Realizing the value of a hands-on shopping experience, Rik Samoylenko is looking forward to the grand opening of his store, Sandstone Goods + Trading, on Thursday.
Samoylenko is a great example of a businessman returning to his former land to bring something special to the community.
Before Sandstone was developed as a storefront, it was an online store developed during the pandemic. Samoylenko returned to Bakersfield in 2017 after leaving his job with Anthropologie, where he was a visual manager and helped launch store openings across the United States.
He wrote in an email, “At the end of 2017 I decided it was time to turn things around – I quit my job, moved to Bakersfield, and started the first steps on my new journey.”
Completing his degree in Graphic Design from San Diego State, Samoylenko enrolled in architecture and culinary classes at Bakersfield College. He also began making connections with local small businesses, artists, and vendors in the community.
He describes Sandstone as a home décor and lifestyle brand that “offers high quality, handmade tableware, glassware, kitchen accessories, candles, home textiles, houseplants, and planters, along with boutique quantities of men’s and women’s clothing, skincare, and more.”
Besides the website, which he started in 2020, the business owner has begun participating in pop-up events in 2021 including the Holiday Craft & Vendor Show at Taft’s West Side Recreation & Park District, vendor markets hosted by BakoBox creator Kami Paulsen, and a museum Bakersfield Arts after the Dark Pride event, the holiday market at Seven Oaks Business Park and the second Saturday holiday market hosted by Tlo Wines.
He wrote of the experience, “The response from this community through sellers popups has been amazing and I could see a gap in the local market for products that I was not only looking for, but others were also interested in buying – beautiful, high – quality goods that are made in the US America, highlighting the small businesses here in Kern County, are produced through sustainable methods, or global fair trade products that help build the social and economic structures of the people and cultures that make them.”
Samoylenko knew he wanted to take the next step to open a brick-and-mortar store to allow customers an immersive activity.
“Shopping should be a sensory experience – there is a beauty in being able to feel every texture, trying on a well-made pair of jeans, smelling the top notes and base notes of candles or perfumes, to fully experience the environment and personally see the brand.”
He has researched locations and worked with the Cal State Bakersfield Small Business Development Center, which he describes as “fantastic, just like Free The resources I used for market information and general business planning.”
The business is also certified by the National Gay and Transgender Chamber of Commerce as an LGBTQ+ owned and operated business, and Samoylenko said it aims to create a safe and respectful community for all to enjoy.
He wrote, “I believe representation is an important factor in business and can be an inspiration to others.”
Samoylenko is excited about the grand opening on Thursday and the ribbon cutting, after which the store will open to the public. KUZZ will be streaming on site from 3 to 5 p.m., with a prize wheel and giveaways.
A sweepstakes will be held during the grand opening weekend, and customers will receive one lottery ticket for every $10 spent. A portion of the weekend’s earnings will benefit a local charity.
“Bakersfield is a wonderful city and holds a special place in my heart,” he wrote. “I believe we each have an essential role to play and a social responsibility to improve the community. Along with volunteer time and resources, we are committed to donating a portion of our proceeds to local organizations and charities that directly impact and enhance the diversity of lives of the residents of Bakersfield and Kern County.”
Stefani Dias can be reached at 661-395-7488. Follow her on Twitter @realstefanidias.