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Designs by Carolyn  

By Lisa Carroll, Staff Writer

Carolyn Demetz is a lifelong native of the Coos Bay area. She grew up in Sumner, attended Marshfield High School and then went to SWOCC to take classes in accounting, which is her first area of expertise. She was enjoying her work as a bookkeeper for several businesses around town when she was struck by Multiple Sclerosis, or MS, during the mid 80’s.

“I’ve had lots of trial and tribulations because of my MS,” Carolyn shared with me. “In the late 90’s, I lost my vision and got on SSI. I tried to keep working, but the stress of holding down a full time job exacerbated the MS, and my doctor didn’t want me to go back to work.”

Carolyn, along with her husband Keith, became involved in lapidary years ago as a way to do something enjoyable together. “I’ve always dabbled in jewelry and had fun,” she said. For years, Carolyn made jewelry with faceted rock and cabochon for friends and family as a hobby. “When Keith retired, we started going to different rock shows to sell, and I got really serious about doing jewelry. I started placing my jewelry in several locations around town, but due to my health, I was unable to maintain that, especially since I was not supposed to be driving.” Over the years her MS has leveled out, and although it will not worsen for Carolyn, it still causes pain and keeps her up at night. “When I can’t sleep, I get up and work on my jewelry. It takes my mind off of the pain, and is like therapy for me.”

A very community-minded person, Carolyn was determined to find ways to contribute to the success of the community in spite of her challenged health.  She began volunteering her bookkeeping services part-time to businesses for free. “Without people helping people, a lot of small businesses go under. One reason they go under is because they don’t have a good accountant. Donating my time is how I play a part in the success of my community.”

Carolyn Demetz is a civic-minded woman embodies the spirit of a mutually supportive community with her "Designs by Carolyn" line of jewelry, and in volunteering. (Photo by Lisa Carroll)

In this way, Carolyn began keeping the books for Outdoor-In, and has worked out a mutually beneficial relationship with owners Gina and Mark Daily. Carolyn’s jewelry is displayed exclusively at the popular family play area. “Having my jewelry in one place is a good trade off for me, because I don’t have to run all over creation to make sure my jewelry is stocked.” This is also perfect fit for a lady who makes jewelry not for a profit, but to do something nice for people. Carolyn now purchases gorgeous lamp-work pieces made with Murano glass, which she assembles into necklaces and earrings. She uses inexpensive but durable materials in order to keep the prices down. All of her jewelry sells for $2.99, and she keeps the prices low for a reason. “This area is depressed economically. If a kid wants to get Mommy or Grandma a pretty necklace, $2.99 is an easy stretch. I have it already set in a little gold box. They don’t even have to wrap it, they can just stick a little bow on it and it’s ready.” Carolyn is able to keep her prices low because she doesn’t have the overhead that established store-fronts have to deal with, and this benefit is generously passed on to the community.

Gina Daily tells me Carolyn is just a naturally giving person. “We have two boys, and whenever they are involved in fund raising for the school, they know Carolyn will help them out. She is a co-chair for the Fun Festival, and is very civic-minded. The Girl Scouts love her!”

In turn, Carolyn is a big supporter of the Outdoor-In. “This place is the best thing since cream cheese, especially for Grandparents who babysit. You’re old, and no matter how nice it is, you don’t want to sit outside and get blown away by that cold wind! So, bring the kids in here where they can have fun, while you sit down with a nice cup of coffee.”

Carolyn loves being a Grandma, and she adores her husband, Keith. She works to support the community she loves, proving profit cannot always be measurred in dollars and cents. The world can sure use a lot more Grandma’s like Carolyn.

To check out Designs by Carolyn, stop by the Outdoor-In, located at 305 S 4th Street, Coos Bay.

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