Shops at the Village

It’s an understatement to say that Don Sheeley and his wife Debbie Boone are willing to accept risk. Since making the difficult decision to become entrepreneurs 21 years ago, Don and Debbie have continually risked their own savings to purchase, renovate and develop five grocery stores, two restaurants and dozens of homes in ten small Oregon towns, creating well over a hundred permanent jobs. Simply put, when Don and Debbie have believed in a small town, the community has benefited.

We’ll start with the backstory and it’s a wild one. Both native Oregonians, Don and Debbie had achieved relative financial stability by working hard for others. Don had been a butcher who had worked his way up the ladder to become an executive at Unified Grocers. But at the age of 38 he was required to relocate to California. That was the moment that Don and Debbie decided that living in Oregon was more important to them than a steady paycheck.

Borrowing from Debbie’s parents and mortgaging their own beach house, they began purchasing a variety of commercial and residential properties, upgrading businesses, creating jobs and brightening communities in the process. Don and Debbie didn’t just provide the vision and funding, they participated in the renovations and often worked for years in the businesses they were developing. In some cases, they mentored employees and eventually sold them the businesses. To this day, each of those businesses continue to thrive.

Don and Debbie have a special relationship with Pacific City. It’s where they purchased and remodeled their first grocery store, second restaurant and multiple homes, including several that they’ve lived in themselves. In fact, they recently acquired and began renovating a family compound so that their daughters and their families can enjoy Pacific City with them.

It was January 28th 2020, that Don and Debbie purchased their latest Pacific City investment, Shops at the Village, an 8,000 square foot mall on Brooten Road. That date is important because it wasn’t too many days later that the pandemic changed everything. Probably not the best time to be redeveloping a retail mall. It did give Debbie an opportunity to kid Don – “you just had to buy that shopping center, didn’t you,” she’d remind him with a smile.

With state mandates severely affecting the ways that businesses could operate, tourism shuttered, and people avoiding shopping trips as much as possible, Don realized that the mall’s businesses would all be facing difficult times. “I told them, we get it, and stopped collecting rent for months”, he recalls. “Then, as our remodeling caused additional disruption for the shop owners, we offered more free rent, which enabled them to survive very challenging circumstances.”

Every square foot of Shops at the Village was eventually remodeled. Bathrooms were added to every establishment. When Don and Debbie first acquired the property, there were just five tenants, who operated their businesses a limited number of hours. Today there are ten with additional shops soon to come. “As we signed lease renewals and brought in new businesses, we asked each of them to raise the bar so that the mall could be open seven days a week with consistent hours,” explained Don.

Perhaps the best-known shop in the mall, Lucky Beach Boutique, now occupies more than triple its prior space. Lines often form to get into Cold Water Coffee and Pacific Coast Candy. A popular new shop, Ritual, offers luxury self-care products. Business is also booming at the Blue Nickel, the mall’s antiques and collectibles shop. Shops at the Village also houses thriving offices for Rob Trost Real Estate, Ticor Title and Guaranteed Rate, a mortgage broker. “The three real estate related businesses all coordinate well together, which makes it sort of one-stop-shopping for families buying Pacific City area homes,” comments Don.

A new day spa is coming soon and two additional offices are being developed upstairs. Don and Debbie hope to attract a restaurant to Shops at the Village and future expansion may include food carts and outdoor dining on the adjacent lot, which they also purchased.

“Our goal is to be a catalyst for community development. I guess the best way to put it is that we believe in Pacific City and we believe in this mall,” explains Don. “Our tenants are all locally-owned family businesses and it’s exciting to see the mall become a vibrant place again.”

Don gives much of the credit to Wing Ridge Construction, a longtime Oregon Coast contractor that assigned a five-person crew to renovate the mall. “They bought into the vision right from the start and are still working tirelessly on the project.”

Don and Debbie also have very kind words to say about their bankers at Oregon Coast Bank, who have financed many of their projects over the years. “They’re as committed to the community as we are,” points out Don. “Oregon Coast Bank continues to loan hundreds of millions of dollars to families and businesses on the coast. Despite the pandemic, it took just one phone call and they were here on site with us in Pacific City asking how they could help. Not every entrepreneur has a true partner, we do with Oregon Coast Bank and we really appreciate that fact.”

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G3 Electric

Jason & Heather Geil seem to embody the American Dream: a stable and growing company, a home on a premier fishing river, and two successful children, with at least one of them planning to join the family business. What isn’t apparent is how hard they’ve worked to make their dreams a reality.

Jason was born on the central coast and graduated from Nestucca Valley High School. Heather moved to the area at the age of ten and is also a proud alumnus of Nestucca Valley.

He began his electrical career installing fiber optic cable for Qwest Communications and then U.S.I. Tiring of life on the road and yearning for more time with his growing family, Jason returned to the coast in 2002 and began an electrical apprenticeship with Miami Cove Electric in Garibaldi.

Most people don’t realize what an extensive process that is. In order to qualify to even take the test that the Oregon Building Codes Division administers to become an Electrical Supervisor, you must first work four to five years as an apprentice and then four to five more years as a journeyman. Jason also worked an additional seven years for EC Electrical before deciding to open his own firm.

G3 Electric is both an electrical contractor, serving families and businesses from Manzanita to Neskowin, and a plumbing contractor, ran by his cousin Tyler Geil, covering Pacific City to Yachats. The name G3 comes from Jason and Heather’s last name, Geil, and their hopes that their sons might eventually join the family business.

“We handle everything from wiring a home to installing and maintaining complex motor controls for agricultural facilities, breweries and restaurants,” explains Jason. On any given day Jason may install a hot tub, heat pump, or water heater, or even be called to service or fix a state-of-the-art canning line at a local brewery.

Heather is G3’s office manager, handling scheduling, purchasing, quotes, billing and accounting systems. The company is currently a 4-person operation, including a fulltime plumber and plumber’s assistant. Now with a stable customer base and consistent growth, G3 expects to add at least one electrical apprentice in the future.

How do they account for the company’s success? “When we say we’re going to do something we get it done,” points out Heather. “We move quickly on the job. We’re paid by the hour – our customers deserve to see action,” adds Jason.

What spare time they have, Jason and Heather spend camping, hiking, hunting and fishing with their two sons. Their eldest, Noah is living in Corvallis and taking college classes to further his education. Marcus, a senior at Nestucca Valley, has already expressed an interest in joining the family business as a plumber.

Longtime customers of our Oregon Coast Bank Pacific City office for their family accounts, Jason and Heather naturally became Oregon Coast Bank business customers when they opened G3 Electric. “We know them, they know us and they really care,” explains Heather. “You’re not just another face at Oregon Coast Bank,” adds Jason. That’s a business principle that G3 Electric seems to practice also. All of us at the bank are honored to play a small part in their success.

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Lucky Beach Boutique

 

Browse through the fashions at Lucky Beach Boutique in Pacific City and you can’t help but smile. There’s a certain aesthetic present, too eclectic to label, call it a continuity of style that customers definitely respond to. For lack of a better world, Lucky Beach Boutique definitely has its own vibe.

Everything displayed at Lucky Beach Boutique has been carefully curated by the store’s owner, Nancy Horning, and her story is as interesting as the fashions she’s brought to the coast.

Nancy grew up in the small logging town of Mill City, in the foothills of the Cascades. Yearning to see more of the world, she enlisted in the Navy after her high school graduation. Besides two deployments in the Persian Gulf, the Navy brought her to England, Scotland and much of Northern Europe.

She then settled near Washington, DC and began raising a family. About nine years ago, Nancy and her children moved back to Mill City. Soon she had caught the entrepreneurial bug and was operating a thrift store.

When her twins had graduated high school, Nancy decided to relocate to Pacific City. Not only did she love the area, but she had also determined that the town was in need of a women’s clothing outlet, not just any store, but a place where “those of us who are still young at heart could find fun clothing that would still feel comfortable”. That sounds like a tall order, but stroll through Lucky Beach Boutique and her description seems totally accurate.

Located on Brooten Road, Lucky Beach Boutique employs two and has garnered quite a following for fashion as well as accessories, jewelry, candles and Oregon-made keepsakes. The whimsical signs that adorn the walls (see photo above) are by Oregon artist Chelsea Bennett of Netarts. In a word, the feeling of the store is welcoming. “We never forget that our customers are here to have fun – they’re on vacation,” points out Nancy.

Keeping up with the latest trends means traveling to fashion markets in New York, Los Angeles and Las Vegas, an aspect of the job that Nancy thoroughly enjoys. Last year she also traveled to Vietnam and is currently planning a trip to the Philippines.

So how does a person build a boutique from scratch and grow the business to the point that it’s ready for expansion? “Maybe it was the Navy that gave me the follow-through and determination to do things,” explains Nancy. She also credits her children for inspiration.

“These days you can bank anywhere, but I chose Oregon Coast Bank because the people there are amazing,” says Nancy. As much as she enjoys her visits to our Pacific City office, she’s also a regular user of our suite of Oregon Coast Bank online banking products. That allows her to bank from anywhere at any time, which of course makes all the sense in the world for someone so comfortable traveling the world.

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Beach Wok

 

As popular as it has become, Beach Wok is a relatively new addition to the central coast dining scene. But Timm and Tammy Lakey, the Pacific City restaurant’s owners, are far from new to the business.

Timm, a native of the Willamette Valley, has worked in the industry his entire adult life. Tammy, whose mother is Vietnamese and father was an American soldier, was born in Saigon and raised in Kingston, Washington, where her parents have owned a restaurant for 39 years. Tammy started working in the family business at a very early age, in fact she remembers that the school bus would drop her off at the restaurant.

Timm and Tammy met on the job, working for a restaurant in La Jolla, California. After living and working in Boise for a while, they sold their home and followed their love of kiteboarding to Hood River. At that point, they made a decision about their careers, too. As Timm puts it, “working for someone else made us realize that we needed to work for ourselves.”

The Lakeys opened a restaurant in Hood River, which they successfully operated for more than a dozen years. While living in Hood River they invested in a home in Pacific City, which they intended to use as a vacation rental, with the hope of being able to move to the coast within five to ten years. When an unsolicited offer was made for their Hood River restaurant, they were able to move fulltime to Pacific City ahead of schedule.

Timm took a job bartending and serving at the Pelican Brewing Company, where Tammy became a manager. Between kayaking, crabbing, fishing and walking their dogs on the beach, the Lakeys quickly fell in love with living fulltime at the coast. Soon they were searching to purchase a building to open a restaurant in Pacific City of their own.

Beach Wok opened in July of 2017 and has built a loyal and enthusiastic customer base. The Asian-inspired menu features many recipes from Tammy’s mom, including Vietnamese Baby Back Ribs, Banh Mi sandwiches and Pad Thai. Homemade Korean Meatballs tossed in a citrus chili soy glaze, General Tso’s Fried Chicken and Bacon Katsu Skewers are just a sampling of other popular items. Nothing is pre-made. Even the meats are hand cut. Vegan and gluten-free offerings are extensive.

Draft beers include Kirin Ichiban, Breakside IPA and a rotating tap selected by Timm, an admitted “hophead”. Oregon wine is sold by the bottle, glass or in bottles to go. Asian Mojitos are the most popular house-made cocktails. The Lakeys and their customers often salute each other with post-meal shots of Japanese Gekkeikan Sake.

Beach Wok’s unique décor features custom woodwork by Timm fashioned from an old dock found at a local kayak shop. The dock wood was also used to frame historical photos of the area.

The affinity between the Lakeys and their regulars is readily apparent. “We get a lot of hugs from our customers,” says Tammy. “You don’t get that working for a big company.”

While Timm is the chef and Tammy runs the front of the house, it’s not unusual for both to cook, bartend or serve customers. Beach Wok, which now employs five, is open for lunch and dinner five days a week; Friday through Tuesday. With book work in the morning, Timm and Tammy typically work 15-hour days. Even on their “off days” they’ll spend several hours doing restaurant prep work.

Despite the long hours, Timm and Tammy are still excited to come to work each day. “It’s what we do, it’s what we’ve done for our whole lives, we love it,” explains Tammy. Yet the couple still likes “to play” during their time off. Timm, an avid motorcyclist, has hit 178 mph racing his Ducati on the track at Portland International Raceway.

Oregon Coast Bank customers since they first purchased a home in Pacific City, the Lakeys have plenty of nice things to say about their bankers. “Remembering customers’ names, remembering what they want, Oregon Coast Bank treats their customers the way that we treat ours,” points out Tammy. “They’re friendly, they’re helpful and they’ll frequently call in a food order when they know we’re coming by to do our banking,” adds Timm. “I’d call that a great relationship.”

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Mike & Margee Loney

 

Like most kids in grade school, Mike Loney’s mind tended to wander. So he drew. Not doodles like his classmates, but detailed pictures showing remarkable realism.

After graduating high school, Mike attended Advertising Art School in Portland and sold his first painting in a gallery. But by then he’d found another passion named Margee. Soon they were married and raising a family in the Clackamas area. To make ends meet, Mike worked construction.

Eventually Mike became a contractor. In his spare time, he’d paint or fish. In fact, it was fishing that brought Mike, Margee and their two children to the coast. About 32 years ago the Loneys purchased and began remodeling Riverview Lodge on the Nestucca River. After running the lodge and marina for five years, they sold it and built a home in Cloverdale on four acres. Mike continued in construction, principally doing countertops and finish carpentry, which gave him even more time to paint and fish.

Success in the art world is often more about publicity and timing than talent. Historically, many great artists never achieved fame during their lifetimes. Although Mike’s paintings have sold well in local galleries and are prized by a growing group of collectors, his work has yet to be recognized on a national or international level. That’s a shame. Because if you study his paintings side by side with the works of more acclaimed artists, Mike’s art compares favorably.

But to Mike, fame has never been the goal. “I’m getting to do what I love to do”, he explains. “I paint half a day, fish half a day.” Mike and Margee both love living on the coast and they appreciate the scenic beauty – “there’s so much to paint around here,” he says.

Although he uses watercolors to paint birds, all of Mikes other works are oils. He paints in layers, always background forward. It’s a detailed process – three months to complete a work is fairly common. Mike’s originals typically sell for $3500 – $5000, although collectors tell him that his paintings would sell for far more in larger markets. His limited-edition prints are generally available framed for around $250. Mike sometimes accepts commissions, depending on whether the subject interests him. “If you’re going to spend months on it, you better enjoy what you’re painting,” he explains.

Of course, making a living as an artist requires far more than painting. Bookkeeping, gallery showings, web postings and a wide variety of other business arrangements are all handled by Margee. Married for 47 years, the Loneys make quite a team and clearly enjoy each other’s company.

Mike and Margee have had all their business and personal accounts at Oregon Coast Bank since we first opened our Pacific City office. That’s been another great relationship. Margee calls our bankers “wonderful, down-to-earth people”. Quite often she brings homemade baked goods in with her deposits. We’re proud to display Mike’s art in several of our branches. The photo above shows the Loneys in front of a seascape we recently commissioned Mike to paint for our Lincoln City office.

You can view the paintings above and many others on Mike’s website: http://www.l1yart.com/index.html. Yes, if he chose to paint in New York or any of the other major art capitals of the world, his work would probably be hanging in museums by now. But to Mike, being able to live in Cloverdale has its distinct advantages. Which would you rather fish? The Hudson or the Nestucca?

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Waylon & Sandy Porter

 

Sandy Porter attributes her work ethic to growing up on a dairy farm in Cloverdale. It’s a trait she shares with her husband, Waylon, who typically works sunup to sundown at his family’s rock quarry, as an excavator and as a third generation dory fisherman. That’s Zach, their son, in the picture above, hanging signs to show what’s available that day at Farmer Creek Market, another of the Porter’s businesses. Apparently that work ethic seems to be understood by another generation.

The Porters love living in the area where they grew up and wouldn’t want it any other way. But making a living in a small town often involves wearing several hats. “It keeps things interesting,” explains Sandy. “Whatever needs to be done each day, gets done.”

Waylon is a partner with his parents at Little River Quarries on Little Nestucca River Road in Cloverdale. The quarry, which has been in his family since 1932, processes rock in a variety of sizes. He’s also an independent excavating contractor, working on jobs throughout Tillamook County and sometimes beyond.

When the ocean is relatively flat Waylon launches his dory boat. His crew will be a friend or sometimes Sandy and Zach. Depending on the season, they’ll fish for salmon, ling cod, albacore tuna, black rockfish or halibut. The Porters sell much of their catch fresh at Farmer Creek Market. The rest is freshly frozen, vacuum sealed and sold at the market when fresh fish is not available.

Sandy worked in the foodservice industry before opening her own restaurant, Blacktail Cafe, which she operated successfully for several years until she and Waylon were offered the chance to buy her grandparent’s farm in Cloverdale, which had been in the family since 1945. Growing vegetables and flowers on a 42 acre farm would seem to be enough work for anyone, but Sandy is also employed by the school district from 5 am till 1 pm each weekday.

With a strong local clientele and plenty of visitors who notice the sign between Hebo and Beaver along Highway 101, Farmer Creek Market offers whatever is in season. Operating on the honor system, customers may find vegetables, cut flowers, nursery plants or hanging baskets. Sandy provides the pies, scones, cookies and muffins which she bakes in her licensed commercial kitchen on the farm.

The Porters, who do their own bookkeeping for each of their businesses, have a longstanding relationship with Rose Wharton, the manager of our Oregon Coast Bank Pacific City office. On a busy day – which for Sandy and Waylon is most any day – they appreciate being able to quickly check on their accounts through Oregon Coast Bank Online Banking. But they admit to actually enjoying their visits to the branch, where the entire staff always greets them by name.

Living in a small town obviously agrees with Sandy and Waylon. So does hard work. What you’ll never hear from them is a complaint. Yes, it does tend to rain rather frequently along the coast. And yes, much of their work is outdoors. Yet after every long day, Sandy looks at her husband and son and thinks the same thing: “I don’t know how I got so lucky.”

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Kiwanda Coastal Properties

After graduating from Nestucca Valley High School, Nicole Twigg wanted to see the world, or at least more of it. She travelled almost 5000 miles to study abroad in London. In her own words, she “made some good choices and a few bad ones” before “settling down” to earn a degree in Marketing and Communications from Portland State University. It was at PSU where she met her husband, ironically an Englishman, David Twigg.

Having experienced life elsewhere made Nicole realize that the small corner of the world she was from, Pacific City, was pretty special. Special enough to move home to and someday start a family.

Nicole’s mom, Julie Spencer, owned Kiwanda Coastal Properties, a business she had founded back in 1986. Six years after joining the firm herself, Nicole became a co-owner.

With five realtors, all longtime residents of the area, Kiwanda Coastal Properties has a thirty plus year track record of successfully representing buyers and sellers. The company’s principal broker, Barbara Taylor, has been with the firm more than twenty years. But Kiwanda Coastal Properties is also well known as the longest established vacation rental company in Pacific City.

Currently managing about fifty beach properties – from inexpensive cabins to large luxury homes – all in Pacific City and Tierra Del Mar, Kiwanda Coastal Properties attracts thousands of potential renters. “Some families have rented from us for decades,” explains Nicole. “Traditionally most of our renters are from the Northwest, but these days we’re receiving inquiries from all over the country through our website and other forms of online marketing.” It’s a rapidly growing market. “For the past several years we’ve had more renters than available houses,” admits Nicole.

With several regional and national competitors trying to gain a foothold in the local market, Kiwanda Coastal Properties’ biggest competitive advantage for vacation homeowners is local service. “We have a 24-hour response line and since all our rentals are within three miles of our office, we can take care of problems quickly. That’s something those out-of-town companies just can’t provide,” says Nicole.

Kiwanda Coastal Properties employs a year-round vacation rental management staff of 15, 30 in the summer. “Ours is a well-paid loyal team, some of our housekeepers have been with us for more than ten years,” points out Nicole. The company provides a full range of repair and maintenance services for its homeowners, even recommending improvements to keep a property in demand.

Despite the company’s long-term success, Julie and Nicole understand that their business has to continually evolve. “It’s a changing world, we need to stay dynamic,” comments Nicole. “We focus on technology, marketing and individualized service.” What hasn’t changed is the close relationship that Kiwanda Coastal Properties has with its vacation homeowners. “I know their kids’ names; they know my kids’ names,” says Nicole.

Julie and Nicole also have that type of relationship with their bankers at Oregon Coast Bank. “We get talking about more than business,” laughs Nicole. Kiwanda Coastal Properties often refers real estate clients to Oregon Coast Bank for their mortgages. “Their knowledge of the area is very helpful,” mentions Nicole. “They’re also very good at non-traditional loans, which is much of the local market.”

The world does change and wise business owners embrace those changes as opportunities. But genuine customer service remains essential. That’s what Julie and Nicole seem to understand so well. “We consider our homeowners to be our business partners,” concludes Nicole. “It’s that simple.”

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Don Sheeley

 

Don Sheeley grew up in Banks; his wife Debbie Boone is from Beavercreek. Hard work got them to the point of relative financial stability, but it was a strong desire to remain Oregonians that put them on the road to entrepreneurial success. It’s quite a story, so we’ll start early.

Until the age of 38, Don was a butcher, who worked his way up to Supervisor of the Meat Departments for Zupan’s Markets. He then accepted a position as an executive at Unified Grocers, but after several years was asked to relocate. Faced with leaving their families and friends or finding another job, Don and Debbie chose an entirely different route. “We didn’t want to move to California, so we started buying things,” remembers Don.

Borrowing $80,000 from her parents, Don and Debbie first purchased a long-established Roseburg restaurant, The Jersey Lilly. That was in 2003. Two months later they borrowed $100,000 against their beach house to purchase and remodel Paradise Market in Pacific City. During the winters, Don would work Sundays through Wednesdays at the grocery store and then drive to Roseburg to help Debbie at the restaurant Thursdays through Saturdays. In the summers, Debbie made the opposite commute. They held onto the restaurant for six years, eventually selling it to their manager, who’s operated it successfully ever since.

During 2006 and 2007, Don and Debbie bought the market in Cloverdale and the Thriftways in Jefferson and Scio, meaning they were now managing four grocery stores simultaneously.

It was also in 2006 that Don and Debbie got into the residential development market, purchasing four lots behind their Pacific City store and partnering with local contractor Ben Johnson to build and sell four townhomes, each of which they were able to sell before the recession. In 2009 Don and Debbie became contractors themselves, building their own home on the Nestucca River.

In 2010, Don and Debbie purchased The Oar House, a restaurant in Pacific City, and remodeled it within 30 days in order to keep the OLCC license. During 2012, they sold the restaurant to Jessica Kliever, one of their first employees, who has managed it successfully ever since.

It was right in the middle of the recession that Don asked Fred Postlewait, the President of Oregon Coast Bank, who had financed several of his prior acquisitions, to meet him at an abandoned unfinished housing development in Lincoln City. Fred asked him which unit he was planning on buying. Don answered: “all of them”. With the bank’s green light, Don and Debbie purchased, finished and eventually sold all 15 townhomes.

One of those townhomes was traded to purchase North Dallas, a restaurant and lounge in Dallas (Oregon) that Debbie still manages. Since then, Don and Debbie have purchased, remodeled, lived in, and eventually sold several higher end residences, including a former Street of Dreams home in the Oregon City area. Currently residing near Salem, Don and Debbie’s latest project is restoring to eventually sell a very large home in Sahhali Shores in Neskowin that had been neglected and foreclosed upon.

In Don’s words: “We’ve developed a trust factor – Oregon Coast Bank always takes an interest in what we’re doing and provides the financing to make things happen.” Don has a great rapport with Rose Wharton, who manages our Pacific City office, and also consults with Fred Postlewait and Jill Meengs when working on real estate projects.

Now completely out of the grocery business – having sold the Cloverdale building in 2009 and the Pacific City, Jefferson and Scio groceries within the past several years – Don and Debbie continue to work harder than they need to, considering their portfolio of investments. In fact, Debbie’s parents keep urging them to retire and smell the roses. That may or may not happen; entrepreneurs seem to have a way of always discovering that next project.

What is definite is the impact that Don and Debbie’s projects have had on the communities in which they have invested. At their peak, their ventures provided employment for 95 people. Today they still employ more than 20 and help support many other jobs for independent contractors. In addition, the businesses they have sold to other Oregonians continue to provide valuable jobs.

When you look at all the projects and businesses that Don and Debbie have invested in, it’s hard to fathom that it’s all happened in just 13 years. But where others see problems, entrepreneurs often see promise. Factor in their persistence and hard work, and Don and Debbie’s success becomes a story worth telling. We’re just glad they never moved to California.

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Leo & Karen Kuntz

Leo-&-Karen-Kuntz

Head up Miami Foley Road, just east of Garibaldi, and you’ll find a bucolic 160-acre property owned by Leo and Karen Kuntz. From the road you may get a glimpse of the 80-90 head of grass-fed Black Angus cattle that Karen raises. But most folks don’t realize that the property also houses Nehalem Marine Manufacturing, a company Leo founded almost 40 years ago, that is recognized today as a leader in wetland restoration and salmon recovery.

Karen considers herself lucky to live on “a little piece of heaven” and although her work starts before 5 a.m. and often lasts until dark she’ll tell you: “It’s a wonderful life; I wouldn’t trade it for anything.” When she’s not haying, fixing fences or keeping cattle off the road, Karen somehow finds the time to also do the bookkeeping for Leo’s company. Karen’s heifers are sold as breeding stock to other Oregon ranchers; her steers and other stock are direct marketed as grass-fed beef to familes in Oregon and Washington.

Leo also uses the term “a little piece of heaven,” but to him heaven is in the estuaries that line the Oregon coast. In fact, he’s considered to be an expert in getting that habitat working again.

Juvenile Coho grow fifty percent faster in estuaries and are four times more likely to return there as adults. Unfortunately the traditional culverts that connect to the estuaries are far from “fish-friendly”.

Nehalem Marine Manufacturing’s mission is to provide the highest level of wetland restoration allowable while still recognizing present land use. Simply put, farms and existing commercial development do not have to be removed for an adjoining estuary to return to health. Leo refers to his company’s work as “compatible restoration”.

A former commercial fisherman, Leo introduced boat building technology into the restoration industry. Nehalem Marine Manufacturing developed, patented and has installed hundreds of tidegates in three states. Built of marine grade aluminum, the company’s tidegates are fish-friendly, dependable and also are used for flood control. “A quality tidegate can open the doorway to restoring an entire watershed,” explains Leo.

With four fulltime employees at the manufacturing facility and many other workers hired for installation projects, Nehalem Marine is an important local employer. Besides manufacturing tidegates and tidegate regulatory accessories, the company also does culvert, levee and buoy repairs, as well as related road and small bridge construction.

Karen has known Rose Wharton, who manages our Oregon Coast Bank Pacific City office, since they were children. But she also has good things to say about our entire Tillamook and Pacific City staffs. “It’s so nice to walk in the bank and be called by name; we feel like we’re part of the family at Oregon Coast Bank,” she says. “It’s important to have a good relationship with your bankers,” adds Leo.

Karen is right. Live on a farm at the Oregon Coast and you get to share “a little piece of heaven”. But those farms and our other coastal businesses can co-exist with healthy estuaries. Leo’s vision of fish-friendly tidegates and compatible restoration is working.

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The Rusty Cow

The-Rusty-Cow

 

For close to a hundred years, the local pharmacy was the hub of downtown Cloverdale. Sadly, in 2013 the historic pharmacy closed when John and Carol Griggs retired after 37 years of operating the business. There were other empty storefronts in Cloverdale, but because of its size and prominence, the closure of the pharmacy seemed symbolic of a downtown in decline.

“It was my New Year’s resolution”, says Debbie Hale. “We love Cloverdale and something needed to be done to help it.” Of course most New Year’s resolutions are soon forgotten for lack of effort; but Debbie, who owns and operates a local dairy farm with her husband Dave, was no stranger to hard work.

Soon Debbie and Dave had purchased the 4200 square foot Cloverdale Pharmacy building. With the help of their daughter, Kelly, and her husband, Josh Armstrong, as well as a few local tradesmen, the Hales spent months renovating the structure. By July, the building had been completely repurposed and three new Cloverdale businesses were open and serving customers.

Debbie and Kelly operate The Rusty Cow, which sells an ever-changing array of vintage antiques including furniture, clothing, quilts, records, and kitchen items. The store is partitioned to accommodate 27 independent vendors, most of which are local. The vendors come in often to add merchandise and freshen their displays. Open seven days a week, The Rusty Cow has already proven to be a hit with locals and visitors.

The Hales were determined to retain some of the building’s unique character, which is why the large neon pharmacy sign still greets customers as they enter The Rusty Cow. They also had fond memories of the store’s historic soda fountain and recruited Katie Lane to operate it as an independent business.

Now called Katie’s Korner, the soda fountain serves breakfast, lunch, espresso and a variety of made-from-scratch treats baked by Katie. At least a dozen dairy farmers come in at 7:30 each morning and gather at the longest table to enjoy breakfast and coffee. Lunches are also busy and Katie’s two young daughters often pitch in.

When the sun shines, and even when it doesn’t, there’s a definite nostalgic appeal to an old fashioned soda fountain. Katie’s Korner does a brisk business selling shakes, floats, cones and sundaes all made from locally produced Tillamook ice cream.

The building’s third business is a salon, Hair Remedies, owned and operated by Kelly. A long-time popular local stylist, Kelly has an established clientele of more than a hundred, about 40% of which are men. Open by appointment only, including evenings, Hair Remedies also provides facials, hair coloring and waxing.

As if she’s not busy enough, Kelly also operates an additional business, Crazy A’s Horse Hotel. Located in Cloverdale, although not in the same building, the business provides overnight horse boarding for locals and visitors.

Besides their Cloverdale locations, each of the four businesses mentioned above has one thing in common. They all do their banking with Oregon Coast Bank. Debbie, Kelly and Katie have all known Rose Wharton, who manages our Pacific City office, since childhood. Each has done their personal banking with Oregon Coast Bank for years and were appreciative of Rose’s help as they set up their businesses.

Although they all now watch their business balances on their phones and computers, Debbie, Kelly and Katie each enjoy visiting Oregon Coast Bank, if only to say hello. We enjoy their company and are proud to be their bankers.

Apparently there are still people who follow through with their New Year’s resolutions. Debbie did and because of her efforts downtown Cloverdale is on the rise again.

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