Archive | April, 2009

Try something new

21 Apr

One of my favorite quotes is from the poet Ezra Pound. “Make it new,” he wrote. Question: Do you? How?

Sitting a hotel room on Kauai, I found myself thinking about an experience I had shortly before departing the Hood. My wife needed some guest checks for the restaurant she operates, and contemplated working in a side trip to Office Depot or somesuch on a trip to the airport. I suggested that she instead try what has become my favorite local printer in Hood River, Weatherly Printing. This is a classic old print shop, with reams of paper, piles of forms and stationery tucked into every nook. So old school, but the thing is, they get it done — quickly, with quality. And at very good prices. Which is more than I can say for their local competition — always challenged to simply return a phone call, let alone get’r done.

So, Kathy runs up there, and the guys quickly print up some guest checks with her business name on them, for what she felt was a very good price.

I share this story, because I think that sometimes, we get the idea that the lack of competition in Hood River prevents us from getting goods or services at an affordable price and of a quality comparable to what we might get in the “big city.” Yes, that happens, but if you take a look around, you CAN find options.

Another new favorite of mine, by the way, is Infinite Graphix, also on the Heights, not far from Weatherly. Juanita and Eli have gone great work, on short turn-arounds, for good prices, on everything from plastic-core signs to banners and decals. And they will return your call.

If you’ve been frustrated elsewhere, check these folks out. You DO have options.

Yu-UMMMM!

5 Apr

Is there anything better than really good bread? Crisp on the outside. Chewy on the inside. Just a bit of salt to complement the earthy allure of good flour, water, yeast.

Hold on, ‘cuz it’s comin’. Michael Eggebrecht, who founded the original Loafer’s in Bingen in 1996, wants back in the game. His family has a hand in the dough for more than 120 years, and although he works as a consultant to help start other bakeries, he saw an opportunity to do his own thing in the recent closure of Panzanella.

Friday afternoon, he was in there with his son, testing recipes and ovens. And giving away free loaves — delicious loaves, I might add. I was chewing some of his fine ciabatta as I strolled around First Friday.

Michael says it will be called either Eggebrecht Baking Co. or Eggebrecht Artisan Bakery. Either way, look for an opening in early May. Dibs on the first loaf.

What this town needs is a …

3 Apr

Business is about the idea. Will it sell? Is there a market for it? Can you sustain enough buzz to keep selling?

So, friends and I found ourselves recently noodling around ideas for new entries in the local scene. Dave Barringer of Naked Winery was talking about the Sushi Bait Shop — you know, the first day the fish arrives, it’s sushi; the next day, it’s bait.

More seriously, Melissa Bailey was fantasizing about the space to be vacated by Annz Panz. She’d like to see (someone else start) a Four Corners Food Court — with a bakery, lunch stand, bento shop and cereal bar (yes, cereal — apparently such a thing does exist, somewhere, Fruit Loops and all).

Hey, how about Mini-Golf? It’s so retro, it’s hot. Or, like the friend of mine once suggested, a combination bar and golf practice range … called Drink and Drive.

Other ideas itching for a dollar?

OPB is coming to town

1 Apr

Got a call Tuesday morning (3/31) from Pete Springer, a name that sticks. He’s a reporter from Oregon Public Broadcasting, who found this blog and wanted to chat about a story idea they’re exploring. What? To track a downtown Hood River business over the next few months as a window into how that business is dealing with the economy. I gave him some names of possible subjects — Hood River Hotel, Melika, Shortt Supply, and Nora’s Table. Word is, Pete has chosen to focus on not just one, but three downtown businesses. He’ll be in town next week, to begin research. It should be an interesting series. Of note, all three of his subjects are managed and/or owned by women. Not unusual in the Hood. Downtown in particular, a solid majority of businesses are owned by, or have heavy involvement of, a woman. I pitched a story along those lines a year ago to Marcus Hibdon, our media rep for the Mt. Hood Territory regional tourism marketing partnership operated out of Travel Portland. No traction yet, but it’s another story waiting to be told.