MYRTLE POINT — A fifth generation Coos County resident and former schoolteacher, Sue Powrie is following some sound advice from her grandmother.
“I’m doing what she always told me to do which is to put myrtle leaves under my sofa cushions and mattresses as a way to repel fleas and chiggers,” said Powrie. “Only this time I’ve taken it one step forward and have created my own formula.”
Sue Powrie shows a myrtle leaf candle at her Myrtle Leaves Ranch booth during the Coos Bay Farmers Market on Wednesday.
With her grandmother’s words leading the way, Powrie has for the past two and half years researched and developed a natural, effective way to repel fleas from dogs. The owner of Myrtle Leaves Ranch, Powrie created a body spray for dogs aimed at doing just that by using essential oils extracted from myrtle leaves.
“Pioneer Proven is my customized steam-distilled essential myrtle oil and essential oil hydrosol flea spray that I created,” said Powrie. “It’s 100 percent Oregon natural and it’s all from my ranch which my folks have owned since 1951.”
According to Powrie, the myrtle oil acts as a natural irritant for fleas causing them to look for hosts elsewhere. It also carries a number of healing characteristics for folks with respiratory problems as well as acts as a natural moisturizer.
“I wanted to create something that is both sustainable and has a positive impact,” said Powrie. “I’ve done a lot of research and haven’t found anything negative about green myrtle oil.”
A former teacher for the Coquille and Myrtle Point school districts, Powrie began her journey into starting her own business by first taking classes at the Small Business Development Center at Southwestern Oregon Community College.
With her past students in mind, Powrie said she hopes her business is able to provide employment opportunities to recently graduated high school students looking to find sustainable work in the area.
“It’s all about giving back to our community,” she said.
In the near future, Powrie added she would like to connect with organizations that provide service canines to children with special needs as a way to naturally treat their canines. She also expressed interested in working with police agencies to treat canine officers who are often exposed to workplace chemicals.
“I started this business because it’s a product that I know works,” said Powrie. “I also wanted to make a difference and get a job for these kids.”
For those interested in learning more about Myrtle Leaves Ranch, visit its booth every Wednesday at the Coos Bay Downtown Farmers Market between 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. from now until October.