If you go
Holiday Sip and Shop: 4 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 8. Tickets are $25 and include a beverage, holiday caroling, ride on the double decker bus, two raffle tickets and tour of the Georgia Pacific mill interpretive center. These can be purchased at www.downtowncamas.com.
Minda and Kevin Coombs understand the hospitality business.
After running the Green Mountain Golf Course for 15 years, the Camas couple was looking for a new opportunity to continue doing what they loved.
While looking to purchase a golf course in Salem, a business broker mentioned that the 20-something owners of a unique Portland company were looking to sell their luxury, double-decker charter bus service.
In April 2015, the Coombs’ became the new owners of Double Decker PDX and VIP PDX, which combined a historic, 1959 Bristol Lodekka, affectionately named, ‘Candy,’ with executive-style transportation charter bus and van.
“It’s been a lot of fun,” Minda said. “People just love the double decker bus and have positive feedback. It’s an antique, and we do a lot of work to make events specials. Everyone really seems to enjoy it.”
Kevin has immersed himself in learning the mechanics of the bus fleet, which is decidedly different than golf cart maintenance and repair.
“You need to learn what each one needs and wants with maintenance,” he said. “I am working with some experts to learn everything. It’s been a challenge.”
‘Candy’ hails all of the way from London, and Minda describes the vehicle as one of the best maintained double decker buses out there.
“It was chosen by Mini Cooper to be featured in the International Car Show in New York,” she said. “They paid the former owners $100,000 to ship it to the east coast and back.”
Wine tours are the most frequent bookings that the Coombs receive for both the double decker and coach buses.
“It’s been fun learning about Portland and the surrounding area,” Minda said. “We have been ingrained in Camas for so long, it’s nice to also know more about what’s right over the river.”
Added Kevin, “I’ve enjoyed finding out about these new spots I wasn’t aware of before.”
In addition to wine tours, the company also offers excursions to downtown Portland, college football games, birthday parties, wedding transportation, corporate events, proms and pub crawls.
On Thursday, Dec. 8, they will be bringing Candy to downtown Camas to participate in the Holiday Sip and Shop. It is the second year the event has been held. The couple are friends with Carrie Schulstad, DCA president, who suggested they include the bus for the event.
“Having the double decker bus adds an element of charm and something unique to our event,” Schulstad said. “Riding this bus is a new experience for many people and when you add in refreshments, fun Camas facts and holiday music, it makes for a truly festive evening.”
“I wanted to bring the bus home to Camas and see people enjoying themselves,” Minda said. “Seeing them last year and how excited they were to ride the bus, it was just great. Everyone was coming up and asking if they could take their kids to look inside and it definitely sparked a lot of interest.”
The Coombs’, who have called Camas home since 1999, have enjoyed the process of seeing the downtown core evolve.
“I was on the Downtown Vision Coalition and have developed many friendships along the way,” Kevin said. “The city has gotten bigger, but still kept some of its small town traditions.”
Added Minda, “I love the community here and it’s been a wonderful place to raise our kids. There’s just something special about this small town.”