A slice of local life -- Brooke Pauly finds home in Hood River

Foundation 45 owner Brooke Pauly helps customers of all shapes and sizes and loves the small-town feeling of Hood River.

Photo by Trisha Walker.
Foundation 45 owner Brooke Pauly helps customers of all shapes and sizes and loves the small-town feeling of Hood River.

When Brooke Pauly and her husband, Mike, were married almost 11 years ago, they bought a travel trailer, quit their jobs, and toured the United States. The trip, while fun, had a purpose, too: The Paulys wanted to move to a small town, and they were looking for just the right one.

Two weeks into their 20,000 mile cross-country journey, they came to Hood River. And fell in love.

But they continued with their trip. They made a big circle, starting in Colorado (Pauly is from Boulder) and winding through the Pacific Northwest, over to Maine, down to Florida, across to Texas, and then to California — but they didn’t find another small town that compared to Hood River.

So they came back.

Pauly owns Foundation 45, the Oak Street lingerie, bath and body shop that offers everything from bras and pajamas to candles and bubble bath. But before she opened shop, she held a variety of jobs, first commuting to a Gresham restaurant before taking over the management of Brian’s Pourhouse for four years. From Brian’s, she moved to the Ruddy Duck. “I’ve been working my way slowly down Oak Street,” she joked.

The concept of a lingerie shop began to take shape after Pauly noticed there wasn’t anything like it in Hood River. Though she did not have previous experience in lingerie sales, she knew it was something she wanted to do.

“Some of it was, we wanted to do our own thing,” she said. “It evolved from there.”

Pauly has made Foundation 45 “a cozy little comfortable place to come,” and the store enjoys a steady local following. “Lots of locals come in once or twice a year,” she said, and she enjoys seeing the familiar faces.

She even has regulars who live in Portland and Seattle, stopping by each time they’re in town. “It’s super fun to have regulars who don’t even live here,” she said.

“We have such good customers, and such good tourists in town,” added Pauly. “People come in here and they’re respectful. They love it here and they’re good to the town.”

She enjoys working with customers more than paperwork — although paperwork is, of course, necessary, as is researching new lines and paying bills. Pauly has two employees who make up essentially one part-time position, so she is the one who is usually minding the store.

One common misconception people have, she said, is that it only carries really expensive, super-sexy merchandise.

“We do have some beautiful imported lines,” said Pauly, but adds that she has a wide range of products in a variety of sizes and prices. She carries many of the same brands found at Nordstrom and Macys, purposely pricing her items at or below those found in Portland — to save people the trip to Portland.

“Our bras start at about $35, and we have sizes 32A up to 40DDD,” she said. “We also do special orders. People have favorite things.”

Hood River has grown in the 11 years since the Paulys came to town — partially because their two children, Kate, who will be in third grade at May Street this fall, and Jack, who is three, were born here — but the town has managed to keep “that small-town thing going,” said Pauly. “Sometimes towns lose that as they grow, but with Hood River, it’s kept that small-town feeling.

“The people are so friendly here,” she added. “It’s a great place to raise kids. And all the activities you can do here is incredible.”

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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