Heather Tyreman owns and operates the Bronze Antler Bed and Breakfast on Main Street in Joseph but you may know her from her volunteer work in a variety of arenas.
She was a city council member in Joseph in the past, and currently plays oboe with Grande Rhonde Symphony Orchestra in La Grande and the Oregon East Symphony in Pendleton, serves on Wallowa County Chamber of Commerce Board, serves on the Wallowa Business board, serves as treasurer of the Oregon Bed and Breakfast Guild, is treasurer of the Wallowa Valley Music Alliance, is involved with the Hurricane Creek Grange and is on the Dragons in the Wallowas dragon boat team.
She and husband Bill Finney are both retired military with more than 20 years each in the U.S. Army medical corps and have lived in the area for 17 years.
What brought you to Wallowa County?
We had been thoroughly involved in healthcare for many, many years and we thought it would be kind of fun and interesting to break out of that and operate a small business we could do ourselves. We moved here because we were impressed in the small business friendliness of the community, the landscape (obviously) and because it fit the profile of the kind of place where we were interested in setting up a bed and breakfast – somewhere far enough from pretty much any metropolitan center that if you came out here to visit the area, you’d need a place to stay.
How has your career move worked out?
Rather well. We’re very successful. We were very well accepted by the city and had the support of our neighbors. We bought this house from Gary and Jeanine Sather, spent nine months remodeling to make this house suitable to be a bed and breakfast and opened the doors in June of 2001 – car show weekend. Operating a bed and breakfast is kind of like having an extended group of second cousins. Staying at a bed and breakfast is often times a bit more personable than staying at a hotel or motel because you have more interaction with the owners. People seek out this kind of lodging knowing that’s the kind of experience they’re going to have. You hear a lot of stories or tell one of your own. We’ve had some fabulous guests. Professionally, we’re now recognized by AAA and members of Select Registry (a national lodging association) – for us that’s a very big deal. We’ve also been very supportive of lodging being involved in the county. I brought forward the recommendation to establish the Joseph City lodging tax (3 percent).
What has Wallowa County taught you?
It’s possible to not be from Wallowa County and live here and be successful and to establish relationships with people. Being in the military we never had the opportunity to put down roots. But one thing you learn from the military is if you move every two, three or four years, you have to jump in right away when you get (to the new place) and that’s exactly what Bill and I have done (in Wallowa County).