Eager Beaver Mattress & Furniture Outlet

Listen to Abe Silvonen for a few moments and whether he’s talking about the furniture business or six-man football, you’ll be inspired. He’s passionate about everything he’s involved with.

Abe grew up in Newport and worked in the construction trades after graduating from Newport High School. When he was able to save money, he began to dabble in local real estate. In 2007, as construction slowed during the recession, Abe purchased the original Eager Beaver Store in Nye Beach from his dad.

At that point, the Eager Beaver Store dealt only in secondhand furniture and business was steady. But realistically, Abe could see that technology was changing the industry. With the advent of eBay, Craigslist, and other online marketplaces, individuals could easily sell their used furniture directly. So Abe decided to diversify.

By 2009, the Eager Beaver Store was offering new discount mattresses. Over the next five years, he began carrying new furniture and décor items, both imported and domestic. Abe describes his original store as a “hole in the wall”, but those 2,500 square feet were filled to the brim with an ever-changing array of product. The new strategy was working. The store’s volume increased by several hundred percent.

In 2015, Abe made another sound choice, although this was a decision of the heart. He married Mariah; the Silvonens were now a blended family with a family business. Mariah shared his commitment to customer service; in fact, even to this day, both Mariah and Abe provide their cell phone numbers to customers and let them know that they’re available seven days a week.

2015 was also the year that Abe and Mariah got the opportunity to lease the old J&N building in Waldport, a 13,000 square foot structure on Highway 34, just off of 101. Their original intention was to use the facility strictly as a warehouse, but after four weeks of extensive cleanup, and plenty of positive feedback from the community, they decided to put a store in the building. As Abe puts it, “within a couple of months we were overwhelmed with business, had to hire more people and buy more trucks.” Within a year, Abe and Mariah had purchased the building, poured in several hundred thousand dollars of improvements, and expanded the showroom to 9,000 square feet.

A year later, Eager Beaver Mattress & Furniture Outlet opened a new 6,500 square foot showroom at Highway 101 and Hurbert Street in Newport. Two years later, a 7,500 square foot store was added in the Lincoln City Outlets. The three current stores all have distinct offerings appropriate to their customer bases and all offer free delivery on the coast from Florence to Tillamook, and inland as far as Philomath and Dallas. Recently, because of customer demand, Eager Beaver Mattress & Furniture Outlet began providing valley delivery from Corvallis to Vancouver for a nominal charge.

“We’re now up to four trucks and about twenty employees,” says Abe, who is particularly proud of what he calls Eager Beaver’s family dynamic. “Wealth is measured in different ways,” he explains. “To be able to hire family and friends, and help them succeed, is enormously satisfying.”

Using their business mantra of “best products / best prices / best service”, Abe and Mariah keep a close eye on every aspect of their stores. Savvy purchasing, particularly of container loads of unique imports, has meant that customers return often, knowing that fresh offerings are always arriving. “This is what I was born to do,” expresses Abe. “The relationship we’re able to have with our customers, vendors and employees means everything to us.”

Abe and Mariah are just as passionate about Eddyville Charter School, where three of their four children attend. Mariah coaches volleyball and Abe coaches middle school six-man football, a program he helped pilot. “Win or lose, having parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts at the games supporting the kids is amazing to see,” he explains. “It’s such a great community activity.”

In their spare time, which at this point in their lives they don’t get much of, Abe and Mariah work on their 54-acre hobby farm east of Toledo. “We’re more than content on the tractor or just fishing with the kids,” he says.

Abe and Mariah began their relationship with Oregon Coast Bank working with Becky Lytwyn on some real estate loans. “She was able to minimize the hassles and just get things done, which was very refreshing,” remembers Abe. Since then, the Silvonens have moved all their business and personal accounts to Oregon Coast Bank. I guess you could say Abe is now also passionate about his bank. In his words: “We’re Oregon Coast Bank customers for life. We wouldn’t go anywhere else.”

 

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Grey Fox Inc.

 

If you’ve ever read a novel by Horatio Alger, or just know the name, you’re probably familiar with the concept that hard work, determination and honesty lead to success. Well this isn’t a novel. It’s a true story that follows the same script.

Joe Boyd grew up in Bandon, his wife Brooke is from Myrtle Point. High school sweethearts, Joe and Brooke wanted to build a secure life and raise a family on the coast. Hard work was something they were accustomed to.

In 1999 Joe was transferred to become the produce manager at Ray’s Food Place in Tillamook. Brooke took a job cleaning rental properties for Grey Fox, Inc. in Neskowin, eventually working her way up to a position in the office. In fact, Brooke became such a valued and trusted employee that Grey Fox owner Voni Reddekopp decided to sell the company to the Boyds in 2005.

As business owners, they worked even harder. Brooke managed the office while Joe did maintenance and cleaned some of the properties. Success in the vacation rental industry depends on earning the trust of property owners. Brooke and Joe gave their cell phone numbers to all the property owners Grey Fox represented and let them know that they could call anytime 24-7. That policy still exists today.

“We’re not just a lock box, we know all of our clients on a first name basis,” says Joe. “We handle most of the maintenance and keep an eye on things. When something needs to be updated to keep a property desirable for renters, we’ll work with our owners to get it done.” “We’re not trying to be the biggest, we’re trying to be the best,” adds Brooke.

Neskowin is one of the most picturesque locations on the Oregon Coast, yet it is not nearly as well known as larger coastal destinations. To attract a steady supply of renters, Grey Fox maintains a strong advertising presence online, in traditional media, and through international rental marketplaces like Airbnb and VRBO. Once renters become familiar with Neskowin and the service that Grey Fox provides, they tend to return year after year.

Brooke and Joe’s hard work has paid off. After 25 years in business, 14 under the Boyd’s ownership, Grey Fox manages about 80 Neskowin properties including cottages, luxury homes, townhouses and ocean front condos. The company now employs five fulltime staff members and an additional five cleaners.

As we wrote earlier, Brooke and Joe’s goals included raising a family. After 17 years of marriage and much determination, that joy happened too. The Boyd’s Neskowin home now includes two delightful daughters, Bailey and Piper.

About a year ago, with the balloon payment of their office coming due, the Boyds decided to look for a bank that, in Brooke’s words, “ran their business the same way we run our business.” They found a kindred spirit in Rose Wharton, who manages our Oregon Coast Bank Pacific City office. “Besides helping us refinance the building, Rose also got us a merchant account that saves us money with every transaction,” explains Joe. “We really appreciated how genuine she was and how hard she worked for us,” adds Brooke.

Perhaps it was Horatio Alger who wrote the book on hard work, determination and honesty leading to success, but it’s always great to see real life examples. Brooke and Joe are certainly that.

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Emerald Valley Thinning

Born and raised in Eddyville, Tracy Smouse has been part of the timber industry for most of his life. Tracy’s wife, Laurie, hasn’t been here quite as long – she spent her first 14 years in North Dakota – but after decades owning and operating logging companies with Tracy she understands the lure of the woods: “It’s not just a job,” explains Laurie. “It’s a way of life.”

Back in the ’70s, the Smouses owned their first logging company. But when the market began to sour, they decided to minimize their family’s financial risk by shutting down and working for other firms.

In 1995, when new opportunities became available, the Smouses and business partner Jerry Sedlak, founded Emerald Valley Thinning in Philomath. “Jerry and I had like-minded goals and complementary skills,” remembers Tracy. The company thrived. But just eight years later tragedy struck when Jerry Sedlak lost his life in a logging accident. It was difficult, but Tracy and Laurie had no choice but to continue operating the company on their own.

These days Tracy and Laurie have a new business partner, their son Travis. Well into its third decade of operations, Emerald Valley Thinning has broadened its capabilities to include all types of second growth timber harvesting, from ground-based thinnings to cable-logging final harvests.

Travis manages the thinning operations, dealing with customers, negotiating contracts, and running the thinning side. Tracy generally manages Emerald Valley’s cable logging side and a yoder side. In a typical year the company will harvest more than 20 million board feet of lumber.

For many years Laurie managed Emerald Valley Thinning’s business operations on her own. However for the past four years, Laurie has gradually passed on most of those responsibilities to the company’s office manager, Jessica Yandell. A working mother, Jessica appreciates the company’s “family atmosphere” and the flexibility she has to balance her job and parental responsibilities. Both Jessica and her husband, Michael, who also works for the company, are products of the Philomath High School Forestry Program, as are several other of Emerald Valley Thinning’s twenty employees.

“Keeping a good crew,” says Tracy, “is the secret to success, yet always remains our biggest hurdle. We pay a good wage, offer very good benefits – including paid medical insurance and a 401K retirement plan – but it is hard work and not everyone wants that these days. Show up five days a week and we’ll get along,” he says with a smile. Once the company finds good employees, they tend to keep them. Three members of the current crew have been with Emerald Valley for more than 20 years.

Over the years Emerald Valley Thinning has been honored with several industry awards including 2006 Northwest Forest Practices Operator of the Year and 2007 Logging Business of the Year.

Eventually, Tracy and Laurie will retire and pass the business on to Travis. The goal is to keep the company local and provide long-term jobs for crew members and hopefully their families.

An operation the size of Emerald Valley Thinning requires millions of dollars of equipment. Tracy, Laurie and Travis have to continually reinvest in their company. “When you have an opportunity to buy a good piece of equipment, time is of the essence,” explains Laurie. “That’s why we became customers of Oregon Coast Bank – we’d been told by friends in the industry that the bank was very good with logging companies.”

“They make the process of financing our equipment easy,” says Tracy about Oregon Coast Bank. Laurie puts it another way: “They’re amazing to work with.”

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Gene Law

 

Gene Law bought his first fishing boat in Half Moon Bay, California during 1963. While he was rebuilding it he met Terri, who started visiting him at the dock. Eventually they married and later moved their family to Newport.

Matt Law, Gene and Terri’s first son, grew up helping on the family boat. But when it came time to choose an occupation, he decided on chemical engineering and earned a PhD. Jonny however, the Laws second son, couldn’t get enough of fishing. After a stint at college, he came home to captain a boat, and eventually partnered with his parents when the family purchased an additional vessel.

That’s the Ms. Law in the photo with Gene above. It was built in 1978 as a 60’ salmon trawler. In 1980 Gene retrofitted it to go after shrimp and crab from the Californian border to the Canadian border, which it still does today.

The photo in the oval inset is of the Lady Law, which has quite a history. It was 107’ when Gene, Terri and Jonny purchased it in Galveston, Texas during 2005. That was the year of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, which each brought catastrophic damage to the Gulf Coast. As Gene puts it: “anything that could go wrong, went wrong.” It would take seven months to cut it down to 83’ and refit the Lady Law for crab, sardines and shrimp. Finally, the job was completed and Jonny took the helm for the 34-day trip from Galveston, through the Panama Canal, to Newport.

These days, Jonny works long hours captaining the Lady Law. Terri and Jonny‘s wife, Michelle, do the books for both vessels and manage the company’s ten employees. Although still very active in the businesses, Gene no longer fishes. “I spent 50 years on the ocean,” he says. “I know what it looks like.”

Throughout his commercial fishing career, Gene has tried to give back to the industry. For 17 years he volunteered on the Pacific Management Commission Coastal Pelagic Species Committee. He also served 15 years on the Dungeness Crab Commission. Recognizing the lack of local resources to fix nets, Gene and Terri opened Olalla Net Works in the early 1980s, a company they operated for more than a decade, employing 35 people.

Although dangerous as an occupation, commercial fishing has an unmistakable appeal. “You see things most people will never see,” explains Gene. “Like whales, porpoises and amazing sunrises. I caught a 50’ sailboat once, but that’s another story.” Gene also has an appreciation for the friendships he’s made in the industry. “From Mexico to Canada, you meet a lot of great people in this business.”

Gene’s relationship with Fred Postlewait, Chief Executive Officer of Oregon Coast Bank, goes back decades. “It was Fred wiring us money that kept us going when we were retrofitting the Lady Law during the hurricanes,” explains Gene. “He also wired us the money so that we could sail it to Newport. Truth is, fishing can be an ongoing money pit. Oregon Coast Bank has always stood behind us with the financing we need.”

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Ove Northwest

 

Born and raised in Newport, Charlie Branford then spent 4 years in the Marine Corps where he was a infantry instructor. While stationed at Camp Pendleton near San Diego, he met Margie, a native of Adelaide, Australia. She had come to the USA while working for a hotel and resort management company. Margie extended her visa and by 1998 they were married.

In 1999, Charlie left the Marine Corps and the Branfords moved back to Newport. He worked construction and she accepted a position as a marketing manager. In their spare time they had developed a love for fine food and wines. Charlie had begun experimenting in the kitchen, particularly with classic French cuisine. Margie remembers the evening, after Charlie had cooked a remarkable cassoulet, that she began encouraging him to enroll at the Cordon Bleu School in Portland.

After graduation, Charlie was hired as a chef by Rogue Ales and then became General Manager of their Bayfront Public House. It was however during the ten years he spent at Local Ocean Seafoods, also on Newport’s bayfront, that he began accumulating multiple accolades as an exceptional chef.

During 2014 the Branfords moved to Adelaide. Margie worked for a Torque Tool Company while Charlie continued his culinary explorations as a chef at Georges on Waymouth, one of Australia’s most acclaimed restaurants. But the Branford’s children missed living in Newport, and by the end of 2016 the family had returned home with the dream of opening a restaurant of their own.

Charlie and Margie had hoped for a “soft” opening, an opportunity to “get the kinks out.” But in this age of instant online customer reviews, word got out quickly that Ove Northwest was a restaurant to be reckoned with. Within days of its 2017 opening, the Newport restaurant was attracting a steady flow of locals and “foodies” from afar. Glowing reviews in the media soon followed.

“Ove” is a name going back generation’s on Charlie’s side. The “O” in the restaurant’s distinctive logo was modeled after his dad’s signature. Margie describes the cuisine as “New American, a melting pot of cultures.” The menu is fluid, allowing Charlie to be creative. In summer the emphasis is on seafood like Weathervane Scallops and Provencal Fish Stew; in winter entrees like Charlie’s slow roasted brisket and duck breast are popular.

“All my best memories growing up are centered around the dinner table,” explains Charlie. Ove Northwest’s menu is meant to be shared. Despite the long hours, owning an acclaimed restaurant has its advantages. “Our family gets to eat whatever we create,” points out Margie. “Having great quality ingredients at your fingertips is something I’ve learned to appreciate,” adds Charlie.

Located at the corner of NW 3rd and NW Cliff Streets in Historic Nye Beach, Ove Northwest has a spectacular view. “We want you to feel comfortable, whether just coming off the beach or celebrating a special occasion,” says Margie who manages the dining room and is responsible for the restaurant’s aesthetics, from colors to cut flowers. Open for lunch and dinner Tuesdays through Saturdays, Ove Northwest employs six, including Charlie and Margie’s son Thomas, who began working part-time as a dishwasher.

The Branfords have been Oregon Coast Bank customers for more than a decade. When the opportunity to lease the building and open Ove Northwest first arouse, Charlie and Margie brought the idea to Fred Postlewait and Teresa Murray at the bank. “They were very supportive from the start,” remembers Margie. “If it wasn’t for Oregon Coast Bank we wouldn’t be doing this,” adds Charlie.

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Adams Chiropractic

 

His dad was a contractor with back pain so severe that he sometimes had to crawl across the floor. Staying home was never an option. Somehow his chiropractor was always able to get him back on the job. Those memories had a lasting effect on Perry Adams.

After graduating high school in Beaverton, Perry received a degree in biology from BYU Idaho, where he met his wife, Darcy. Four years later he had earned his doctorate from Parker College of Chiropractic in Texas. It wasn’t an easy ride. Perry worked construction jobs during high school and waited tables throughout college to help finance his education.

After becoming a doctor, he worked for several years in the Portland area. By 2011 he had opened his own practice in Toledo with a staff of two. In 2015 Chiropractic 101 moved to an office in Newport. Today Dr. Adams also offers office hours in Waldport three mornings a week.

After more than a decade as a chiropractor, Dr. Adams is known for his somewhat unique approach. “We’re a very results oriented practice,” he explains. “We rarely advocate lengthy treatment plans.” In fact most patients are surprised when Dr. Adams is able to relieve their pain in just one or two visits.

Dr. Adams’ practice specializes in healing conditions caused by automobile accidents, sports and workplace injuries. Often his patients are referred by primary care doctors, coaches and insurance companies. Referrals also come from the Department of Veterans Affairs. It’s not unusual for Dr. Adams to come into his office during the evening or on weekends to accommodate the schedules of fishermen and loggers needing treatment.

Lower back pain is the most common reason patients visit chiropractic physicians. In fact knee, ankle, elbow, hand, wrist and finger pain, and even maladies such as indigestion, are sometimes back related. In many cases Dr. Adams can help reverse the effects of injuries caused by repetitive motion, poor lifting habits and incorrect posture.

Using a holistic approach including non-surgical orthopedics, chiropractic adjustments, physical therapy, electric stimulation, exercise science and even nutritional counseling, Dr. Adams has built his practice on results. Patients freed of chronic pain are often emphatic in their praise. Dr. Adams tends to downplay those compliments, saying instead that “my goal is simply to try and make a difference in people’s lives.”

Perry and Darcy own a house in Seal Rock and have three boys. In their spare time the family enjoys camping, often exploring new rivers, lakes and beaches. Having lived elsewhere, the Adams’ truly appreciate the scenic beauty and family atmosphere of the community they now call home.

“I wanted to keep things local” is how Dr. Adams explains his initial decision to move his business accounts to Oregon Coast Bank. He frequently uses Oregon Coast Bank Online Banking to manage his accounts and points out that it is easy to integrate with his accounting software. Perry also enjoys his visits to our Newport and Waldport offices. “Oregon Coast Bank’s customer service is outstanding,” he says. “And you can’t beat their candy.” That may not be what you’d expect to hear from a physician known for his nutritional counseling, but it’s totally understandable when you know Perry.

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NW Vessel Management

 

Ask commercial fishermen why they got into the business and they’ll typically reply that they “love to fish.” What they don’t love is the myriad of bookkeeping, permits, documentation, licenses, quotas and insurance required to operate vessels. Yet with millions in potential revenue and often millions invested in boats, commercial fishing remains a serious business. Fortunately, for many vessel owners, there’s Ann.

Ann Strickler grew up in Siletz and graduated from Toledo High School. After a few miscellaneous jobs she was hired as a receptionist in an accounting office, which led to a bookkeeping and tax preparation position at another firm in Newport, where she stayed for 23 years. Gradually she developed her expertise, particularly in the area of vessel management. A few years back, with the encouragement of several prominent fishermen, Ann decided to open her own firm.

Today, NW Vessel Management represents many of the area’s most successful commercial fishermen. “Our job is to make their lives easier,” explains Ann. “Whatever they need us to do, we take care of it, so they can spend their time fishing.”

NW Vessel Management’s responsibilities include bookkeeping, often for the fishermen as well as their boats. Crew shares must be figured, payroll determined and distributed. Vessel documentation, including permits and licenses, must be filed and renewed. Quotas as well as boat maintenance and upgrades require careful management. Insurance must be in place and when injuries occur, it’s Ann who makes sure that crew members receive the benefits and medical care they deserve.

“This is a big family”, Ann says of her company. “Sometimes we greet them when they return to the docks and they know that our office door is always open to them.” Even though fishing hours vary greatly from business hours, all NW Vessel Management clients have Ann’s cell phone number and know that they can call at any time with requests or issues.

“Each boat is different and we respect that,” points out Ann. “What all of our clients have in common is their hard work and ethics.” Some of the vessel owners have been working with Ann for more than 15 years. To prevent conflicts of interest, Ann never takes on new boats until she has discussed it with her long-term clients. Above all, she understands and practices confidentiality.

“They do the hard work, we’re just here to guide them,” says Ann about the vessel owners she represents. “But when they do well, we do well, and we do everything it takes to make that happen.” As the fishermen’s businesses have grown, so have the complexities. Additional boats are purchased, crew members and gear added, and new fisheries are acquired. Since catches vary wildly and expensive breakdowns are inevitable, building cash reserves becomes essential. Ann helps her clients save and develop spending disciplines, important skills for all growing businesses.

NW Vessel Management has grown also so Ann added a fulltime employee, Ashley Bisson, who she describes as “super smart”. Just as Ann learned the business from the ground up, so has Ashley, who today understands and provides all aspects of vessel management.

Ann’s work hours remain long, but she has no complaints since she enjoys the business so much. With their only child now on her own and living in Corvallis, Ann and her husband Kevin have chosen to downsize and live full time in their fifth wheel, currently in Siletz. They love the lifestyle. Gone is the yard work and chores that used to occupy much of their free time. Often they take weekend trips.

Ann and Kevin have done their personal banking for years at Oregon Coast Bank. NW Vessel Management and the majority of the company’s clients are also Oregon Coast Bank customers. Many of the fishermen have lines of credit and the bank frequently provides loans for vessel purchases and upgrades. In Ann’s words, “Oregon Coast Bank is so involved in the fishing community; I don’t know what we’d do without them.”

We appreciate the compliment and add that without question, Ann does make fishermen’s “lives easier”. NW Vessel Management fulfills a vital need and in the process has helped fishermen’s businesses grow and weather the fishing industry’s unique challenges.

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Clearwater Restaurant

 

Janell Goplen’s memories of growing up in Newport were so fond that she included “eventually moving home” as a condition of accepting her husband Hans’ marriage proposal. Which may have been a first in Beverly Hills, California.

After her graduation from the University of Oregon, Janell became a professional dancer, ultimately moving to Los Angeles where she would open a dance studio and work in a series of marketing positions for Disney Productions.

There she met Hans, a California native. After starting his career in real estate financing and community development, Hans decided to follow his true calling, attending New England Culinary Institute, then working at The Peninsula in Beverly Hills, at the time Los Angeles’ only 5-Star Restaurant.

Hans and a partner would go on to open their own critically-acclaimed restaurant – The Farm of Beverly Hills – a business that grew to five locations, more than 220 employees, and included a commercial bakery and large catering operation. On three separate occasions the company’s on-screen food styling expertise was acknowledged by television shows accepting Emmys for Set Design.

Their lives were exciting, but as Janell and Hans began raising a family their priorities changed, and the bustle of Los Angeles began to lose its appeal. A trip to Newport to visit Janell’s family and attend her high school reunion confirmed their thoughts about making the move. Within two months they had sold their California house and businesses and put an offer on a home in Newport, which closed in just 18 days. Janell was headed home, this time with her husband Hans, daughter Ella, son Colt and Sadie, the family dog.

Soon they had begun the process of remodeling a restaurant on Newport’s bayfront, “just an arm’s length” from the fishing fleet, an ideal location for a restaurant with a commitment to freshness.

Their goal was to create an establishment to serve an ever-evolving menu of locally sourced, beautifully prepared, fresh food – the same formula that had produced 14 years of success and awards in Beverly Hills. But now the attitude would be “laid-back coastal casual” and the prices would be comfortable for local patrons. There would be fresh cut flowers from the gardens of staff and extended family. The service would include “simple touches” like smiles, hellos and soft blankets for evening dining on the deck.

After much anticipation, Clearwater Restaurant opened this past summer to enthusiastic reviews from local residents and visiting “foodies”. The innovatively-prepared fresh seafood was naturally popular, but Clearwater was committed to offering a balanced menu including rabbit, beef, duck, chicken, lamb and bison. Saturday and Sunday brunches have also proven popular, with many locals making it a regular part of their weekend.

Luncheons for local service clubs, fundraisers for school groups, parties for businesses and plenty of catering have made Clearwater a part of the community. As to the restaurant’s success, Janell explains that “innovative food may initially be the attraction, but it’s the service that brings people back.” Hans humbly downplays the cuisine and says “you can’t beat the view.”

Exceptional chefs have a great deal of respect for each other, which is why Hans asked Doublas Soriano, who had worked for him for 14 years in Beverly Hills, to become executive chef at Clearwater. Janell, Hans and Doublas have nothing but praise for their staff, which exceeds 70 during the peak summer months. They also have plenty of nice words about their bankers at Oregon Coast Bank, who arranged financing for Clearwater and handle their business and personal accounts. “They’ve been so helpful,” points out Janell. “They treat us like family, which is the same way we try to treat our customers.”

“Moving from LA to Newport is one of the smartest things we ever did,” explains Hans. “The kids love it, it’s great being around family, and although we spend long hours at the restaurant, listening to sea lions barking sure beats hearing horns and ambulances.”

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Newport Rental

Newport-Rental

 

Perhaps there is a better day to launch a business than the first of April, but somehow 50 years later, Newport Rental is still thriving.

Everett Lawrence was working as a longshoreman when he and his wife Shirley decided to invest in a family business. Their son Steve first started working at Newport Rental while in the 8th grade, loading equipment, cleaning lawnmowers, repairing small engines and eventually waiting on customers. After a stint at Southern Oregon University, Steve became a longshoreman himself and then went to work at a mill.

“Mom and dad asked me if I’d like to come back to the family business and eventually buy it,” remembers Steve. “Since they could only pay me about half of what I was making at the mill, I had to move in with them for five months.” With the help of his parents, Steve then was able to make a down payment on a home of his own.

By 1991, Steve had purchased the business. “We signed the papers in the morning and mom and dad took off that afternoon for a month long vacation,” laughs Steve. “By then I knew I could run the place on my own, but those first few weeks really made me nervous.”

These days three of Steve’s grown children – Joshua, Jonathon and Jessica – are among Newport Rental’s twelve employees. Steve’s wife, Christine, also helps manage the company. Although Newport Rental remains in its original location, the business has gradually expanded over the years to cover about half of a city block.

It might take a book to list all that Newport Rental has to offer, but among the popular items are excavators, man lifts, chain saws, wood splitters, telescoping fork lifts, weed eaters, brush cutters, mowers, generators, pumps, tools and bulldozers. On the non-utilitarian side, Newport Rental also does a brisk business supplying tables and chairs, tents, place settings, wine glasses, even fountains for weddings.

Newport Rental’s array of services includes mower and small engine repair. The company is also a Husqvarna dealer, providing sales and repair of chain saws, brush cutters and lawn mowers.

He works long hours, but Steve obviously enjoys his job. “I like being around the equipment – fixing it and operating it,” he explains. “Most of all I enjoy interacting with our customers. We have folks who have been renting from us since dad and mom owned the company.”

Newport Rental has been a loyal Oregon Coast Bank customer since we first opened the bank in 2002. Prior to that, Steve and his parents worked with the bankers who founded Oregon Coast Bank while they worked at National Security Bank, which was also a locally owned family run bank. “When you’re in the rental business, you need to continually acquire new equipment,” points out Steve. “It’s great to be able to simply call the bank, tell them what I need to purchase, and it’s essentially taken care of.” The company maintains Oregon Coast Bank business accounts, loans and credit lines, but what Steve says is most important to him is the continuous relationship he has had with his bankers.

It may have been their sense of humor that prompted the Lawrences to open a business on April Fool’s Day. Perhaps they were just working too hard to notice. But for half a century, Newport Rental has provided a vital service for families and businesses in our local community. It’s a great success story and we’re proud to continue to play a small role as their bankers.

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Gary Ripka

Gary-Ripka

 

“I grew up in a home where hard work and competition were considered good things,” says Gary Ripka remembering his upbringing in Sheridan and Newport. He started pitching in on his dad’s salmon trawler at the age of 10. By 17, he was captaining the vessel.

“From the first day I ever fished with my dad, I knew that was it,” explains Gary about his chosen profession. In high school he tried to focus on classes – like welding, bookkeeping and mechanics – that would prepare him for a fishing career. During the 80’s, he spent four years fishing in Alaska. After returning to Newport he purchased a boat of his own.

“When I bought the Redeemer it was a rust pile, the worst boat on the coast,” laughs Gary. “But what I saw was a diamond in the rust that had a 500 pot crab permit.” Gary, local shipwright Reino Randall, and Halco Welding worked eight months rehabilitating the Redeemer. Based in Newport, the fifty foot vessel now works multiple fisheries including crab and bottom fish.

These days, it’s Gary’s son, Kenny, who captains the Redeemer, while Gary runs the Western Breeze, a fifty-eight foot vessel. “I sort of have a knack for taking things that nobody wants and making them productive,” explains Gary about the Western Breeze, which he purchased as a bank repossession and then rebuilt it. Gary also recently bought a thirty six-foot charter boat, the Captain Hook, which is based on Newport’s bayfront.

Oregon’s Dungeness crab fishery is one of the last derby-style fisheries in the industry. Instead of working under a quota system, it’s literally a race to catch as many crabs as possible. Vessels like the Redeemer and Western Breeze carry large stacks of crab pots on deck. The extra weight raises a boat’s center of gravity, which can increase the possibility of capsizing. Since the crab season starts in December, adverse weather adds to the danger.

“Crab fishing changes every minute,” says Gary. “We work hard keeping our boats and equipment in top shape and we always stress safety. Luck is being prepared at the right time.” Fishing for crab is a competition with no set hours. “It’s getting harder as I get older, but I can still do a couple of days without sleep,” he explains.

It was the high risk and reward of Oregon’s Dungeness crab fishery that recently attracted the Emmy award-winning television show Deadliest Catch to base a spinoff in Newport. Slated to debut this fall, Deadliest Catch Dungeon Cove follows the captains, crews and families of five local vessels, including both the Redeemer and Western Breeze.

Gary agreed to participate only after gaining assurances from the show’s producers that all fishing scenes would be shot on the first take – there would be no time for reenactments. “A TV pilot doesn’t pay enough money to make you stop during crab season,” he points out. However if the show becomes a ratings success, the participating fishermen can anticipate improved compensation. “If we get a second season they say get agents,” laughs Gary.

Deadliest Catch Dungeon Cove will air in 32 countries with a projected audience in excess of three million, bringing a large amount of attention to the Newport area. “The Oregon Coast as a backdrop is very dramatic,” comments Gary. The show is also emphasizing the support that the fishermen receive from the community and their families. “I’ve seen some of the initial scenes and it definitely gets emotional,” he adds.

In an effort to capitalize on the show’s exposure, Gary and his wife Tabby have purchased a building on the Newport bayfront and are opening Above the Catch, a retail store that will sell apparel and merchandise featuring the logos of the Redeemer and Western Breeze. A tank filled with live crabs and multiple flat screen TVs playing episodes of the show will attract visitors into the store, where customers can also purchase smoked local seafood. Between his three boats and the store, Gary’s businesses now account for more than a dozen jobs.

Gary’s first experience with Oregon Coast Bank came when he was purchasing a vessel. “The people I was buying it from changed the terms on a Friday afternoon then gave me a 48 hour deadline,” recalls Gary. “Since it was a holiday weekend, the large corporate bank I was working with said that they wouldn’t even consider the change until Tuesday, which basically meant I was out of luck.” On the suggestion of another fisherman, Gary called Oregon Coast Bank. “They immediately made the deal happen and I had the check on Saturday afternoon,” he remembers.

“No question, without Oregon Coast Bank, we couldn’t have done some of the things we have done,” explains Gary. “Whether I’m considering equipment for my boats or buying a home, my bankers at Oregon Coast Bank always have their doors open. They respect my opinion, I respect their opinion. It’s been a great relationship.”

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