Hat trick video features Hood River athletes

Check out the Hood River Hat Trick video, which aired Oct. 25 on NBC’s “Go Pro Presents World of Adventure,” an Emmy-Award-winning series showcasing content from the best athletes and
stories in adventure sports, features a hat trick in Hood River. Athletes featured in the vid include kiteboarder Sensi Graves, kayaker Rush Sturges and mountain biker Gary Paasch.

Thanks to Amy Hunted of Weinstein PR for tipping us off. You can also find the vid on the World of Adventure web site.


Sense of Place lecture turns spotlight on Historic Columbia River Highway

If you’re one of the hundreds of people who use the Hatfield Twin Tunnels Trail — or other restored sections of the Historic Columbia River Highway — you may want to learn more about the origins of this Gorge throughfare.

If so, join Robert W. Hadlow, senior historian with the Oregon Department of Transportation, for a lecture about the highway, from 7 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 5, at the Columbia Center for the Arts. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

It’s part of the GO! Sense of Place lecture series, and is being made possible in part by a grant from Oregon Humanities (OH), Green Home Design + Build and Friends of the Columbia Gorge.

Cost is $8 general admission, and $5 for current GO! members.

Bagel shop ownership transfers to Juice Bros.

As the rain falls and the cool winds blow, Autumn Woods has shed ownership of Hood River Bagel at 13 Oak St.

As a sign of growth and commitment to a larger year-round presence, Matt and Patrick Joyce – the Juice Bros., summer proprietors of a cart at Fifth and Cascade — took over the bagel space Saturday, Nov. 1, Woods confirmed via Twitter.

Look for a new brand at the location adjacent to Gorge Surf ShopFreshies Bagels & Juice.

Retail businesses face challenge of finding talented workers

In two separate chats this week, people connected with the retail industry bemoaned the challenges of finding good people to take jobs in floor sales.

We have shared here, in the past, the hiring needs of local retailers. This quest for quality is nothing new.

But the topic jumped again to mind this week, as we approach the ultra-important holiday season. Gifting season is a time of increased sales activity, so critical to the bottom line of many retailers.ChartPic_06b3a10b-c556-4adb-8dcc-db57543a30be

With that activity comes a short-term need for help. Walk around town and you can see the signs in the windows, asking for applicants.

“Retail is hard,” said Ana Lenoir, who made it look easy and pleasant while bagging my stuff at Bealls.

Hard? What could be hard about bagging purchases and ringing up the sale? If you need to ask, you haven’t been paying attention. It’s a customer service job, and customers require answers, direction, patience, instruction and commiseration. That implies mental engagement, not to mention on-your-feet time, and that implies fatigue when stretched over eight hours and

Typically, in exchange for a minimum hourly wage, or something in that neighborhood (employers, however, often sweeten the pot with merchandise discounts). For more on compensation, check this study by the National Retail Federation.

Our society tends to view retail work as entry level, a bridge to something better, and anything but a path to riches. Sad, when we all can think of marvelous people who did an exceptional job helping us find the perfect purchase, and how those experiences cemented a sense of loyalty toward a given business. The retail sales team is like the infantry — without it, you lose the war.

Lenoir and her supervisor, Margaret Gleasman, the store’s assistant manager, were talking about the challenges of finding and hiring for the coming holiday season.

“It’s hard to find good people who are OK with part-time work,” Gleasman said.

It’s hard to find good people, period, said Steve McLennon, who helps his wife, Heidi, with her business — Ananas Boutique. In a glancing chat, he told me how relieved they were to have closed their second store in The Dalles earlier this year.

Yes, sales hadn’t achieved expectations, but the biggest challenge had been finding and keeping good help. McLennon, an emergency room doc and drumming instructor, said applicants commonly brought with them a mix of social dysfunction and a lack of basic work skills. That made it particularly difficult to find people who could show up on time, on a regular basis, and do the job after they got there.

On top of all that, Lowe’s, the big home improvement retailer, is exploring use of robots as sales service support in its stores. In a story in The New Yorker, writer Vauhini Vara works around to the inevitable discussion about how this tech app may affect service jobs there and elsewhere.

If you’re an employer with hiring challenges, or a retail service worker with employment challenges, please share your thoughts here.

Providence residents welcome Friday trick-or-treaters

Tired of dragging your kids across town to neighborhoods full of strangers that don’t really want to be invaded by … your kids?

Take the kids instead to visit the elderly residents at the facilities of Providence Senior Village on Halloween. The residents love the kids and their costumes. And the kids can bring a little excitement to otherwise quiet lives.

Senior Village residences, which include Down Manor and Providence Brookside assisted living and memory care facilities, are situated off Brookside Drive just west of Tucker Road.

They will be open to costumed visitors from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 31, for trick or treating.

A rich and chunky broth of edible info …

Funny photo of the week. Are we the only ones to question the need for type that tells people the  huge dog in the huge banner is not the same size as what you get for 50 cents at Ikea? Logic may require some assembly.

Funny photo of the week. Are we the only ones to question the need for type that tells people the huge dog in the huge banner is not the same size as what you get for 50 cents at Ikea? Logic may require some assembly.

Gorge Grown Food Network is hosting a panel and discussion on Monday, October 27, with the focus on how you build a business with … intention. What’s that mean? Briefly, it’s an approach that is offered as an alternative to “business as usual.” The event runs from 6 to 8 p.m. at Pfriem Family Brewers. Lisa Spicka of Maracuja Solutions will moderate a panel that includes social entrepreneurs Lindsay Miller of Gorge Owned!, Richard Halpern of EcoApprentice, and Wells Neal of Equal Exchange). …

City manager Steve Wheeler tells downtown businesses that the city will level the shopping field with free parking downtown from Dec. 15 through Dec. 26. …

Gary Rains tells us the Gorge OEN Accelerator Boot Camp is wrapping up its coaching efforts with five companies, 14 participants this year, plus 16 professional presenters and a wide variety of mentors/coaches. The companies are: BlackFox Nut Company – gourmet nuts at Ducks games (Eugene); Mekos Corp – cardlock fueling accounting (Vancouver); Talkoot Software – managing product information for Adidas and others (Portland); Columbia Gorge Softworks – medical records software to manage your personal records  (Hood River); and NuCulture – great tasting non-cheese probiotic cheese spreads (The Dalles). Officials with each company will share their story from 1 to 4 p.m. on Nov. 4 at Springhouse Cellars. It’s a fund-raiser for Gorge Innoventure, hence the cost of $25 ($50 at the door). Shop early and learn more …

The beer here. Sandra Evans tells us that Full Sail’s Session and Session Black lagers were recently honored with gold medals at the 2014 United States Open Beer Championships. This and other recent honors for the Stubbsy Twins position the two in the “Top Ten List of lagers Brewed in the United States.” Session is the top American pilsner, and Black is the top Munchner Dunkel …

Deadline is coming up Oct. 28 for this year’s Gorge Soup program. The dinner, at which entrepreneurs pitch their ideas in hopes of walking off with proceeds from the event, will be Nov. 11 at Celilo restaurant. Tickets are $35 per person, with 60 tickets available – on sale now at Brown Paper Tickets. About $7 from every ticket will go to cover the cost of the soup and supplies, with the remainder going into the prize pot. Go to the Gorge Soup web site to learn more and download application forms …

Please drive safely and look for alternate routes around Button Junction (Hwy 35 and Hwy 30, also known as the China Gorge meets Tum-a-Lum junction), as hundreds of runners and spectators criss-cross Sunday, Oct. 26, during the 6th year for the Columbia Gorge Marathon and Half Marathon. Event organizers say it will include almost 1,400 people this year. The race Start/Finish is located in Hood River at the Port Marina Park. he Marathon starts at 9 a.m. with the Half Marathon at 9:30 a.m.  Racers will be going through the four-way stop at Button Junction, crossing Hwy35 and traffic will be briefly held for athletes. The busiest time at this intersection will be from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. …

Several opportunities remain to greet Hood River candidates

Hey, apologies that the Buzz hasn’t had more frequent or timely coverage of the local election. Yours truly has been dealing with some medical issues, hence, more personally pressing priorities.

That said, we do know there’s a local election going on, and home now from the hospital, we wanted to share some dates for you to meet the candidates and get smarter about casting your vote.

Thanks to library director Buzzy Nielsen, planning commissioner Nate Devol, the Chamber of Commerce, Hood River News and all-around business guy Maui Meyer for orchestrating a series of meet and greet sessions.

From 5 to 7 p.m. on the following dates at Celilo Restaurant, you can drop in and meet the following candidates, ask questions and clarify positions on thing of importance to you:

October 20 (today) – Bob Palmer (for city council)
October 21 – Becky Brun (for city council)
October 27 – Tim Counihan (for city council)
October 28 – Greg Colt (for mayor)
October 29 – Dave Bick (for city council)

and from 9 to 11 a.m. on the following dates (sorry, Susan, no intent here to biff your appearance info; Prov had me in stir) you can meet candidates at Nate’s Dog River coffee emporium …

October 20 -Susan Johnson (for city council)
October 21 – Becky Brun (for city council)
October 22 – Dave Bick (for city council)
October 23 – Tim Counihan (for city council)
October 27 – Peter Cornelison (for city council)

Lastly, mark your calendar for the evening of Wednesday, Oct. 22, for a candidate forum at Dog River, sponsored by the Library and Hood River News. Candidates will gather to meet voters in the first half of the event, and mayoral candidates will address prepared questions in the second half.

The event runs from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Event recaps highlight agenda of monthly downtown business meeting

For those of you who have business interests in downtown Hood River and aren’t already on Jenny Cohen’s e-mail list, we’ll share the agenda for the next casual meeting, 8 a.m. Tuesday in the back room at Bette’s (5th and Oak).
8 – 8:05 – Introductions
8:05 – 8:15 – Chamber Update – Mike Glover
8:15 – 8:45 – Downtown Events Discussion Update – Recap on Hops Fest &  Harvest Fest; Planning for HR Holidays & Lighting, Downtown Advertising, Chamber Advertising, etc.
8:45 – 8:55 – Open Discussion
8:55 – 9 – Action items for next meeting

Van Meter building changes hands; new owner plans enhancements

The owners of 2nd Wind Sports, Discover Bicycles and Sustain Interiors have a new landlord.

Commercial real estate agent Greg Colt has confirmed the sale of the former Van Meter furniture store building, which runs along the north side of State Street between Second and Third streets in Hood River.

Colt said sale of the building closed in mid-September. The new owner is Ron Jamis, who built the Jamis Bicycles brand before selling it in 1990 to G. Joannou Cycle.

Colt said Jamis hopes to reclaim the mezzanine space at Discover, used now for an indoor cycling track, and convert it to office or other more profitable uses. He also is looking at other unspecified improvements to the building.