Couple glides into dual business ownership

The owners of a new downtown kite store have glided into the opportunity to turn their long-time hobby into a business.

Tim and Rene Fragall opened Pass-Times in April so they could literally tell their customers to “go fly a kite” as a helpful suggestion to relieve stress.

“To watch someone succeed at flying a kite is just about as much fun as flying yourself,” said Tim, who has 20 years of expertise with the sport.

The Fragalls decided to pursue the soaring venture during negotiations to purchase the Hair Company in the Oak Street Mall. The cosmetology duo had followed up on a rumor that the 22-year owner of the beauty salon, Lori Smith, had decided it was time to step down from management responsibilities.

But, during visits to the style shop, they began to focus on the possibilities for the empty retail outlet next door that had formerly housed a field office for the Friends of the Columbia Gorge.

“Opportunity knocked and we answered the door,” said Tim.

During the Memorial Day weekend, the Fragalls celebrated Tim’s 34th birthday with a grand opening sale.

By purchasing neighboring businesses, Tim and Renee are able to “tag-team” their duties, with one assisting customers while the other is cutting hair or running an errand. Although they admit their schedule is hectic, Tim and Renee are adept at working closely together since they took turns putting each other through advanced schooling — in addition to parenting their three daughters, Britney, 13, Tawny, 5, and Aunica, 2.

“The only time we really get to sit down is when we’re in the car,” laughed Renee.

Although they are avid kiteflyers, the Fragalls are finding free time at a premium these days. For almost two months they have been commuting daily from their Portland home, but that is expected to change with last week’s closure of a house purchase in Hood River.

“The main reason we wanted to come out here was for the high quality of life — we really want to be a part of that,” said Renee, who became familiar with the area from childhood visits to her father, local resident Floyd Branson.

The high-energy couple is determined to resume regular Sunday visits to the Hood River waterfront — and invite other kite owners to join them.

“If you see kites in the area, grab yours and head down,” said Renee, who is gregarious by nature.

Tim plans to use his strong analytical abilities to share kite handling tips with customers and help them make the right purchase choice to match their skill level. He is also undertaking a secondary repair service for damaged aerial devices and Pass-Times can be reached at 386-6347.

When not busy in the kite shop, Tim joins Renee in the beauty salon where Smith remains a full-time staffer and they have two part-time employees. In addition to hair cutting, she specializes in nail care and he in facials. He and Renee are using and selling the “world’s finest” product lines at the Hair Company — including Goldwell — and are planning to add two high-intensity stand-up tanning booths.

The Hair Company is now open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday and the hours for both businesses will be extended next week from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday through Saturday, with after-hour hair appointments available by calling 386-1401.

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