Cabin Fever Soaps and Essentials opens in downtown McGregor

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Patti Snodgrass recently opened Cabin Fever Soaps and Essentials at 238 Main St., in McGregor. (Photo by Audrey Posten)

Patti was introduced to soap making by her childhood neighbor. She then paired extensive research with her knowledge of herbs and other plants.

Cabin Fever offers a variety of bar soaps, sugar scrubs, body washes and other products that are all handmade with natural ingredients. Patti even has what she calls “fancy soaps,” colorful confections that look like perfectly-decorated cupcakes.

Walking into the homey, rustic-industrial space, where Patti said yesteryear meets the modern day world, visitors are surrounded by calming scents of lavender, oatmeal and honey, green tea, red clover and more.

Patti is happy to answer questions about her products and ingredients and offers advice for ailments. "I have a passion for helping people," she said.

Where yesteryear meets modern day

By Audrey Posten, Times-Register

“Since I was a child, I wanted to make soap,” recalled Patti Snodgrass. “The neighbor lady made her own laundry soap, and she showed me how to make it in her basement. I was hooked.”

She began indulging that passion 20 years ago, fueled by a desire to help family members struggling with skin issues like eczema and psoriasis. She and her husband were full-time truck drivers then, and Patti would spend hours on the road combing through research, pairing that with her childhood knowledge of herbs and other plants.

“When I was young, my granny would take me out in the fields. I never forgot any of the herbs she chose and used for ailments,” Patti shared. “Then I would read lab work and experiments if they had to do with herbs.”

“What’s in it, what its attributes are—that’s the lure,” she continued. “That’s where my knowledge came from—really digging in and getting down to the chemistry of it.”

When the Snodgrasses retired and settled in McGregor, a town they’d fallen in love with while hauling livestock and visiting their son who lived nearby, Patti began devoting more time to soap making. Around seven years ago, under the name Cabin Fever Soaps and Essentials, she began selling at the farmers market and launched a website.

Back then, she thought, “I’d love to open my own soap shop in McGregor.”

Now, that dream has come true. Cabin Fever Soaps and Essentials opened at 238 Main St., this spring, selling a variety of bar soaps, sugar scrubs, body washes and other products. 

Walking into the homey rustic-industrial space, where Patti said yesteryear meets the modern day world, visitors are surrounded by calming scents of lavender, oatmeal and honey, green tea, red clover and more. Patti even has what she calls “fancy soaps,” colorful confections that look like perfectly-decorated cupcakes.

All the products contain natural ingredients and were handmade by Patti in her kitchen or Main Street workshop. 

“I want it to take you back,” she said, “but yet I’m using modern day knowledge of making products.”

Unlike mass-produced soaps, Cabin Fever items won’t dry or strip your skin. Patti’s labels are transparent, revealing the supplies and fragrances she utilizes.

“It’s much safer,” she said.

Some of her favorite ingredients include the burdock and aloe vera groups. “There’s so much they can contribute to,” she shared.

Patti is happy to answer questions about her products and ingredients and offers advice for ailments. She’s been doing it for customers for the past seven years, and has also become active online with other soap makers. She even has her own YouTube channel. 

“We discuss and encourage and share unique ideas,” she said. “That’s helped me advance further.”

“I have a passion for learning and helping people,” she added.

At some point, Patti hopes to offer classes in McGregor, as a way to give back to the community that’s brought her so much joy. 

Cabin Fever Soaps originally opened just before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Patti said many new small businesses like hers might have closed for good at that point. However, support from community members and fellow business owners inspired her to keep going and reopen earlier this summer. 

“It was scary,” she admitted, “but here, you’re never alone. I couldn’t ask for a better place.”

Patti has even opened up part of her store to local crafters, who can sell their goods there on consignment. She encourages others to nurture their own passions. You never know where it can lead.

“I never get tired of looking back to when I was day dreaming about my own shop,” she said. “Today, it’s come true.”

Cabin Fever Soaps and Essentials is open Tuesday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The store is closed on Sundays and Mondays.

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