The Camas-Washougal area offers a variety of businesses, where customers are very likely to encounter the owners while shopping or eating.
Children are appreciated at Dairy Queen
There are a lot of memories captured on the walls of the Dairy Queen in Camas.
They include photographs of softball, baseball and soccer teams that the restaurant has sponsored, as well as pictures of some of its youngest customers.
The visits by children are among the joys of Wilma “Willi” McOmie’s career.
She and her husband David have owned the local franchise for 33 years.
“I love it here — the community and the little kids,” Willi said. “I can’t imagine staying home.”
She recalled watching a little girl filling her own child size “courtesy cone” with ice cream, earlier that day.
Willi, 76, enjoys seeing the expressions on children’s faces when they visit.
“I like people,” she said. “Repeat customers are what keep you going, I think.”
The local DQ, originally located at 537 N.E. Cedar St., relocated to its current site at 435 N.E. Third Ave., in 1995.
In addition to supporting youth sports, the McOmies have donated to the Camas and Washougal high schools’ drug-and alcohol-free graduation parties.
A family’s legacy in home furnishings continues in Camas
Dave Fletcher learned about customer service as a child, watching his parents Winn and Joanne own and operate One Stop Home Furnishings, in Camas.
Fletcher has officially been helping area residents find furniture and appliances for 30 years. He and his wife Molly have owned the business for about two decades.
Fletcher’s grandparents, Mickey and Hazel Schwary, opened the store in 1954, in the One Stop Shopping Center.
“They just had appliances,” Dave said. “Then black and white TV came along, with furniture and mattresses.
“We did floor covering one time, vacuums, video rentals and TV repair,” he added.
The business moved to its current almost 20,000-square-foot site, 2140 S.E. Eighth Ave., in the late 1990s.
In addition to dining sets, refrigerators, and TVs, One Stop sells mattresses, sofas, chairs, paintings and bunk beds.
Dave said there is an increased awareness of the benefits of shopping local.
“You do not spend time driving,” he said. “The money stays here, working for the community and the schools.
“Personally, I think you get quicker and better service than you do out of town,” Dave added. “It’s a time savings.”
One Stop Home Furnishings has provided scholarships to CHS and WHS graduates for approximately 10 years.
Local company provides Healthier Choices
Wanda McFarlane and Bob Smith moved from Oregon City to Washougal in 2010.
She had lived in Washougal before.
“I like the small town,” McFarlane said. “If it keeps getting bigger, it won’t be a small town anymore.”
She opened Healthier Choices at 1826 “E” St., in November 2010, and Smith helps out at the shop.
“The more people hear about us, the better we do,” McFarlane said.
In addition to Traeger wood pellet grills, the shop sells horse-themed socks and jewelry, Painted Ponies collectibles, baby items, body lotion, cards, bird feeders and Bella Sara games and books. McFarlane also has pet food and supplies, cooking accessories and Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free baking mixes.
Healthier Choices benefits the community by donating dog and cat food to the West Columbia Gorge Humane Society, in Washougal.
Younger generation chooses to open business in Washougal
Eric Hargrave, his wife Tina and brother-in-law Eric Nguyen are involved in the operation of Limitless Snow-Wake-Surf.
The Washougal business opened in March 2011 at 501 26th St.
“I grew up here,” Hargrave said. “I really just want to give back.”
Limitless sells wake boards, snow boards and boots, waterskis, apparel and accessories associated with the snow, wake and surf industry, as well as camping backpacks for adults and children.
Hargrave aspires to start non-profit organizations that would donate equipment and provide opportunities for high school students to find out if they like snow and water sports.
He also wants to teach classes about participating in the sports safely.
Hargrave, a 2003 WHS graduate, has mentored two CHS students. One senior project focused on marketing, while another involved “shadowing” Hargrave as he went about the daily operations of being a business owner.
The exterior of the business has been painted by Bobby Johnson, of Washougal.
“It is graffiti-style art or street art,” Hargrave said.
“Art opens kids’ eyes to culture, and maybe inspires them to do art” he added. “I hope it inspires them.”
Hargrave, 29, said he has learned a lot about the brands that did not sell well.
“There is a learning curve,” he said. “I have to change and adapt. If not, I’ll fail.”