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Mazama's new mountain gear shop is just across the courtyard from the store.

Growing and Changing
Upper Valley Business News

Ever wanted to make a one-way bicycle trip from Winthrop to Mazama or Mazama to Winthrop? Well, now you can thanks to a cooperative agreement between Methow Cycle and Sport in Winthrop, which owns a fleet of rental bikes, and the newly opened Goat’s Beard mountain gear shop in Mazama. Rent a bike in either place and you can drop it at the other. That’s only one of the changes Grist discovered while checking in with a random sampling of upper valley businesses as they were making preparations for tourist season.

Rental bikes are displayed in front of Methow Cycle and Sport, owned by Joe Brown and Julie Muyllaert, and on the porch at the Goat’s Beard. C.B. Thomas, who manages the Mazama shop with his wife Micki Thomas, advises those who want to try a specialized bike to call ahead and he will see to it that it’s waiting. The Goat’s phone number is 996-2515.

Micki and C.B. Thomas are managing the new Goat's Beard store.

The Thomases, who moved from Colorado to the Methow Valley last November, got to know Rick and Missy LeDuc, owners of the Mazama Store, last winter. The store was the first place the Thomases looked for a job, according to C.B. The LeDucs hired them as baristas, but soon asked if they’d be interested in managing their new mountain sport shop. Their “yes” answer was based on experience. Micki managed a business that had three outdoor shops in Colorado, and C.B. was the assistant ski director at the Keystone resort.

The Goat’s Beard, named for a spot on Goat Wall familiar to climbers, is located in the former fly fishing shop across the courtyard from the Mazama Store. The hours will be 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily after Memorial Day, a bit shorter until then. The Goat specializes in gear and clothing for hiking, climbing and mountaineering. Books and apparel formerly in the Mazama Store have been moved into the new space.

“A full offering of merchandise for the outdoor enthusiast from hiking to biking, climbing to camping,” is how C. B. recently described the shop. And he should know. The Thomases are outdoor people who between them pursue hiking, climbing, biking and skiing – Nordic and backcountry.

The Steve and Kaarin Kelly family in front of the restaurant at Wesola Polana. Steve is holding 2-year-old Neve. Son Darra, 5, is standing between his parents.

Kelly’s at Wesola Polana

Steve Kelly, the high-energy Irishman known for sneaking a few of his native dishes onto the menu along with the tapas at Wesola Polana, is now managing the renamed restaurant and says he is on a path to buy the establishment with his wife, Kaarin Kelly. The restaurant is now called Kelly’s at Wesola Polana. However, Pablo Hernandez will continue to work with Kelly until November. And there is no change in Seattle dentist Michal Friedrich’s ownership of the property and other businesses there.

Kelly says he will continue to serve tapas, just not quite as many. And he is adding four or five full-plate specials, including a vegetarian choice, that change fortnightly. He says he plans to emphasize “locally sourced, organic ingredients.”

One more change: Look for extended hours after Memorial Day when Kelly’s will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Wednesday, and from 8:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Thursday through Sunday. Dinner specials will be available after 5:30 p.m.

Methow River Rafting and Kayaking

Moving closer to Winthrop, we checked out a tip with Shiah Lintz at the River Run Inn and found that his river rafting and kayaking business resumed ’49er Days weekend – at least on days when the river is not so high that the shoreline is flooding. Lintz said float trips start at the inn just west of town, and continue down river to a pullout below Liberty Bell High School. They last “about an hour to an hour and a half,” he said. Essentially, each person is aboard their own inflatable kayak. These are guided trips with a ratio of seven people to one guide.

Boulder Creek Deli

Believing it was time to spruce up his sign, owner Stuart Holm took down the old one only to discover a charming meat market sign from an earlier incarnation. He kept the animal portraits, which seemed appropriate for his Boulder Creek Deli. Holm is making some changes to his menu by dropping calzones, except when they are the daily special, and adding lettuce wraps. Almost all sandwiches can be ordered wrapped in lettuce instead of on bread or tortillas because “People just aren’t eating as much bread,” he explained.

The recycled sign at the Boulder Creek Delicatessen

Sheri’s Sweet Shoppe

Sweet Shoppe owner Doug Mohre has a different message. He installed a new deli case and has added breakfast and a variety of lunch sandwiches on artisan bread to his outdoor fare. His indoor shoppers will find a new choice among the many candies for sale this season: pistachio clusters.

Almquist’s Old-Time Pottery Shop

Employee Reva Reed is more than happy to show shoppers what’s new. The Almquists have added new merchandise of special interest to parents and grandparents and those who need a baby gift. They now carry the Melissa and Doug line of products appropriate for infants through small children. Clever travel games with pieces that won’t get lost, coloring books, snack bags that convert to place mats, baby rattles and more are in stock.

Trail’s End Book Store

Julie Tate Libby, who owns the store with her husband Ken Libby, reports that by Memorial Day weekend the store will be selling periodicals. The Libbys also are adding a deck overlooking the river “to encourage people to sit and read,” said Julie. Chances are the deck will open sometime before a free Thursday evening summer lecture series debuts on July 12. The five-week series will features local writers Nick O’Connell, Linda Robertson, Peter Donahue, Solveig Torvik, Erik Brooks and Anne Anderson.

There’s also plenty happening on the south side of Winthrop.

Robins Egg Bleu

Owners Lauri and Rand Martin are moving their two-year-old Robins Egg Bleu shop from the Purple Sage Building in downtown Winthrop to the corner of Highway 20 and White Avenue, the former Sunflower Café space south of town. The plan is to open in the new digs for Memorial Day weekend.

The new guy in Leanna's horse corral

Lauri, who described Rand as “the muscles behind the move,” said the square footage in the new space is about the same, just a different shape, but she is excited about having covered outdoor display space and a bathroom on site. The window and door frames already are repainted, and we’ll bet you can guess the color.

Lauri was at the Courtyard Quail in Twisp for five years before she and Rand moved to Gig Harbor, where they spent a decade before returning to the Methow Valley. “I love it here and am so happy to be back,” she said.

New Foal

Grist thinks it is just fine to include Leanna Kumm Melton’s new foal in a story about tourist season business news because tourists love to take photographs of her horses in their corral by the bridge. And it is a business – L.N.D. Quarter Horses. The new guy was born early the morning of May 12, just in time to witness quite a number of his kind clopping across the bridge on their way to the ’49ers Parade. Melton had quite a day since she also helped organize the parade.

East 20 Pizza

Ryan Clement, owner of East 20 Pizza, is extending his hours to include lunch, plus opening a take-out space. Starting in mid-June the main restaurant will open for lunch at 11:30 a.m. and be open until 9 p.m. seven days a week. And from July 1 through October, all take-out orders will be picked up across the parking lot at the former Dos Gallos space, which he also owns. The take-out window will be open from 5 to 9 p.m., seven days a week.

Clement also said the man who is planning to open hostel accommodations in the former Burnt Finger Bar-B-Q space is still working in Greenland. Meanwhile, the space is rented to two tenants.

The Winthrop Veterinary Clinic is expanding straight out back.

Winthrop Veterinary Services

Expansion at the vet clinic is related to growing demand more than to tourist season, but the construction is attracting the attention of passersby, and tourists do bring their animals in when necessary. Gone is the old back porch and up and coming are the walls that will give doctors Betsy Devin Smith and Gina Pastore a new surgery room (the old one will convert to additional kennel space), a second exam room, a doctor’s office and a covered area for large animal care and unloading supplies, according to Devin Smith.

The expansion will add about half again the current space. Darold Brandenburg is the contractor, although Betsy's husband Skip Smith and son Casey are helping. "We're trying to keep it in the family to minimize the cost," she said. There is no plan to add fenced enclosures for large animals. "We've always done haul-ins and I go on-farm," she said of her large animal practice.

Devin Smith laughingly recalled that she started her practice in a Pan Abode cabin half the size of the current clinic. It had a tiny bathroom that doubled as kennel space. "You could multi-task," she said. "when you used the bathroom, you also checked on the animals."

Now she's just anxious to have the new construction completed. "I suppose we'll say, 'Why didn't we do this sooner?'"

Have a comment? >>

Thank you so much for the up date! It makes me want to revisit these places and check them out. Nice to know what is happening in Winthrop. It would be nice to have something similar done in Twisp. Barbara

Barbara Newman