Monday, January 16, 2006
December 28, 2005
In January, another downtown business fixture says so-long.
Mark and Jodi Van Metre are taking a well-earned break from the demands of the furniture business to seek new opportunities.
Two years ago, Pete Jubitz closed the doors on downtown anchor Franz Hardware. Pete is still a familiar face in town, and the building is home to three businesses.
A block away at Van Metre’s, a furniture store has occupied the corner of Second and State for the better part of 70 years, and the Van Metre family owned it for nearly 50, as Esther K. Smith reports in Van Metre’s goes out while it’s still good.
Yet the closure of the furniture store is a sort-of-farewell: a new business will occupy part of the Van Metre building. The Van Metres keep ownership of the property and, fittingly, will stay involved in securing new tenants.
It is part of the Van Metre legacy that they passed the baton to another merchant who plans to make good use of a prime location.
We wish the Van Metre family well. The store will be missed, but their can-do spirit will go on.
Like their furniture, durability was a strong point. Downtown remains a vibrant place, thanks to merchants such as the Van Metres.
The community is blessed with longtime businesses that have stood the test of time, and with newer stores that bring other kinds of energy to the local economy.
The departure — if it can be called that — underscores the shifts and the successes that make the business sector such a critical part of this community.
As the new year dawns, the closure of a significant downtown neighbor points to the strengths of local merchants throughout the county who continue to improve their properties, adjust their merchandise and serve the community through times thick and thin.
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Lawnmower torches Arbor Vitae on Portland Drive
The riding lawn mower driven by Norma Cannon overheated and made contact with dry arbor vitae owned by Lee and Norma Curtis, sending more than a dozen of the tightly-packed trees up in flames. The mower, visible at far right, was totaled. No one was injured; neighbors first kept the fire at bay with garden hoses and Westside and Hood River Fire Departments responded and doused the fire before it reached any structures. Westside Fire chief Jim Trammell, in blue shirt, directs firefighters. The video was taken by Capt. Dave Smith of Hood River Fire Department. Enlarge