For its 50th issue, the Yachats Gazette is proud to touch base with some of our earliest advertisers. A great thanks to them, and to all of you—readers and advertisers—who support this community venture!
Interview with Valeria Tutrinoli of Toad Hall
TYG: How’ve you been doing?
Valeria: I’ve been doing quite well. As well as all of Yachats—it’s just been a fabulous summer for everyone.
TYG: I agree! I’ve gotten some new clientele as well.
Valeria: Yes, I’ve noticed that your paper has gotten larger, more pages...
TYG: And also, the readership online has really increased. Although adding the Yachats Gazette Facebook page definitely helped.
Valeria: How do you keep track of who is involved?
TYG: Well, I’m not sure, but we’ve gotten a lot of comments and a lot of “likes”!
Valeria: What’s not to like about the Yachats Gazette? Well, I find that I have gotten a lot of new business from the Yachats Gazette.
Valeria: A lot of people pick up the Yachats Gazette and see the ad while they are eating their breakfast and having their coffee. They’re intrigued by the ad, and they come in! So I thank you very much for having the Yachats Gazette, and allowing me to be one of your advertisers, because it’s been very successful for me. I hope it’s successful for your other advertisers as well!
TYG: Thank you for being one of my first customers!
Valeria: It was my honor! I enjoy the Yachats Gazette because I find out things about the community that I didn’t know. I’ve had this store for twenty-eight years now, and there are aspects of people’s lives that I had no idea about; but reading the Yachats Gazette, you get into a lot of personal things that people have accomplished, and that you may not know about. So somehow, you’ve managed to get people to open up and tell you things that they haven’t shared with others in town.
TYG: All you have to do is ask...
Valeria: Evidently you ask the correct questions—and you’re very engaging. [...]
TYG: So, what’s new since the burglary?
Valeria: [laughs] Since the break-in... Well, a lot of things are new since the break-in, since so much was taken that I had to re-stock, so I chose other things to replace them. For example, they took an entire display of socks. So this gave me a chance to try a new company, and these socks are advertised as “the world’s softest socks.” And they are, in fact—so they’ve done quite well. [...] This robbery turned out to be crisis as opportunity. It gave me the opportunity to get the new socks, get some new jewelry, and to replace what was taken. I got a beautiful new window, I have bulletproof glass in my front door, and I do have a new back door.
TYG: Oh, it’s pretty! I like it!
TYG-Editorial Assistant: Have you tested it yet?
Valeria: [laughs] I haven’t shot anything at it.
TYG: And what’s this? [motions towards the window]
Valeria: Well, we’ve put up grids on all the windows to make them less accessible. So, all is well. [...]
TYG: It’s been good talking to you!
Valeria: A pleasure, always!
Interview with Mari Irvin of Mari’s Books and...
TYG: So, how have you been doing?
Mari: Really, really well. We’ve been here now about nine and a half years, and we’re still having fun, so we’re still here!
TYG: And I see you still have your first ever dollar bill—or is that a five?
Mari: A five, yes... that was a good start.
TYG: Where were you then?
Mari: We were in the building next door, where Just Local is.
TYG: Ah, so you were in the really, tiny one. The first bookstore!
Mari: Well, there was a bookstore in town here—a man named Don had it. But then he left it, and the store was vacant for about six months, I guess. And when we were up here once, we saw that it was vacant, and we said “Now’s the time!” And then my sister joined us, and moved out here from Minnesota. So that’s the three of us, Jeanine, Mary, and me!
TYG: Ah! I’m trying to figure out how small your selection was—it must have been tiny!
Mari: Well what was interesting was that when we first moved into this space from next door, we were amazed at how many books we had. It wasn’t as filled in as it is now, but when we spread the books around a little bit, it looked quite good! But we’ve added a lot more... and you can always find place for another book.
TYG: Absolutely. Especially on these shelves—there’s plenty of room left! But I’m pretty sure that when you started out, your selection must have been quite tiny.
Mari: Well, we started out with a lot of our own books—books that we didn’t think we’d ever want to read again. Some of them were pretty good books. And then a lot of our friends in San Francisco said “Oh good! Now we can get rid of these books we’ve been storing around for a while.” So we had boxes and boxes of books from friends. Later on, we began to buy most of our books—or many of our books—from our customers. They knew what we liked to have, and sometimes they would sell us back books that we sold them!
Mari: Well, they’d read them and didn’t need them anymore.
TYG: Pretty cool store!
Mari: Thank you.
TYG: I’m trying to imagine the Yachats Video Store in this space. What a jumble!
TYG-Editorial Assistant: I’d forgotten that!
Mari: And before that, Paddy Kaits had a second store here. She had her store down there [at the north end of town, across from the Commons], and then she wanted a store in the center of town. It just got to be a little too much [work for her]. And after the video store there was another store, Rabbit & Gypsy. [...] Jerry Clark, who owned the complex here—in fact, still does now—he talked to us and he said “You guys need a bigger store.” And we said, “Jerry, we can’t afford a bigger store!” And he said, “You’ll be surprised how well you do.” And the next year, we increased our sales by twenty per cent. So he had a good idea, and we’re glad we took him up on it.
TYG-EA: Has anything else changed for you in four years, since the newspaper started?
Mari: Well, I think all three of us have come to really feel very much at home in Yachats. Mary, at some point, thought she might move back to Minnesota to live, and we’ve always thought we would go back to San Francisco, but that doesn’t get talked about quite so much. So I don’t think any of us are going to leave town soon! Really, it’s a good town. And there’s a group of people who stop in the store every day, or every other day, and it’s just a pleasant place to be!
TYG: Well thank you so much!
Mari: Well thank you, Allen, and before we end this, I’d like to congratulate you on your longevity—you’ve done this for more than half of your life at this point...
TYG: Well, no—more like a third, because I started when I was eight, and now I’m twelve.
Mari: My math isn’t quite so good. [laughs] But we get many, many compliments on your paper. In fact, there was a guy in yesterday who said “Is there no issue out yet?” and I said, “No, it’ll come out about the 1st of the month.” “Oh. [in a droopy, disappointed kind of voice] Okay. I’ll be back.” You’ve got quite a following.
TYG: [little laugh] Did you tell him about the online portion?
Mari: Yes, I always do!
TYG: Thank you so much!
Interview with Valerie Odenthal of the Antique Virgin
TYG: So how have you been?
Valerie: Good, how have you been?
TYG: Good as well... I take it the store is doing well, based on the new expansions?
Valerie: Yes! We’ve had some growing pains, but it’s been going really great. People seem to like more room.
TYG: I bet! I like what you did with this two doorway effect.
Valerie: Thank you! It’s fun...
TYG: And also this picture right in the middle, the picture that changes. From one doorway it sort of looks like it’s normal, and from the other doorway it looks like it’s different.
Valerie: The Mona Lisa hologram. It’s kind of famous here. Everybody comes in and sees it, and they love it. It was one of Kay’s favorite pictures [Kay is the former owner of the Antique Virgin].
TYG: How do you make that, anyway?
Valerie: A hologram? Not really sure. Probably a picture within a picture. [...]
TYG: So, you’ve got a lot of new merchandise in. Where did those come from?
Valerie: The pictures? A couple of people I know, one of them my husband, another one a friend, have provided the pictures. They’re really great photographers, so they have them matted. And we sell quite a few of them.
TYG-Editorial Assistant: How have things changed for you in the last four years?
Valerie: Oh! I’ve made a lot of friends. The store is more fun, for me. I enjoy it—it’s become an extension of myself. It’s tested me and stretched me in ways I never thought.
TYG: Like what?
Valerie: Just the business end of it... I’ve been in business a long time, but having your own business is a totally different animal. Learning what works, what doesn’t; paying attention, paying attention to customers; it makes you be aware on a different level.
TYG: I’ve never been employed in a different business, but I can see how being a desk jockey in a big corporation would be different from doing something like this.
Valerie: Yes. Very different. Like two different worlds. And there’s not a lot of crossover.
TYG: Yes? But then you also have lateral movement in fields. Because in my business... well, running my business would probably be considerably easier than running yours.
Valerie: Not necessarily! But I think that a lot of people who want to get into business have the preconception that it’s going to be easy.
TYG: Hmm. That is absolutely not true, in my experience.
Valerie: Well, sometimes it is. But there’s always going to be challenging. There are always challenges in any endeavour.
TYG: And the other problem is that especially with a solo business like this, without a lot of employees, and no advisory board, you can’t get good advice from people.
Valerie: Oh, actually... no. I read a lot, I’m always looking up articles, I follow different businesses online to see their blogs, see how they’re doing... I’m over the criticism—if anybody has feedback, I definitely take it. You know, it humbles you, having your own business.
TYG: Before I started the Yachats Gazette, I thought that running the business would be easy...
Valerie: It’s really fun—I enjoy it, I have not gotten bored or tired of it. But it’s lonely work, too. You’re essentially working for yourself.
TYG: Well, I’m sort of working for the community, in the sense that one of the main goals of this paper is to try and help the community.
Valerie: Yes! I think your paper has done that. On the strength of the articles that I know of, I actually had people coming in to meet Lucy [the dog].
TYG: [laughs] From the interview?
Valerie: Lucy has friends, yes... They like to come in and meet her. [laughs]
TYG: You should have a drawing contest of Lucy! Put the pictures in the window.
Valerie: That’s a great idea Allen—I like that! [...]
TYG: Well, it’s great to see you!
Valerie: You too Allen—and thanks for that idea. I think it’ll be great for winter!
Interview with Mary Crook of Planet Yachats
Mary: Our owner, Tom Jones, and his wife, Chris, still have their contacts worldwide, and continue to buy from places like Brazil, and carvings from China, also carvings from Zimbabwe, and pieces from Madagascar, [and] fossils from Morocco.
TYG: The fossils are especially beautiful.
Mary: They are.
TYG: Like especially that huge trilobite one.
Mary: We have a lot of fossils here, right down to the fossilized shark teeth. The young people like those.
TYG: Yes, those are funny!
Mary: And so he has continued to supply us with materials, and we had a very good summer! The best summer in a number of years.
TYG: Everyone I’ve talked to has said they had an exceptional summer.
Mary: Yes. I think a lot of it had to do with the heat that was going on in other parts of the state and the country, and the forest fires: our air was pure and clean, and people wanted to come here. So they did! And as I said, our owners are now on a many-month road trip, going to gem and mineral shows around the country. They’ll be at the Tucson show in February, as he is always, but we will be involved with the Agate Festival in January!
TYG: I will be advertising in it once again!
TYG: I always have. Literally! I was in the first one, if you remember.
Mary: Yes you were! [...] This will be the fifth one. It’s been very successful over the years, and we’ve had some interesting speakers, and we’ll have the same again.
TYG: How have things been here, over the last four years? What’s changed?
Mary: Well, like I said, we’ve experienced some downturns in business like everybody has. But the last two summers have been pretty good, and this summer was very good. Life again.
TYG: Well, thank you so much!
Mary: You’re very welcome—thanks for coming in! Nice to see you!
Interview with Gary Church at
Topper’s Ice Cream & Candy
Topper’s Ice Cream & Candy
TYG: So how have you been doing?
Gary: I’ve been good.
TYG: Your business has certainly expanded... How has the Yachats Gazette helped you?
Gary: I think that it’s helped for people to get a better sense of what’s happening at Topper’s, the kinds of things we offer—from when you interviewed me before. A clearer understanding, I guess. But people have a pretty good idea of what an ice cream and candy shop is. [laughs]
TYG: For example [motioning toward the Tillamook Mudslide ice cream container], I have never seen this flavor anywhere else. Not just the name, but the whole idea of having two chocolate flavors together.
Gary: Well let me tell you—when Tillamook runs out... they completely ran out of this flavor for two weeks.
Gary: Supplies. And when we ran out, we had... oh my gosh. Folks were so mad. I mean: mad. They would come in, and we didn’t have it? They would turn around and leave, I mean stomping out because we didn’t have Mudslide. Yeah.
Gary: Yeah. It’s pretty popular.
TYG-Editorial Assistant: You also have Almond Mocha Fudge, which is hard to find in stores.
Gary: Is it? Yeah, that’s pretty popular. Did you pick up on this half [of the ice cream refrigerated unit] Umpqua, this half Tillamook?
TYG: Why is that?
Gary: Why is that! We did that last year, right before summer started. We switched because Tillamook changed all of their recipes, and we ended up with a case of ice cream that was for the most part white. Tillamook changed all their recipes, and they went to everything all natural: no artificial food coloring, no artificial flavors—which is great. I’m really happy with that. However, people eat with their eyes, and if it all looks white... it was really difficult. I’m not a really good salesperson, because I cannot sell white coffee ice cream. The Coffee Almond Fudge was white, with a strip of fudge going through it. The Mint Chip? White. They probably got a lot of pushback, and I don’t know what they’ve changed, but they got the Coffee Almond Fudge brown again. The Mint Chip is still white. The Cherry used to be darker, but it’s still decent, though. But oh my gosh, the Strawberry ice-cream? Gray. Whatever leaches out into the ice cream, under the fluorescent lights... yeah. The Chocolate Peanut Butter? They’ve darkened it up again—I’m assuming whatever they used in the Coffee Almond Fudge is what they’re using for the Chocolate Peanut Butter—but it was so pale. So at that time we went, “We can’t have a white freezer. Customers are not happy! Not good!” So we started carrying some Umpqua.
TYG: Personally, I’d be totally creeped out by that. This mint...
Gary: People are used to green Mint.
TYG: Bright green? I’d rather not eat an alien-looking ice cream.
TYG-EA: In any case, these are both Oregon Coast manufacturers.
Gary: We’re right in the middle of both!
TYG-EA: And if there were another shortage, you wouldn’t have all your eggs in one basket.
Gary: It’s worked out really well.
TYG: Well, it’s been great to see you!
Gary: You too!
Interview with Michelle Korgan of Ona Restaurant
TYG: So how have things been going with you?
Michelle: [long pause, then laughs] It’s been very busy. It’s been five years on October 8th. I’d say it’s been successful and fun!
TYG: It seems bigger than when you started.
Michelle: It’s about the same size, but I’ve utilized the space a little differently, I think.
TYG: How do you think the Gazette has helped you?
Michelle: Well, it’s certainly entertainment!
TYG: Oh, I mean business-wise.
Michelle: Business-wise? Well, I think advertising in it has benefits: people see it and they come in, and it reminds people we’re here. When you did the first article, I certainly had an overwhelming response from community members saying that they enjoyed reading it, that it was informative and they learned a lot.
Michelle: I certainly get a lot of satisfaction reading about other members in the community!
TYG-Editorial Assistant: We were wondering what’s changed in the last few years?
Michelle: We added a catering area.
TYG: I’ve never seen that!
Michelle: I’d be happy to show it to you. We’ve catered a lot of events in the Yachats community, and we’ve never really had a space dedicated for that. We turned an apartment that was behind the restaurant and took out a wall out of the kitchen, and now we have another space for prepping and storage. It’s been very helpful! Also, it’s an extension of the garden, so we can do some gardening right off the back porch. That’s probably the biggest change in the last year.
TYG: Would you mind if I took you up on your earlier offer?
Michelle: Yes, let’s go! [Ensues a tour of the new space.] Come in!
TYG: Oh wow, this is really cool!
Michelle: That was the bathroom, of course—there’s a shower.
TYG: I was wondering what you used that for! [laughs] I’ve always wanted one of those sinks. We have a two [basin] sink, but a three one would be really useful. [...] This is an oven?
Michelle: This is our new convection oven.
TYG-EA: What does it do that other ovens don’t?
Michelle: Well, we needed another oven. But it works more efficiently than [a normal] oven. It moves the air around and maintains the temperature better. [...] And here we have some tomato starts, and some herbs. This was our old stove, and Anthony refurbished it as a very heavy, but efficient charcoal grill. The grates are the heaviest part—about seven to ten pounds apiece.
TYG-EA: What’s the device under the tarp?
Michelle: This is a smoker! We smoke salmon and black cod and whatever you can fit in it. So, yeah!
TYG: It’s been great talking to you!
Michelle: You too! Congratulations on fifty issues!
Interview with Barbara Shepherd of
the Village Bean and The Sea Perch RV Resort
the Village Bean and The Sea Perch RV Resort
Barbara: Truly, I commend you for your ability to keep [the Yachats Gazette] shining!
TYG: Thanks! I’m doing pretty well, actually.
Barbara: You have a novel marketing plan.
TYG: The six dollars per month for a business card size ad?
Barbara: Your age. [laughs] Who’s going to tell you no?
TYG: Well, still I think the business card rate is pretty good.
Barbara: Years ago, [my magazines] offered listings, and those were $15 per issue. And they griped at that—that was almost 20 years ago! And we didn’t have anything on line—it was all hard copy, and it went to the printer. So there was a lot of overhead involved. And a lot of running around—we used to go from Brookings to Astoria. [...] So what’s the deal with you?
TYG: Well, it’s our 50th issue, so we’re doing little tidbits from our oldest advertisers.
TYG: How do you think the Yachats Gazette has helped you? As a business. Or both of your businesses, rather.
Barbara: Well, I think it has helped me be a part of the whole community, because everybody else is in the Gazette as well.
TYG: Well, not everybody else. There are a lot of people who aren’t in there.
Barbara: Well, I feel like it—all the business folk. We are all together, and we’re a team now. And that cameraderie that we all share—to support one another, and to support you—says a lot, from business to business to business.
TYG: I hope I support you as well from the Gazette, with the advertising.
Barbara: You do. I just wish I had some to distribute.
TYG-Graphic Design: Well, did you know you can print from online? There’s a link to the .pdf with all the photos [from the website]. [...]
TYG: How has business been treating you these past four years?
Barbara: Well, we’re holding our own. Because the Village Bean is 11 years old we have a really good customer base that allows us to survive all year long—and your mama, and you...
TYG: And my Dad! [we all laugh] [...]
Barbara: The gas station closing really hurt us a lot.
TYG: I heard somebody wanted to buy that.
Barbara: We’ve heard that several times. But we haven’t heard a thing in quite a while.
TYG: Well, we need a gas station back.
Barbara: I would love for someone to fire up the place, just because it’s so difficult for us to keep that maintained as well. I just posted on the [Facebook] Community Page asking if somebody would be interested, and we’d give them a gift certificate to go and pick up trash. That was awesome—I didn’t have time to go and do that myself—that’s community for you! So it worked out really well.
TYG: People stop there all the time, though.
Barbara: The frustration for us is that they get mad at us because the gas station’s not open.
TYG: How have things changed for you in the last four or five years, besides the gas station?
Barbara: Well, my lovely self is not there very much anymore. I miss my customers a lot, and I miss making coffee, I miss the routine... However, my life has changed. I was so successful I just aced myself right out of a job! [laughs] Because we have so much going on, and I took this here [manager at the Sea Perch RV Resort], I can’t afford to work at the window anymore. But my girls are really, really fabulous employees. And I think all our baristas have a cameraderie amongst themselves, too! They’re really great, and I don’t take them for granted—they really work hard. But then, they’re promised a job all year long, because we don’t cut down hours [in the winter]—we just keep on truckin’! Whether we have a line out to the street or not, we’re open! So we’re ok... we’re going to be doing some new stuff, bringing in some new bakery items. But we’re about the coffee, we really are. And chocolate chip cookies! [...]
TYG: I got cookies today! What are the new bakery items?
Barbara: [laughs] We launched our own brownies! They’re awesome and amazing. We are getting ready to bake our own muffins, and we’re getting ready to make croissants [oohs and mmms from the audience]. I know! I have a fabulous recipe for croissants.
TYG-GD: Oh, those are so time consuming!
Barbara: Well, not really. I’m just going to do tons of them and get them prepped, and then the girls will just cook them off.
TYG-GD: I’ve made them before... and the pastry—”How much butter did you want in that?” [laughs]
Barbara: I know. That’s what happened to me the very first ones I made, as a tester last week here. Way too much butter! They were just dripping in butter, we were in hog heaven. But oh my gosh they were good! I did a couple different versions, and they were so amazing... and then, get this: I did a brown butter drizzle over the top. Ohhhh. Anyway, just a few twists on the bakery stuff. It’s not like we don’t have enough bakeries in town, but you know, we have to have our own little twist. People like to have a cup of coffee with a ... something.
TYG: This is an interesting recipe that I found in a book a long time back—oh gosh, it must have been ages back: It was raisin bread, with cooked apples, covered in sauce. It’s delicious. Well, I didn’t like it that much, but Mom loved it.
Barbara: I bet!
TYG-GD: He treated us to breakfast one morning!
Barbara: Wow! Did you find that on Pinterest?
TYG: No, I mean, we actually have cookbooks!
Barbara: [The adults can’t stop laughing] Well, go figure!
Barbara: [still chuckling] You know, I have a collection of my ex-mother-in-law—who’s passed away, bless her heart. I have all of her cookbooks.
TYG-GD: I have a whole big cabinet full...
Barbara: That is rare, with Pinterest! But I don’t care what is online, how many photos you can look at, there’s nothing like touching a book. Cookbooks are awesome.
TYG-GD: What about this place [the Sea Perch RV Resort]? How has that changed in four years?
Barbara: Oh, we rock here! I’m not kidding. We’ve done really, really well here and we love it. It’s the perfect job for Tony and I, a living job—because we live here. And we can do the coffee shop as well. We manage all of that very, very well, and we enjoy it. When you get to be our age... his skills, my skills, combined... it’s just perfect for us. [...] There are so many travellers! We have been solid booked since June.
TYG-GD: It was a busy summer for the rest of the Yachats merchants, too.
Barbara: Was it? Good! I don’t see them so much anymore, just on the [Facebook] group page... But there might be some cool things happening here too! Nothing that we’ve had handed down to us yet, but maybe...
TYG: Well, thank you so much for your time!
Barbara: Just keep on trucking, you’re doing a very good job!