Perhaps the most exciting news is happening on the extreme north end of Main Street – Prince’s Foods will be changing hands next month (see related story). Many of us in Oroville owe a lot to the Prince family which over the years offered work to several dozens of high school and college kids, both on the grocery and the department store sides. Although these two businesses themselves will be under new ownership and management, Prince’s Foods and Prince’s Department Store and Warehouse are still one of the biggest non-governmental, retail employers in town. The store has also been very generous in supporting our schools and local benefits and charities for nearly eight decades.
Like Jack and Mary Hughes, who have successfully owned and operated the department store end of the business since last year, we wish all the best to John Akins who has purchased the food side. We also wish the best to the Prince Family. It will be strange not to see Jim hard at work at the store, but we’re sure Marilyn and the rest of the family, kids and grandkids, will be happy to have more of his time. Congratulations as well on his 50th anniversary of working in the family business.
The Plaza Restaurant (in the old Yo Yo’s, Teddy Bears, Fao’s) seems to have opened with great success judging by all the customers we see there each day. We hear that plans to open Rancho Grandé are still a go despite the wild (and untrue) rumors that keep circulating around town. One has to remember that it took nearly two years for Rancho Chico in Tonasket to open as work took place on a pay-as-you-go basis. The Old Peerless building is an even larger project to tackle.
Vicki and Walt Hart are working on opening up Vicki’s Unique Boutique in the old Pub Tavern, or for those of us that go even further back, the U&I (even further back, the bowling alley). When it opens it fills another building that has sat idle on Main Street for many years. Another empty space, in Ernie Filbeck’s building on the corner of Central and Main, is slated for an ice cream parlor and hot dog bar. We spotted the coolers being moved in a few weeks back from our perch across the street. We’re a little worried about having the temptation of hot dogs, ice cream and cookies so close, we might have to jog around the block a couple times before heading in at lunch time. The new shop is slated to open in mid-October. Next door to that is a shop with Marylou’s Gifts and More painted on the windows, also filling an empty space in downtown.
And work continues on the Pastime Tavern which is changing to a bar and grill. Contractors have been seen going in and out on a regular basis. Although most of the work is going on inside, the greatest apparent change is the fact that the awning came down. The owners of the business, Brent and Vicki Henze, have big plans for the new place slated to open next May. Coming full circle, the south half of the Pastime used to be Prince’s. For the first time in a long time the old doors to the former retail store have been uncovered and will eventually be used again.