald, an emergency room nurse at Westfields Hospital, has opened a religious gift shop called Weathered Raindrop.
“It’s an inspirational Christian marketplace,” Fitzgerald said. “This is just something that God has put on my husband’s and my hearts, and everything has kind of fallen into place for it.”
For Fitzgerald, who still works full time at the hospital, the shop is more of an exercise in healing than it is a profit-seeking business venture.
Fitzgerald and her husband Dan, who owns Fitzgerald Lawn Care in New Richmond, have endured the deaths of two of their children. The couple lost an infant daughter named Zaylee in 2011. In December 2012, tragedy struck again in an especially heartbreaking way when their 4-year-old son Collin died after being struck by a snowplow his father was operating.
Anguish hit the family twice more in the form when Fitzgerald lost two pregnancies to miscarriages.
“This shop is just to let people know that our trials can become our testimonies,” Fitzgerald said. “Even though bad things can happen, I really feel that God uses us to help others, and that’s what we want to show through this shop.”
Many of the items in the store are memorial-based items for the death of a child and gifts geared toward people going through grief as well as items to celebrate baptisms and confirmation milestones.
Fitzgerald said about 80 percent of the shop’s inventory is made up of items she crafted herself.
“I needed something to keep my mind going,” Fitzgerald said. “It started right away when Zaylee died. It’s just kind of flourished since then.”
Fitzgerald said the name for the shop comes from how the family felt during last summer’s dry spell.
“It was the summer after Collin died, and Dan was in the middle of building his new Fitzgerald Lawn Care shop, and we had no rain,” Fitzgerald said. “The drought was terrible for his business, and we were both under a lot of stress, both emotional stress and the financial burdens from losing so much money with the company and me being off work for so long, and for the funeral. Everything was just coming to a head, we felt so worn and we felt so weathered. It felt like the perfect storm and that everything was coming down on us.”
During that low point, Fitzgerald found the resolve to not only lift her own spirits, but also use her newfound strength to guide others through their grief.
“This shop is really just to instill joy in others and glorify God through our life,” Fitzgerald said. “Some people can see the trials we’ve gone through and see that we’re not going to throw a pity party over this. We know that God is going to use us for good. We know that our childrens’ lives and their purpose here was accomplished in the number of days Christ had given them. And absolutely, 100 percent, I will be with them again.”
Weathered Raindrop, which shares space with Top Notch Trophies, first opened on Saturday, April 5. Because Fitzgerald still works full time at the hospital, the store is open just Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
According to Fitzgerald, a portion of each sale goes to support nonprofit organizations, such as Halos of the St. Croix, that assist families after the death of a child.
Owner: Rachel Fitzgerald
Address: 124 E. First St., New Richmond
Hours:11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursdays,
Fridays and Saturdays
Facebook page: facebook.com/weatheredraindrop