HOOD RIVER BIZ BUZZ

News today, history tomorrow


Weekly Farmers’ Market prepares for 2014 debut

2014 GGF Market Poster

Eight days and counting, until the debut of the slightly rebranded Hood River Farmers’ Market at 4 p.m. Thursday, May 1, at the familiar Hood River Middle School site.

Vendors will be selling locally raised vegetables, fruit, meat, cheese, eggs, bread and more. In addition, the weekly event that runs through November features live musicand local hot food vendors.

Operated by Gorge Grown Food Network (GGFN), the market and its organizers encourage shoppers to bring grocery lists and load up for the week.

“You really can buy almost everything you need at the farmers’ market,” says Todd Dierker, GGFN’s Food Access Programs Manager.

“We really want community members to do their regular shopping at the farmers’ market where more of the money they spend actually makes it into the hands of the region’s hard-working farmers.”

Gorge Grown will also continue offering its food stamp match program that gives an extra $5 free to food stamp shoppers at each market.

GGFN’s Executive Director Michelle McGrath says shoppers can expect to find an abundance of asparagus, radishes, rhubarb, and salad greens, plus starts for their own gardens.

The market is open every Thursday from 4 to 7 p.m., from May 1 to Nov. 20.

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Windsurfing Association buys popular Swell City launch site

Big news from the Columbia Gorge Windsurfing Association, which has purchased the popular Swell City windsurfing launch off Washington State Route 14 about 4 miles west of the Hood River Bridge terminus.

According to Julia Norman, a sailor familiar with Swell City, it was open to public use for a daily usage fee or yearly pass, similar to other sites except on a per sailor basis, not per car.

It now falls under management of the group dedicated to representing the interests of windsurfers in the Gorge. Site access and improvement has been a longtime priority of the organization, but the CGWA has no firm plan for the site’s future at present.

Greg Stiegel, executive director of the CGWA, announced the news in an e-mail blast to members.

“While a long term strategic plan for the site has not been decided, our short term goals include working with current site manager, Brenda Yeatts, in operating the site as it has been for the 2014 Gorge Windsurfing season,” Stiegel wrote. “We are excited to get to know our Swell City constituency better and for a great summer.”

The transfer of the one-acre property just to the west of the popular Spring Creek Fish Hatchery access became official on Monday, April 21.

Stiegel says the CGWA board of directors unanimously supported the purchase at their April 17 meeting.

Persons with questions about the future of the site may contact Stiegel by e-mail.

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New owners take over Mountain View Cycles

Signs in the windows at Mountain View Cycles announce a change of leadership at the downtown Hood River bike shop.

Signs in the windows at Mountain View Cycles announce a change of leadership at the downtown Hood River bike shop.

Mountain View Cycles in downtown Hood River has taken a turn to the new.

Rafe and Lydia Lehner have purchased the store at 205 Oak Ave. from Wes and Julie Swearingen. The deal closed April 15.

Lydia, who works at John L. Scott real estate in Bingen, Wash., says they bought the business and assumed the lease.

A love of biking — mountain biking, in particular — steered the Lehners into business.

“Both of us are into cycling,” Lydia says. “Biking is Rafe’s passion.”

Rafe, by the way, was named for the 1960 gold medal Olympic decathlete, Rafer Johnson.

Originally from Ridgefield, Wash., he moved to Colorado to attend Colorado Mountain College. Lydia had the same idea, moving from Missouri to attend Colorado State University. They met working for Vail Resorts at a Specialty Sports Venture retail store.

The shops sell and service ski gear in the winter, and bike gear in the summer. “That was how Rafe got introduced to biking,” Lydia recalls.

Six years there led to a stint tuning bikes in Breckenridge before the two high-tailed it to Bend and, a year later, to Hood River in September of 2013.

Before sealing the bike shop deal, Rafe had been working at Mt. Hood Meadows.

“Rafe had been wanting to run a bike shop forever,” Lydia says.

She says he started looking at business sale sites on the Internet, which is what led him to the Hood River opportunity. Talks took a year to before the sale closed, Lydia says.

She says Rafe will focus on the bikes, and she will handle administration and marketing in her time away from real estate sales.

Don’t look for huge changes, Lydia says. The name will remain the same. They’re working on a new logo.

“Rafe’s approach will be great customer service, and working with all different styles of bike lines,” Lydia says.

She says they weren’t at all nervous about jumping into a competitive market, with three other established shops.

“Each shop has its own niche,” she says. “We’re hoping to work closely with the other shops.”

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Add Open Studios tour to list of events luring visitors to Gorge this weekend

Yikes — this weekend is starting to look a little scary, what with all the stuff going on.

Add to the list (sorry for delayed appreciation here) of the annual Gorge Artists Open Studios Tour, April 11 (today) through Sunday, April 13. See wild artists in their native habitat.

Thanks to Caroline Mead at the Columbia Center for the Arts for reminding us about this great chance to visit artists in their studios, from The Dalles to Mt. Adams and in between.

It’s all free, and open to everyone. Self-guiding tour maps are available from local visitor info providers, including the Hood River Visitor Center near the Marina.

“All participating artists have been juried in,” Mead says. “They represent the highest quality of work available in the region and a broad spectrum of media, styles and subject matter.”

Get more info at the web site, or direct questions here or to participating artist Linda Steider via e-mail or by calling 509-493-1974.

Oh, you ask, what else is going on?

Hard-Pressed Cider Fest in Odell.

Start of Pear Blossom Festival month.

Start of Gorge Wine Growers Passport tasting room tour month.

That’s all.

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When this snack tray rolls around, you know you’re gonna wanna nibble …

Lots of stuff going on in and around the Hood this month. Here’s a roundup of items worth your attention …

Several readers shared link to a nice Gorge plug, “36 Hours in Hood River, Ore.,” that appears in the April 6 print and online editions of the NY Times. …

It’s Passport month for the members of the Columbia Gorge Wine Growers Association. Kicking off this weekend (April 12-13), the event runs for three weekends, and features lots of promotions in the nifty little passport that wine lovers will be taking around the area. Look for trickle-back to other area businesses.

Speaking of wine, Wine Enthusiast magazine, in its May 2014 edition, lavishes the love on several bottles from local producers. It gives a 92-point rating to the Analemma 2012 Oak Ridge Gewurztraminer, and 91 points to the Mosier winery’s 2012 Atavus Vineyard Gewurztraminer. Across the river, Syncline Winery scores six 90-plus ratings, led by the 95-point evaluation of its 2011 Ciel du Cheval Syrah and 93-point 2011 Boushey Vineyards Syrah. James and Poppie Mantone’s label also garners 93 points for its 2011 Grenache, 91 for both its 2012 Boushey Vineyard Grenache Blanc and 2011 Mourvedre from Red Mountain, and 90 points for its 2011 Mourvedre incorporating a variety of Columbia Valley fruit. Bravo! …

Oh, learn more about the wine stylers of Lyle in this Oregon Wine Press story, plus updates about new tasting rooms at Analemma and Viento wineries

GO! (Gorge Owned) is amping up the volume for Earth Month, which culminates April 22 in Earth Day, and a screening of the documentary film, “The Clean Bin Project.” Go here and learn about ways you can save mama Earth, enter the Tod Lefevre Sustainability Champion Awards and take part in Washington’s Community Pride weekend. …

The next meeting of the informal downtown business group is coming up at 8 a.m. Tuesday, April 15, in the back meeting room of Bette‘s. Topics for discussion include First Friday planning, recycling options, potential for another downtown Rail Jam event, and street banners. All are welcome. …

First Hard-Pressed Cider Fest rolls out on Saturday, April 12. Details here at the sponsoring Chamber of Commerce web site

 

 

 

 

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Mystery solved: Meet the new courts, same as the old courts (just … newer)

indoor_courts_ad_v2

You may have seen the teaser ad in the Hood River News, but you haven’t yet read the news behind the ad.

Buzz readers asked for details. Clearly, there are passionate tennis people out there.

“Do you have any info on the big yellow advert in Wednesday’s HR News?” wrote local therapist Sally Reichmuth. “People are wondering.”

“As an avid tennis player, I’m dying to know more!” wrote Keely Kopetz, part of the family-run Wy’east Vineyards. “Tennis courts take up a lot of room so maybe a new building is going up? Are they hiring tennis coaches? And who are ‘they’?!?! Surely this will put the very well-established tennis program at Hood River Sports Club into some sort of jeopardy.”

Not to worry, Keely. Clark Emmerson, who owns the Sports Club with his wife, Carol, confirmed for us that “we are the guilty ones. We’re actually, literally putting in new tennis courts. We’re going down to the original surface, and reinstalling state of the art hard surface courts.”

The Emmersons, who bought the club in 1998, added the courts 13 years ago.

“In keeping up with the level of tennis that we have brought to the community, we felt it was time to treat our current members to brand new courts,” Emmerson told the Buzz. “And with the influx of new people into the  community, we wanted to take the opportunity to draw new interest.”

Work will start Monday, April 14. “If all goes well, they’ll be done around April 21 or 22,” Emmerson said.

The club is the only full-service facility in Hood River, with indoor swimming pool, racquetball, jacuzzi, sauna, and spaces for aerobic and weight-training.

In addition to hosting a variety of classes and kids in the Gorge Gymnastics program, the club also takes gymnastic equipment and instruction into local schools.

Club members have reciprocal use privileges with the Dalles Fitness and Court Club, which the Emmersons bought six years ago.

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Summit Projects shifts direction, prepares to move from longtime offices

Summit Projects, an early entry in the digital marketing universe and a fixture upstairs from Doug’s Sports since 1997, is embarking on a major business transformation, according to company founder and chief executive Craig Sabina.

The changes involve layoff of seven people and relocation of a smaller, core staff of four from their current offices to space that Sabina owns above G. Williker’s, The Gift House and other Oak Street retailers. That move will occur by June 1. The company will also have two employees working in Dallas, Texas.

Sabina says the company has been exploring and growing into the design of hardware and integrated software, specifically for the aircraft industry. Sabina says they started working with the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, then developing apps for pilots, and then evolved into product and software design for BendixKing, a subsidiary of Honeywell International.

Summit formed in February of 1995, working mainly in print publications. An opportunity to develop an early web presence for Nike led it into a specialization in that digital development arena.Sabina says the world of digital marketing has become extremely congested, making it tough to sustain a profitable business. The new avenue looks much more promising, he said.

“Our growing opportunities in product development are exciting, to say the least,” he said in a news release. “They really leave us with no option but to sharply increase our focus in this area, winding down the digital marketing side of the business for the foreseeable future. As a company going forward, our investments in staff and infrastructure will be in the industrial design space.”

Two years ago, the company experienced some major upheaval, with a walkout by several staffers who disagreed with the company’s direction.

Sabina had high praise for the seven people who will be leaving the company. “They are great people,” he said. “They’ll bring tremendous value to any company fortunate enough to hire them.”

 

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Double Mountain chalk artist Ayers tells tales behind the ales

Anneka Ayers displays just one of her dramatic chalk art tributes to Double Mountain beers.

Anneke Ayers displays just one of her dramatic chalk art tributes to Double Mountain beers.

Ever look up from your coaster and cold one over at Double Mountain Brewery, and find yourself thinking, “OMG, that is some amazing artwork up on the wall.”

Thank Anneke Ayers — and Jarod Jensen.

Jensen did a lot of the panels before Ayers took over in July 2013. That’s when Ayers, a University of Montana student of digital media design, joined DM as its marketing coordinator.

With that position, she inherited responsibility for overseeing the chalkboard panels for each new beer hitting the DM lineup.

There are a bunch, each uniquely creative and compelling.

Taken together, however, they can look a bit like visual overload. You have to drill down close to isolate on the fun.

Ayers does much of her work using digital design software, but for the wall panels, she does everything by hand using colored chalk.

That talent also translated recently to new labels for recent bottled DM brews — the Sinister 7, Carrie Ladd and Sacre Bleu releases.

Beyond her day job, Ayers freelances — whipping up chalk art at Dirty Fingers Bicycle Repair and for the Flathead Lake Brewing Co. in the little town of Bigfork, Mt., north of her alma mater.

Chalk on, grrrl.

 

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