Wildflower Cafe blooms in Mosier

MOSIER -- Suzi Conklin and Mark Czerniack just moved to Mosier in mid-June, but already they have made themselves a welcome part of the small Gorge town.

This month, the husband and wife team will be opening Mosier's first full-time eating establishment in the past 10 years -- the Wildflower Cafe.

The menu will feature many of Suzi's recipes, along with selected favorites from her grandmothers. The Wildflower Cafe will be a place where "people can hang out and talk over a cup of coffee and a piece of pie."

Situated on the corner of Second Avenue and Main Street, the Wildflower holds a special spot in Mosier. A commercial spot.

"There isn't very much commercial land in Mosier," explained Mark. "We came out looking for land three years ago and that is how we found Mosier.

"We thought it was a great little town, but it had no place to eat. We talked with a real estate agent, but even she said commercial property in Mosier didn't come available very often."

Outside of the Mosier School greeting visitors on the West side of town, just a handful of small businesses including a gas station make up the rest of downtown Mosier.

But as luck would have it, three weeks later a piece of property was put on the market. Mark and Suzi drove out that day and made an offer.

The offer was accepted and plans began for the Mosier eatery.

It's a far cry from Suzi's former job of sales manager at Will Vinton Studios in Portland, where Claymation was developed.

Czerniak's background in sustainable energy is what led the two to Mosier to look at Daniel Dancer's development.

But they were ready to leave Portland and try something new. Already they have doubled the business in downtown Mosier, Czerniak joked.

The land where the Wildflower is being built used to hold a small house. In a neighborly gesture, Czerniak and Conklin sold the cabin to Mosier community activist Gay Jervey for $1.

Jervey moved the house down the street two blocks to another Main Street location, where it became the Fairydell Store. The opening of the store and the Wildflower Cafe nearly doubles the number of businesses in downtown Mosier.

"Everybody has done something. Gay painted the front doors. There were special drill bits made and custom welding done by others," said Mark. "It's been really nice."

After nearly six years of wanting to open a cafe, the couple hopes to have the Wildflower ready for opening just prior to Thanksgiving.

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