One of the ways we see Wallowa County business improving is when established businesses upgrade their look, their offerings or their layout. Another is when we see a new business come in to fill a hole.
This week, there are three bulletins about good news in the county.
Mt. Joseph Family Foods
Ambitious plans are moving ahead. One change will improve the shopping experience in several ways.
Marketing adviser Marco Renne of Joseph has come on board to help owner Troy Burgland. Renne worked for 25 years in rural grocery supply in communities such as Estacada, Molalla and Newberg and says his heart is in rural community grocery supply. Now he’s moved to Wallowa County and “sort of retired” –– which means he’s still working but doing it more for the love than the paycheck.
Mt. Joseph Family foods has changed wholesalers and is working with Super Valu, one of the largest wholesalers in the United States.
That means Mt. Joseph Family Foods will have more control over the quality and type of product they carry.
It also means they have more control over advertising.
That’s key because the former wholesaler and the folks writing the grocery’s ads apparently didn’t always know what was important to rural communities.
The store will be writing its own ads and making decisions about what products they carry.
“We have two elements in our community, the local people and the tourists that come in,” Renne said. “We know if we take care of our local people, our tourists will be taken care of as well.”
La Bajio Mexican Restaurant
There’s no way you can have missed the fabulous upgrade that Leo Arenas and family have made to the exterior of La Bajio Mexican Restaurant in Enterprise. The exterior painting marks the restaurant boldly as an authentic Mexican food establishment.
We’re hoping this high visibility helps La Bajio pack ‘em in during tourist season and beyond. Tourists who check the online reviews already know that La Bajio is highly recommended, and locals who frequent the restaurant appreciate the comfortable and well-decorated interior in addition to the great food. Good work, Leo!
Home Again Renovations
A shortage in general contractors who will take on remodels is Home Again Renovations in Wallowa. Owner Christian Niece has been in the area since April, but he wanted to get going and have a few local jobs done so that word of mouth could begin spreading before he “went public” in the newspaper.
He is a licensed contractor and says that the name of the company is relevant to him (as well as to customers) because he grew up in Wallowa County and moved back last winter.
“When my father passed away in 2014, I realized I would lose my connection to Wallowa County, which was unacceptable to me,” he said. “I knew it was time for me to come ‘home’ to the land where my heart is.”
Niece has more than 20 years of construction experience, owned a construction company before the 2007 recession, worked for the State of Oregon in the maintenance department of the psychiatric hospital in Salem, worked in management at the energy efficient Junction City campus, and much more.
This deep background of positions from wheelbarrow operator to facilities manager with a $5 million budget has equipped him to take on just about any job and know how to both modernize your project and keep costs under control.
A correction for the folks at the Josephy Center for Arts and Culture. The new mini donut shop owned by Bill Gore, “Baggins Wagen,” is on a parking lot belonging to the Josephy Center for Arts and Culture not Mike Musia of Mike’s Garage. The lot is used for Arts Center parking during evening and weekend events. The Josephy Center allows Mike Musia of Mike’s Garage to use the lot during business hours, and it has rented the pink concrete slab to Bill Gore for the donut season. Gore gets his water for all those lovely flowers from the Josephy Center.