One of the joys of a good road trip is getting well away from the interstates and onto the blue highways of William Least-Heat Moon fame. It is on just such roads that my wife and I found ourselves on a recent trip to Death Valley.
Klamath Grill (highly recommended for breakfast or lunch)
As we drove through southern Oregon, the clock was approaching lunchtime and we were beginning to feel a bit hungry when we heard a radio ad for the Klamath Grill on Main Street in Klamath Falls. The ad made it sound like a great local place to stop for lunch. We were not disappointed.
This breakfast and lunch spot serves up a nice variety of diner favorites along with some chef specialities such as Swedish Pancakes, Dutch Babies and a Cranberry Club Sandwich.
Waiting for my Huevos con Chorizo to arrive, I picked up a table topper to read. Anyone who has eaten at a small town diner might recognize these simple booklets with local history, bad jokes, trivia and area advertisements to read while waiting for your food.
As I was reading through the booklet, I ran across a reference to the “only solar-powered outdoor store in the US”, The Ledge. Checking my phone, I discovered the store was only several blocks from the diner. So we decided we would walk over to the store and take a look around before heading on to Tule Lake and Susanville.
Who says you can’t get clothes made in America? Suits made in Massachusetts. Shirts made in North Carolina. Ties made in New York City. I admire Brooks Brothers for continuing to offer quality clothing made in the United States. For more information and videos of their facilities, visit:
Made in America-Brooks Brothers
I lived most of my life in the Midwest. So when I finally caught up with some friends by moving to the PNW, they excitedly shared their love for Fred Meyer, a regional chain owned by Kroger. There are amazing places similar to SuperTarget or Walmart Supercenters. But truth be told, I really never became a regular customer.
But on our recent road trip, we stopped at a Fred Meyer for some supplies and I was reminded of one thing that I, even someone who has never had children, appreciate in the larger Fred Meyer stores, Freddy’s Playland.
Freddy’s Playland is a drop-off day care offering an hour of free care for children 2 to 5 while their parent(s) do their shopping. What a great service and something that keeps Fred Meyer customers loyal. Kudos.
By Pat Ament from WikiCommons
Royal Robbins passed away Tuesday in Modesto CA.
Robbins was a one of the climbers from the Golden Age of Yosemite climbers. In 1968, he and his wife Liz Burkner opened Royal Robbins Mountain Shop in Modesto and later created the clothing company that also bore his name.
I had the chance to meet Royal at a trade show in the 1980s. It was his humble nature during our meeting that reminds me that in retailing it is not about you but it is about the customer. Rest in peace Royal.
I will admit that I do not buy as much music as I used to. Part of it may be my age. Part of it may be the availability of music from other sources (Amazon Prime on Echo). Part of it may be that I listen almost exclusively to NPR when I am driving near home.
But one of the main reasons is that I have lost touch with Steve. Steve was not an old friend or a work colleague. He was not a music reporter for some hip website, publication or YouTube channel. No, Steve was just an employee of a record shop I used to frequent in Seattle, Silver Platters, at their old South Center location. I didn’t really know Steve. In fact the time that I ever spoke with him was when he happened to be the cashier that rang up my purchases at the front counter.
Even though we exchanged few words, he did communicate with me and significantly influenced my musical tastes and my purchases. You see Silver Platters used to have a display located at the front of the store that featured music that the staff members were listening to. Over time, I came to realize that of all the staff members, Steve had musical tastes that paralleled mine the closest. If Steve recommended a cd (this was the early 00s), I would buy it. I was never disappointed. I miss Steve and his musical recommendations.
Door handles of the DQ Grill & Chill in Bend, OR
Almost as iconic as the trademarked curl on the top of their cones is Dairy Queen’s red spoon.
It is a stroke of branding genius that DQ restaurants are beginning to adorn their stores with oversized red spoon as door pulls. This photo was taken last weekend in Bend OR. I always appreciate themed door pulls at specialty stores. The pulls are a great way to create a positive customer impression!
You do not have to take my word for it. The red spoon door pulls were featured in LockNet, the website about doors and locks for businesses. See link below.
This is a sign that retailers in Portland, Oregon are posting on their doors. It is their attempt to give stability in these less than stable times. It is not about politics but about customers. Well done.
Unlike the “For Lease” sign from the landlord or a hastily scribbled note taped to the door, when Kit and Ace closed their pop-up shop in Portland they left a strong message. On the shop window was a professionally printed poster with the message that they had accomplished their mission. During their short lease, they connected with the community, tested things out, collected feedback and hoped to stay in touch, for now, through their website. Nicely done.
Powell’s @ PDX
“The Heart is a Lonely Hunter”- the sought after book
I had the opportunity to drive out to the Portland International Airport (PDX) on the December 31st to pick up my wife returning from Vancouver, BC. Many people dread a trip to an airport particularly if they are not taking off to some exotic place and I would generally consider myself one of those. I have done enough travel in my time to generally dislike most airports.
But not PDX. Those of you that have had a chance to use PDX know that it is a pleasant airport with decent parking, a manageable size, quick & friendly TSA security and operated efficiently; all of which adds up to make PDX a great airport. But you do not have to take my word for it. Travel & Leisure magazine has named Portland’s airport “The Best Domestic Airport” for four years running and Conde Nast ranked PDX the second best airport for 2016 recognizing it for its local shops.
While in the car, I was listening to Oregon Public Broadcasting that was featuring authors talking about the first adult book the read when they were young that influenced them as a writers today. One of the interviewed named The Heart is a Lonely Hunter as being most influential to her. After describing the book, I decided that I would have to get ahold of the book and read it. Which brings me to the focus of this post.
I took the opportunity to wander through Holiday Land at Macy’s in downtown Portland last week. This particular Macy’s store is closing in the coming months; the building started as a Meier and Frank’s in 1909.
As I watched the children anxiously waiting to visit with Santa, I could not help but think of the countless other children who made Macy’s a family tradition for Christmas that will soon only be a memory.
Here is a little homage to the store and its logo.