We’re so happy to have partnered with some of the most impactful businesses and organizations of our community through our American Dream program. Maybe you’ve heard of them — or maybe you’re discovering something new about the place in which you live. Either way, take some time to get know these local gems that make up the landscape of our community.
Latino Outreach of Tehama County
Ensuring that Latino residents are healthy, safe, connected and engaged is the focus of Latino Outreach of Tehama County.
This organization collaborates and connects the Latino community, community service agencies, public welfare, law enforcement, educational systems and others to improve quality of services to the Latino community. Projects and services include:
- Quarterly membership meetings to discuss needs and outreach opportunities for agencies and businesses.
- romotion of health education and referring clients to services in English and Spanish.
- Sponsoring two fairs each year — the first Saturday in May (Cinco de Mayo) and the fourth Saturday in October (Multi-Cultural Health Fair).
- Promoting physical activity and education.
- Fundraising for, and providing, scholarships to high school seniors.
The organization began in 1996 as the Hispanic Outreach of Tehama County, and changed its name to Latino Outreach of Tehama County when it became an official nonprofit in 2001. It’s run entirely by volunteers.
The Cinco de Mayo event on May 4 at Corning Community Skate Park includes dancing, singing, music and food. It’s a free, family-friendly event that also features a mobile health clinic, a healthy cooking demonstration and plenty of information about available resources. The October health fair also offers connections to all sorts of resources, including employment help, voter registration, educational information, immigration information and health screenings.
“We’re proud to provide these very important links to our community to help ensure that all people have access to the resources they need to be healthy,” says President Jess Elshere.
The organization is also looking forward to hosting a backpacking trip in July for teenagers between ages 13-16. The all-expenses-paid excursion includes a 15-mile trek into Lassen Volcanic National Park’s wilderness area.
“Many of these teens have never been backpacking before, and some haven’t even been to a national park,” Elshere says. “We can’t wait to watch them enjoy this fantastic experience in our beautiful outdoors.”
Generations of actors have developed their acting chops on the humble Riverfront Playhouse stage. Today, the volunteers behind this nonprofit are thrilled to finally have the go-ahead to expand the facility for many generations to come.
Cornerstone Community Bank has provided a $1 million loan so the playhouse can renovate its downtown Redding property into a bigger, more modern theater. The site at 1950 California St. will be home to a 152-seat venue, including a main theater, art gallery exhibit space, a green room, an events room, a concession stand and an area for set construction. A small black-box theater will provide opportunities for open mic nights, poetry readings and other productions.
"Live theatre allows the audience to experience the presentation of story-telling up close and personal," said Darryll Alvey, president of Riverfront’s board of directors. "From the most seasoned actor to the costumer, from the set builders to the ticket-takers, from sound and lighting technicians to concession-stand attendants – they are dedicated to bringing a meaningful and entertaining story to the stage."
Riverfront, a nonprofit organization, bought the downtown building three years ago, and has been raising funds for a new theater for much longer than that. Now that the loan has been secured, renovation of the 11,500-square-foot building should begin this spring. Local contractor Don Ajamian Construction will do the work, using plans by Redding’s Trilogy Architecture.
The venue will be available for rent when Riverfront isn’t using the space. The nonprofit will continue its capital campaign, which includes donor-naming opportunities, a buy-a-brick project and seat sponsorships.
Riverfront was created by a troupe of local theater lovers in 1981, and it’s operated out of its current facility at 1620 E. Cypress Ave. since then. They’re the region’s longest continually operating, all-volunteer community theater, and many volunteers have been involved since the very beginning. Every facet of the operation is run by volunteers, from the board of director to the set-building crews to the actors.
"The family of more than 200 volunteers at Riverfront share their love of theatre with you every time the lights go up, the curtain rises and actors speak," Alvey said. "The applause and expression of gratitude is their reward. It is intoxicating and addicting after a job well done. I’m extremely proud to be part of this organization."
John Steinberg’s "Of Mice And Men" is featured now at the playhouse, with "The Complete Works of Shakespeare" opening in May.
Furniture isn’t just furniture. Your recliner is a sanctuary where your children scramble into your lap to hear their favorite story. Your dining table is the central gathering spot for family meals, homework sessions and board games with friends. Your bed is that comfortable nest where the worries of the world melt away as another day comes to an end.
Mike and Pam Klein, the owners of Furniture Depot at 235 S. Main St. in Red Bluff, have spent nearly 40 years ensuring that their customers find the perfect furnishings for their homes and businesses. They carry numerous quality brands, including La-Z-Boy, Flexsteel, Simmons, Sealy, Tempur-Pedic, Aspen, Ashley and more.
The Kleins buy in bulk whenever possible and pass the savings on to customers. Their experienced salespeople take the time to help folks find exactly what they’re looking for in the 40,000-square-foot shop, and the friendly delivery crew makes sure everything arrives safely in the customer’s home. Financing is available.
The family-owned furniture store also offers a blog on its website, www.thefurnituredepot.net , which includes tips on decorating, how to measure for furniture and much more.
Aging can be a complicated phase of the family journey. It becomes even trickier when the aging person’s family members live far away, when relationships are strained or when they simply don’t know how to help.
That’s where ShiningCare comes in. This nonprofit aims to ease stress, giving compassionate direction and assistance to the entire family, allowing loved ones to keep their main focus on the relationship and the time they have together.
ShiningCare was established in 2009 with a mission to meet the unmet needs of at-risk elderly, disabled adults and their loved ones. These trusted professionals extend compassion and hope, providing expert advice and connection to needed resources for safety, health and improved quality of life.
“This work is so important, because every family will eventually experience the stress of trying to figure out how best to keep their loved ones safe and happy as changes of condition happen and risks multiply,” says Joanne McCarley, founder and executive director of ShiningCare. “Due to increasing numbers of people aging, coupled with inadequate and decreasing resources for our elderly population, there is a rapidly growing need for support and care for these individuals who are lost, lonely, hurting and at risk. Our programs and services prevent neglect, elder abuse, loss of health and independence, premature institutionalization, unnecessary hospital admissions and re-admissions, homelessness and more.”
ShiningCare’s Gatekeeper Program was developed in 2011 to address these issues and has proven to be successful in preventing these critical situations and keeping elders safe. The program does this by partnering and training public agencies, organizations, health care providers and caring community individuals. The free training provides skills that enable them to recognize and refer older adults who may be in need of assistance. Once identified, the Gatekeeper connects the elder to ShiningCare who provides a free risk assessment to determine what support and services are needed for safety and wellness.
McCarley has a degree in social work and more than 25 years of experience working with seniors and disabled adults in both medical and community settings. She is ShiningCare’s programs director and lead care manager, and her goal is to guide and advocate for clients as they navigate the complex systems and uncertainties of what to do.
“Love for our community is at the core of our mission,” McCarley says. “We are dedicated to helping individuals and families cope, and even thrive, as they deal with the challenges of what is often a difficult season of life.”
ShiningCare offers resources and services that help build relationships and prevent isolation, loneliness and depression. The organization’s Aging Life Care Professionals work with aging adults wherever they live to help them age well while supporting quality of life for family members. They apply their skills in eight key areas to create a care plan tailored to each family’s individual needs and strengths: health and disability, finances, housing, family, local resources, advocacy, legal and crisis intervention.
“I hope our clients experience peace of mind, restoration of security and well-being,” McCarley says.
Whether you need a simple flier or a newsletter to send to thousands of clients, Walker Printing is up to the task.
Since 1960, Walker Printing has served the North State with a high caliber of customer service and quality printing. Using only the finest of inks and quality Heidelberg presses, they aim to bring out the best in printing.
“We love helping other businesses. And we do this by providing them with quality printing that makes their business look good. When they look good, we look good,” said Walker Printing co-owner Chris Gagliano.
Their expert staff’s focus is making their clients’ companies shine. If a concept hasn’t gotten further than a person’s imagination, Walker Printing’s on-staff graphic designers can help bring those ideas to life, helping to ensure that the materials are professional and unique.
Walker Printing also provides direct mailing services, where clients can purchase a targeted list with specific demographics to ensure they’re reaching the right audience.
In addition, Walker works with a worldwide network of suppliers to provide an assortment of promotional items, from pens and mugs to flash drives and mouse pads.
“We work with Walker Printing because they provide a consistent blend of high-quality, excellent service and ultra-efficiency in all they do,” said Miki’ala Catalfano, Creative Services Officer at Turtle Bay Exploration Park. “Their attitudes are always positive and professional, and they are also a group of very friendly people. We consider them part of our working family, and we always recommend them to others. We’re so happy to have such a stellar company on our team!”
And the feeling is mutual.
“We are proud to be able to empower our clients with the tools they need in order to be successful,” said Walker Printing Business Executive Jen Peterson. “My favorite quote is, ‘One customer well taken care of, could be more valuable than $10,000 worth of advertising’ by Jim Rohn. And that is what we strive to do.”
Wilcox Oaks Golf Club
There’s no need to travel a great distance to spend a beautiful day on the links. Just north of Red Bluff on 120 acres of gently rolling oak woodlands, Wilcox Oaks Golf Club is one of the jewels of the Northern Sacramento Valley, offering a challenge to golfers and a welcome respite from daily life.
Back in the early 1920s, Grant Wilcox and other golf enthusiasts began playing on un-watered fairways and sand greens on a course referred to as “the sticker patch.” The land was generously gifted to the club after Wilcox’s death in 1957, the first well was dug, and irrigation for the first nine holes followed. Wilcox Oaks Golf Club was incorporated in 1958, and the full 18-hole layout was completed 20 years later. Improvements continue to this day, but the goal of the club has never changed — to be one of the best golfing and recreational values in the Shasta Cascade Wonderland.
“We serve the golfers of Tehama County, their guests as well as visitors passing through with the best golfing experience we can give them,” says interim General Manager Kevin Brunnemer. “We have a membership level to fit most everyone’s budget: single, family, corporate, 90-day trial memberships and ‘member for a day’ plan.”
The private club enjoys a diverse membership and it’s a place where golfers can relax, enjoy each other’s company, play a few rounds and participate in various social activities. Year-round play includes everything from casual couples’ scrambles to a Pro Am tournament each spring. Events are available for people of all ages, and the pro shop stands ready to equip golfers with any equipment or attire they might need.
Wilcox Oaks has also become a popular venue for special occasions, including weddings, reunions and holiday parties. They have a pool, tennis courts, full bar and restaurant (The Oaks Bar and Grill) that seats 120.
“We also have a full list of social events scheduled for the coming year — Thursday night football, a raffle extravaganza, a crab feed, murder mystery dinner, bingo and Monte Carlo night, to name but a few,” Brunnemer says. “If you’re not at Wilcox, you’re missing out!”
Hokema's Appliance, Sewing and Vacuum
Legend had it that if Hermann Hokema couldn’t fix something, it couldn’t be fixed. For more than 50 years, that knowledge and commitment to customer satisfaction has made Hokema's Appliance, Sewing and Vacuum the local industry leader.
In the past half-century, Hokema’s staff have set themselves apart as friendly, trustworthy and knowledgeable. They don’t just sell you a product — they help you learn how to use it. And if something goes wrong, they’ll make it right.
The shop’s technicians are factory trained, and they go to trainings several times a year when new innovations come out. “You can buy a vacuum or sewing machine anywhere online, but we have the know-how of how to work it and what it does,” explains Michael Hokema, one of the Hokemas’ three sons. “Most sewing machines have a plastic frame on the inside, but ours have metal frames. Our vacuums have metal brush rolls, not plastic. We sell quality products — value counts.”
The Hokemas found themselves in the North State mostly by chance. The late Hermann was drafted to the German army during the war, and then moved to Canada on a work visa. “When his visa expired, he made it to British Columbia and found another German fella who had some work going on,” Michael said. “He said, ‘If you can get yourself working on electricity and appliances, I have a job for you.’ So Dad went to correspondence school and became an electrician, and his friend said, ‘Come on down — I have a lead on a job in this place called Redding, California.’”
Meanwhile, Hermann was introduced to Gerda, who had come to America to work as a nanny in Grand Rapids, Mich. They quickly fell in love and were married in 1961 at First Baptist Church on Eureka Way. After a few years of doing mobile repair and putting more wear and tear on his vehicle than he liked, the Hokemas decided to open a storefront. They set up shop in 1964 on Yuba Street in downtown Redding, and moved to their current location on Bechelli Lane in 1976, remodeling a few times before taking over the whole building in 2002.
As the Hokemas’ sons Hardy, Frank and Michael grew older, their parents reminded them, “Your last name is associated with this store, so you will behave.” And the rule still holds true, as all three sons run the store today. Every day, a customer comes into the store and says their mother or grandmother has shopped there. Customers have moved out of town — even out of the country — and call Hokema’s to order parts. “I’ve sold pieces to people in Canada, the East Coast, Ecuador,” Michael says.
A family business is special — the owners live, work and play in this community. “We’ve got pretty deep roots here,” Michael says. “Former mayors have lived across the street from us. We’ve gone to school with the sheriff’s son. Everybody knows each other.”
Providing customers with exceptional service is one of the ways they give back. Hokema’s also offers numerous classes to improve people’s skills and allow them to showcase their creativity. An array of children’s classes, creative classes and mastery classes are offered, as well as “new owner” classes, so people can learn their new machines with confidence.
“We’re proud to have the opportunity to be a part of this great community,” Michael says.
Cornerstone Community Bank
Cornerstone Community Bank’s first actual cornerstone was set in Red Bluff, so it’s only natural that its founders are committed to reinvesting into the heart of the town. This fall, a beautifully crafted building will become Cornerstone’s newest home.
“Red Bluff holds a big piece of our hearts,” President and CEO Jeff Finck says. “We wanted to do something that would truly benefit the town all the way around. Whether you’re coming north, east, west or south into town … we’ll be right there in the middle.”
The new location at 500 Riverside Way will be a full-service branch, including a drive-through window, an ATM, plenty of parking and a nicely appointed board room complete with views of the Sacramento River. One thing won’t change, however, is Team Cornerstone’s focus on customer service, affectionately referred to within bank branches as inviting North State residents to come experience the Cornerstone difference.
“If you want a super-charged banking experience, use a community bank. We go the extra mile to meet our customers’ needs,” Finck says.
The first Cornerstone Community Bank opened in Red Bluff in the mid-2000s, and while the economic downturn temporarily tapped the brakes on the founders’ plans for expansion, they’ve added two branches in Redding since then, including one downtown on California Street. The Bank plans to relocate the Cypress Avenue Branch to the former Kragen Auto Parts building on the corner of Hartnell and Parkview in 2019.
Construction on the 15,000-square-foot building in Red Bluff (most recently the Riverside Bar and Grill) will be completed this fall. Half will be used by the Bank, and the other half will be leased out. The Bank’s relocation from leased space into its own building further strengthens its anchor in the community.
“Instead of seeing a dilapidated building when you cross the river into town, this will be one of the first architectural buildings you’ll see,” Finck says. “It’s an excellent way to showcase the town.”
Indeed, Cornerstone Community Bank helps people move their local dreams forward — including their own.
From an acorn grows a mighty oak, and Acorn Construction has spread strong roots throughout the North State. Acorn’s handiwork can be seen throughout the Red Bluff area, in commercial buildings as well as residential new construction and remodels.
Established in 1991 by Steve Downey (a founding member of Cornerstone Community Bank), Acorn Construction works closely with clients through every step of their building project, with the goal of providing excellent customer satisfaction. Acorn’s commercial jobs have included the original Cornerstone Community Bank in Red Bluff, Peter Lassen Square, Amundson Physical Therapy, and several small projects at St. Elizabeth Community Hospital and Coyne Center.
Downey works closely with each client throughout the project, giving attention to even the smallest details. He’s energized to see an increase in new home construction and is proud to play a part in helping customers realize their American dreams of building custom homes that fit them perfectly.
Guiton’s Pool Center, Inc.
Imagine floating in crystal-blue water on what seems like the edge of the earth, gazing out at a panoramic landscape featuring snow-capped mountains, meandering rivers and lush forests.
While this could be a scene from a posh European bed-and-breakfast, it can also be a 30-second walk from your own back door.
Guiton’s Pool Center has been bringing people’s dreams to life for a half-century with their imaginative pool construction, service and maintenance. Their expert builders have a knack for helping people craft perfect, personalized pools that fit their wishes, needs and budgets.
Dale Simpson, president and CEO of Guiton’s, began his career in 1975 under the mentorship of company founder Richard Guiton. He rose through the ranks to become sales manager, business manager and partner before buying the company in 2008. Under his leadership, Guiton’s has been named “Best Pool Company in the North State” by the Record Searchlight for many years.
Says Simpson, “Pools can bring so much fun and relaxation into your life — at Guiton’s, we want to make the whole process of building and owning a pool simple, fun and chock full of great family memories.”
Simpson is the son-in-law of the late Richard Guiton, who was a pool decking and concrete contractor in Southern California before moving to Redding in 1967. Guiton installed a few pools a year until hiring a salesperson in 1972, when that number jumped to 50 or 60 pools annually. Years later, he opened a retail location, then added a service department.
Today, thousands of pools in the North State carry the Guiton’s seal, and many more are carefully cleaned and maintained by the Guiton’s crew, so customers needn’t do anything besides retreat to their backyards and enjoy their own personal oasis.
Though Richard Guiton passed away in 2015, his legacy of generosity, customer service and caring for his employees lives on.
“We’ve been a family business for 50 years — some of our customers have been with us for that whole time,” Simpson explains. “That’s what we want — for people to experience caring, personalized service and enjoy their pool and enjoy interacting with everyone here. We make a commitment to everyone who comes through our doors: You’re going to get the best. The best educated pool care advice; the best personalized service; the best pool we can build you. It’s a promise we make — from our family, to yours.”
Lariat Bowl & Bowling Greens Miniature Golf
There are few places where grandparents, parents, teenagers and toddlers can enjoy fun, clean recreation together. Fortunately for the North State, Lariat Bowl, established in 1958, is one of those places.
Lariat Bowl at 365 S. Main St. in Red Bluff offers bowling, miniature golf, pool, laser light shows, an arcade and more. "We have 2-year-olds and we have 92-year-olds and everything in between," says Lariat Bowl owner Susan McFadyen. "It's a lot of fun - it's a place for the whole family to go."
Leagues and tournaments keep the bowling alley hopping, but there is plenty of room for those who just want to come in and play a few games. The Family Value Doubles Bowling Club is offered on Sunday nights, where an adult and child can bowl together. "With other sports, unless the parent is a coach, they are up in the stands. But everyone gets to bowl," McFadyen says. "No child sits on the bench."
Groups of developmentally disabled adults come and bowl every week, and the elementary and high schools bring their adaptive physical education classes to Lariat Bowl several times a year. School groups, church groups, local businesses and sports teams come in for parties and team-building events.
"Folks have said, 'We go to a restaurant and all we do is sit around and talk.' With bowling, you have some competition and some fun," McFadyen says. And afterwards, the adults can enjoy a cold adult beverage in the bar while kids spend a handful of quarters in the arcade.
The venue hosts and donates to an assortment of community events, including the Antelope-Berrendos School mother-son bowling event. It also sponsors benefits for groups like Providing Essentials for Tehama Shelter (PETS), giving a portion of proceeds back to the organization.
Tehama County is a wonderful place to live, work and play, McFadyen says. "There's always something going on, and there's always something in the community to get involved with," she says. "People go out of their way to help each other out."
Gene Penne, McFadyen's father, purchased Lariat Bowl in the 1960s and was involved in the community through schools, churches, businesses, civic organizations and local government. As Lariat Bowl comes into its 60th year in business, the tradition continues with a refreshed, clean facility providing "year-round family fun!"
Frozen Gourmet, Inc.
You probably never realized it, but if you love ice cream and pizza, you probably owe Frozen Gourmet a debt of thanks. They’re the ones who make sure your grocery store, your favorite convenience store and vending machines always have the treats that you crave.
The family-owned and -operated wholesale distributor of premium ice cream, frozen food and healthy drinks was founded by a Redding family who prides itself on providing friendly, reliable service from Southern Oregon all the way down to Yuba City.
Bill and Daphne Kohn founded Frozen Gourmet in 1979 when they moved from the Bay Area back to Bill’s hometown of Redding. They worked out of their house, rented a freezer in Red Bluff, had one truck and did everything themselves, from sales and delivery to bookkeeping. Over the years, Frozen Gourmet grew steadily, adding employees, leasing space on Airport Road and installing their own freezer.
Today, they’re the exclusive supplier for top-selling national ice cream brands, including Dreyer’s, Haagen-Dazs and Nestle, along with pizza products such as Di Giorno and California Pizza Kitchen. Their new line of healthy drinks include Naked Juice, Kevita and Chameleon Cold Brew. The Redding warehouse uses 12 trucks to deliver to stores and restaurants from Yuba City to the Oregon border. That’s where the Medford warehouse picks up, and its 10 trucks service Southern Oregon.
And it’s still a family business in every sense of the word. Nikki Rayl was a baby who was usually perched on her mom’s hip when her parents founded the company, and today she runs the administrative side of the business. Her brother, Rob, leads the company’s operations. Frozen Gourmet now has about 60 full-time and 40 part-time employees, all of whom are dedicated to providing the best service possible.
Meme’s On Main
Every child who envied the fresh-baked cookies in Diane McDonald’s children’s lunchboxes back in the day is in luck. Today, you can buy as many as you’d like at Meme’s on Main Street in the heart of historic downtown Red Bluff.
Diane and Murl McDonald opened Meme’s in March 2017, and the family business specializes in catering to your sweet tooth. “We’d always kicked around having a cupcake and cookie shop, and I’ve always loved to bake,” explains Diane, who baked cookies daily while her children were growing up. “Then one opened on North Main, and I thought, ‘Oh no, there goes my idea.’ Then that one closed, and there was an empty building right on Main Street, and I thought, maybe this is a sign. We came and talked to them, and within a week everything was rolling.”
Meme’s features cupcakes and cookies, as well as truffles, fudge and rocky road — decadent treats for the chocoholic. Frozen yogurt in an array of flavors helps cool you off on hot summer days. Special order cupcakes and cookies are a fun indulgence for a special occasion.
Diane does all the baking. “We made pies for Christmas and Thanksgiving — apple and pumpkin — and the cookies and the cupcakes go crazy. There’s no other place in town that does homemade,” she says.
She also makes the fudge and rocky road — but not the truffles. “I do not have the patience to do that,” she says with a laugh.
In the beginning, the shop didn’t offer cupcakes — just yogurt, truffles and old-fashioned candy. “I had a girl come and paint on my windows. She painted a yogurt cup, and I had so many people come and say, ‘You have cupcakes? There’s a cupcake on your window!’ I told them that it was a yogurt cup — but we went ahead and bit the bullet and bought the oven, and it’s just taken off from there.”
A new sitting area is a lovely refuge for sipping tea with a friend. Meme’s serves artisan teas including lemon ginger, cranberry blood orange, English breakfast, chai spice, chamomile lavender mint and hibiscus ginger orange. The dainty space is appointed with flowers and ceramic tea pots.
The shop also offers children’s classes every month or so, where youngsters can try their hand at selected art projects. They’ll be decorating Valentine’s Day cookies during the next class on Feb. 10. A chalkboard on the wall attracts the creativity of kids and kids at heart.
“I love when people come in here and are satisfied and pleased with what I’ve done,” says Diane, a retired office manager who has lived in Tehama County for more than 60 years. “I really enjoy the people.”
Meme’s is located at 643 Main St., and is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Call 727-9800 for more information.
Nouvant Homes Inc.
It was the first day of summer vacation for 13-year-old Mark Gunlogson Jr. when his contractor father “invited” him to work with him.
“We were working on some apartments on Magnolia, and it looked like a lumber bomb went off up there,” Gunlogson Jr. recalls. “He said, ‘You need to put all that trash away.’” He spent that summer working alongside Mark Gunlogson Sr. at his company, Gunner, Inc., learning about the trade that would also become the younger Gunlogson’s lifelong career.
The following summer, he worked with his uncle Richard on his painting crew. “My dad would start the houses and Uncle Richard would finish them,” Gunlogson Jr. says. He worked with his uncle until he was about 18, and then began working directly for his father again.
At his father’s insistence, Gunlogson Jr. went to college after graduating from Enterprise High School. “When I was 18, I told him that I wanted him to teach me the trade — how to build a complete house. He said, ‘No way,’” Gunlogson Jr. recalls.
The elder Gunlogson wanted to ensure that homebuilding was truly what his son wanted to do. “I actually had to go to college, get an engineering degree and work as an engineer for about three years,” Gunlogson Jr. says, adding that he worked for his dad during school breaks to put himself through school. “Then I was like, ‘I’m not doing what I want to do.’ So I came back to Redding and started building.”
He established Nouvant Homes Inc. in 2009, and it remains a father-son team, with wife Renee handling marketing duties. They pride themselves on building quality, affordable homes throughout the North State. Though his father is “basically” retired, he built two houses this year and still comes to the office daily, Gunlogson Jr. says.
What does he enjoy most about his work?
“Everything,” he says without hesitation. “The client satisfaction. I see a lot of clients who are older and have never owned a house, so to be able to get them into a starter house at a low price is satisfying. I’m always happy for them.”
Poor And The Homeless Tehama County Coalition (PATH)
A single candle flickers in the darkness. From this tiny flame, many more candles can be lit, yet the life of that single candle is never shortened.
Ordinary people are doing extraordinary work through the Poor and the Homeless (PATH), a nonprofit that provides shelter and nourishment (both physical and spiritual) to those who need it most in Tehama County.
Like most world-changing work, PATH started with the simplest of actions. In 1999, Allene Dering joined a prayer group at a Red Bluff church. One Sunday, the pastor announced that a meeting would be held after the service to explore what could be done to help the homeless. Dering felt called to attend the meeting.
“We were praying for guidance for God’s will for us individually and God’s will for the church,” she explains. “When I lived in Napa, they wanted to do something about the homeless, and I was the loudest one against it. I didn’t know homeless people at the time. All I thought was, ‘I’ve got to go to that meeting.’ It was God’s will for me to do that. God changed my heart.”
She’s been PATH’s leader ever since.
PATH’s initial mission was to shelter the homeless. Three pastors were part of the original group – Tim Soule, Wallace Anderson and Susan Plucker — and several churches allowed PATH to use their facilities. They formed a grassroots group called The Homeless Coalition and became a nonprofit in 2000.
Today, PATH is governed by a 12-member board of directors, representing the faith community, business community, local government and the target group. It operates the only winter emergency homeless shelter in Red Bluff, which is open Nov. 1 through April 30 each year and rotates through local churches. Dinner is provided to those who spend the night. Use of alcohol and illegal drugs is prohibited.
In addition, PATH also operates the Sale House, a sober living transitional home for homeless women and their children. The two-year program is designed to help women become self-sufficient and secure permanent housing. A case manager helps clients set and achieve their goals.
Homeless men can participate in Pathways, which is also a two-year sober transitional living program with a case manager who helps participants achieve self-sufficiency. The men are available to volunteer at community events.
PATH also has a new grant-funded Housing First program, where they house people regardless of their circumstances, then work intensively with them for six to eight months to help them change the behavior that has been keeping them out of permanent housing.
“We’re getting people off the streets and getting them into housing,” Dering says. “Twenty percent of people who have come to the shelter have been able to get into housing before their time in the shelter is over.”
Most homeless people have income, Dering says, but it’s such a small amount that they can’t live on it and save money at the same time. People can stay at the shelter for up to six months, which gives them the opportunity to build up enough savings for their first month’s rent and a deposit.
“Homeless people are people just like anybody else,” Dering says. “I’ve met some really wonderful people among the homeless. It’s like any other prejudice — one person of a different color treats you badly, so you think they’re all that way. Just because one homeless person did something you thought was horrible doesn’t mean they’re all that way.”
The community can support PATH in many ways, including joining the tax-deductible “dollar a month club,” donating toiletries or food, volunteering to teach a life-skills class, helping in the emergency shelter, or donating stock or memorial funds to PATH’s endowment fund. For more information, visit www.redbluffpath.org .
8 th Annual RABA Salute to Veterans
Shasta County is home to more than 17,000 veterans — people who were willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to protect America’s freedom. Sadly, an increasing number of our veterans are homeless, elderly and at risk, and need help getting where they need to go.
Fortunately, the community has an opportunity to give back to them.
In honor of Veterans’ Day, the 8 th Annual Redding Area Bus Authority (RABA) Salute to Veterans event is planned Thursday, November 9 from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Cornerstone Community Bank, 150 E. Cypress Ave. in Redding. This event provides free bus passes to more than 8,500 veterans annually through the Shasta County Veterans Service Office (VSO). This helps veterans get to work, medical appointments, school, shopping and other needed appointments.
“We have a lot of seniors and veterans on fixed incomes who need public transportation to get around,” explains Melissa Estrada, Transportation Planner for the City of Redding.
Donations from the fundraiser directly benefit the Shasta County VSO, which is the first step for assisting veterans across Shasta County and serves more than 8,500 people annually. The VSO distributes $10 RABA punch cards from its main office and other local veteran organizations, which can be used on RABA routes in Redding, Shasta Lake City, and Anderson.
RABA provides a 50 percent match to all donations received, so for every $100 donated, $150 in transit rides are provided to veterans.
People can donate money online with a credit card or deliver cash or a check to the event. Cash can also be donated any time from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays at Cornerstone Community Bank.
“It’s really fun,” Estrada says. “The Veterans Service Office, Enterprise Lions Club, and Cornerstone Community Bank all participate. The Lions Club displays their two large flags on the building and 24 along the sidewalk outside. There’s so much honor on display at the event — from the flags to the community members who show up to support our veterans.”
The Shasta County VSO offers comprehensive counseling to veterans and their families on benefits granted by federal, state, and local laws. These benefits can include disability, pensions, college fee waivers, vocational rehabilitation, life insurance, medical care, home loan programs, homeless housing assistance and much more. The VSO helps develop claims and ensures the required documents are submitted. For more information about these services, call 225-5616 or visit the office at 1855 Shasta St. in Redding.
5 th Annual CASA Superhero Run
Saturday, November 4, 2017
Real superheroes don’t always wear capes.
Take, for instance, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA). These volunteers serve as the voices for children in the foster care and judicial systems, advocating for their needs with the goal of placing every abused or neglected child in a healthy, safe permanent home.
Northern Valley Catholic Social Service operates this program in Butte, Glenn, Shasta and Tehama counties, and since the program began in Butte County in 2001, it has trained 362 advocates who have served 728 children.
While this number is certainly impressive, the current number of advocates are only able to serve about 8 percent of children who could benefit from these services.
So who makes a great CASA volunteer? Perhaps you would! Advocates come from all walks of life, and are citizens in our community who want to make a difference in the world. They are 21 years or older, and they go through a 40-hour training class before they’re sworn in as officers of the court.
Upon being assigned to a case, they are asked to meet with their child once a week for at least an hour. They represent that child’s interests and thoughts through a court report that is filed before each court hearing (about every six months). Their job includes researching and gathering information, monitoring and advocating for progress on the child’s case plan, submitting written reports to the court and advocating for the child in court and in meetings. Volunteers are well supported by NVCSS staff and fellow CASA volunteers.
“I wanted to show my own two girls that they have a mother who does something about a problem and doesn’t just talk about it,” said Corrie Miller, a CASA volunteer since 2014. “I can’t help all the children, but I can make a difference one child at a time. The ripple effect from that is more than I can imagine.”
Those who are unable to serve as volunteers can still lend a hand to this noble effort. The CASA Superhero Run is Nov. 4 at the Redding Civic Auditorium, and all proceeds benefit the CASA program. Little Heroes Dash for ages 10 and under starts at 8:30 a.m. (a cape is included), and the chip-timed 5K Run/Walk and 10K begin at 9 a.m. A pancake breakfast is included for each registered participant. Learn more at www.run4casa.com.
To learn more about the CASA program, visit www.nvcss.org/casa or call 844-25-4CASA.
Tehama District Junior Livestock Committee
Friday, July 14, 2017
Give kids a purpose, and you might be surprised at what they can achieve.
That’s one of the driving forces behind the Tehama District Junior Livestock Committee. Through this nonprofit organization, 4-H and Future Farmers of America youth develop an understanding about the end result of livestock, which is to feed the American people. Since 1996, hundreds of youth have raised rabbits, chickens, steer, sheep, goats, hogs and more. Auction seats always fill up fast with new and veteran buyers who are eager to support youth in our community and enjoy homegrown livestock.
“4-H and FFA are just amazing,” says Mike Collins, the committee’s president. “They build character.”
Raising livestock requires a significant commitment of time and energy, Collins says. When you’re raising an animal, you’re not sleeping in late on lazy summer mornings or taking long vacations away — you’re committed to the creature in your care, whatever challenges may arise. “They’re responsible for it,” he says. “Most parents say, ‘This is your animal — get it ready for fair."'
Marketing is also a huge piece of the puzzle. “They have to get someone to purchase the animal,” Collins explains. This involves writing letters and having confident, intelligent conversations with potential buyers to ensure top dollar for their animal. “It really brings kids out of their shell.”
Some animals require a relatively short time commitment — small animals like rabbits need to be in the child’s care at least 30 days before the fair, and hogs and goats are with the youth for at least 60 days. Beef has to be in the child’s care for at least 120 days, though most young farmers are buying their steers now for the 2018 fair. And it’s a competitive field — the Tehama District Fair featured 380 livestock this year alone.
Collins and his wife, Teri, have been involved with the livestock committee since about 1982, when their daughter was 6. “Now we’re on our third generation,” says Collins, who has been on the committee since 1992.
And in their view, the investment — while exhausting at times — is well worth the reward.
“If you keep these kids busy, odds are, they’re going to turn out pretty good,” Collins says.
Caliber Office Furniture
Thursday, June 08, 2017
Caliber — it’s defined as a degree of moral quality, or a degree of excellence or importance. For Chris Cable, the name he selected for his business sets the tone for the level of customer service he delivers to his customers.
The owner of Caliber Office Furniture has accumulated more than 20 years of experience in the office furniture industry, and he and his team are experts at helping people find the perfect, affordable solutions to their office needs.
Cable attended high school in San Diego County and moved to Redding in 1992 to attend Simpson University. He began working as a furniture installer in 1995 and went to school at night, earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration. He moved up the ladder to sales, project management and lead installer, becoming a well-rounded expert in every facet of the industry. Unfortunately, in 2010, the company where he was working downsized. Cable seized this opportunity to take a leap of faith and branch out on his own, and he launched Caliber Office Furniture in April 2010.
“I created it from the ground up,” Cable said. “All I had was a desk – I was renting a corner office in a construction company's office. My warehouse was a 10x10-foot storage unit. We've grown by leaps and bounds. We truly are a little success story.”
Caliber focuses intently on customer service, environmental consciousness and a sense of community. In his free time, he enjoys geocaching, kayaking and tending to the five-acre farm where he lives with his wife, Cassie, and their two children.
“We treat people above and beyond with our customer service,” Cable said. “Honestly, when we show with brand-new office furniture, they get the feeling like its Christmas Day, and we love it. I stop by to check on them later, which is a little bit of a personal touch. That's the service they expect by buying local, rather than ordering furniture online and having it just end up on doorstep.”
Children First Foster Family Agency
Tuesday, May 09, 2017
All children deserve love and acceptance — and with the help of some devoted adults, Children First Foster Family Agency provides exactly that to our community’s most vulnerable youngsters.
Children First is a private, nonprofit agency committed to helping individuals of all ages realize their full potential and achieve their personal goals. The agency is dedicated to providing a safe, supportive environment that nurtures and inspires the children, adults and families they work with daily. Founded in 1999 by Mike Logan, the agency has grown from one employee to nearly 50, and from one small office to offices in Tehama, Shasta and Siskiyou counties. Programs include foster care, counseling and programs that give children a chance to excel.
“There is nothing more rewarding than to know that we have provided something to someone who may not have received it if we were not here,” Logan says.
People are often surprised to learn that they have exactly what it takes to be a foster parent, even if they don’t look like a traditional “family.” To get started, potential foster parents just need to be 21 or older and have a stable, loving home, a sustainable income, reliable transportation, citizenship or permanent legal residency, and enough time to devote to the success of their foster children.
Logan moved from Colorado to Yuba City when he was 11 and joined the military at 18. His career took him to the Pentagon, factories, mines and lumber mills before he took on the challenge of establishing and running the area’s first medical model alcohol and drug treatment center at a Redding hospital. He was also the founding administrator for the first Christian treatment center for alcohol and drug addiction in Northern California, where the first immediate care facility for the developmentally disabled was developed.
“As my wife and I were busy building our lives and our future, we realized that there was something missing and we wanted to have children in our lives,” Logan says. “This is when we first considered becoming foster parents.”
Their adventure began with twin 7-year-old boys in 1995, and the Logans wrapped them up in healing, love and support. Today, both boys are married and have given the Logans six grandchildren.
“We have always thought of these children as our own, from the first morning we brought them home,” Logan says. “It was from this experience that the idea of creating a foster family agency came about.”
Logan is also the founder of Children First Counseling Center and Lassen Counseling Services, an agency that was started as a response to the growing need for counseling services in rural Northern California and the desire to change lives by helping people through difficult times.
“I am passionate about protecting children because most often they cannot protect themselves,” says one Children First social worker. “I believe that every child deserves a loving, safe home in order to develop into the best person that they can be. If a child cannot stay with their biological family, then I am passionate to try and help them receive the best treatment and experience in their foster home environment.”
Anyone who would like to learn more about Children First Foster Family Agency can find more information at www.childrenfirstffa.com .
Shasta County Grand Jurors' Association
Tuesday, April 04, 2017
Holding governments accountable is a daunting task, but every year, 19 selfless souls step up to the plate and take on the title of grand juror — and a group of seasoned veterans is there to help guide the way.
Established in 2002, the nonprofit Shasta County Grand Jurors’ Association is made up of former grand jurors who promote, preserve and support the grand jury system through training, education and outreach.
When Larry Johnson retired after more than 35 years as an attorney, he was looking for something to keep himself busy. His wife saw a banner soliciting grand jury members, which piqued his interest. He served on the 2012-13 grand jury, and then joined the Shasta County Grand Jurors’ Association. He’s now the chairman of their recruitment committee.
“We actually serve three functions,” Johnson explains. “First, we assist the Superior Court in recruiting qualified applicants for grand jury service. Second, we assist the Shasta County Grand Jury in providing training to grand jurors on interview techniques, investigative techniques, things of that nature. Third, we’ve developed something of a social aspect to the grand jury.”
Grand juries have 19 members. Up to 10 people can be reappointed to a second term, and the remaining members are selected by a random drawing after their applications are reviewed by Shasta County Superior Court judges. “The type of people who want to devote a whole year to this kind of work are usually people who have been leaders in whatever capacity, or they just want to do something for the community,” Johnson says.
The time commitment varies widely, but typically averages 10-20 hours a week. It ramps up toward the end of the term, as members are wrapping up investigations, determining their findings and writing reports.
“People sometimes misunderstand the role of the grand jury,” Johnson says. “You hear about grand juries and you probably think about criminal grand juries and indictments – that’s a very, very rare function of grand juries nowadays. Ninety-nine percent of the time, what we do is civil grand jury work, where we are a watchdog over local government. We have the authority to look into our city governments, all departments of the county government and all special districts.”
Special districts include water, cemetery and conservation districts, and the grand jury ensures that they are acting within the rules and regulations that govern them.
Each grand jury is free to decide what issues it will look into each year, and its reports on those investigations include a detailed factual statement about the issue or organization, as well as conclusions and recommendations.
“These are average citizens who devote their time to this,” Johnson says. “It's exciting. I don't know many citizens who have the opportunity other than through a means like this to call before them the members of the government. If you want to talk to the Board of Supervisors, they're going to make time for you. So will the members of our city councils and the heads of special districts. They respect the grand jury, and it's a two-way street.”
Though the grand jury can't make changes itself, they shine a light on problems or areas that need improvement, and heightening the public’s awareness often leads to changes. Their work has led to some big improvements, including creation of the Redding Library and increases in per diem payments for volunteer firefighters, which helped entice more volunteers to take on this challenging job to protect public safety.
“Most of the time agencies are doing a really good job with what they've got,” Johnson concludes. “Sometimes the public has a need to know that their elected officials are doing a really good job with the resources they have available.”
Anyone who would like to learn more about serving on the grand jury can find more information and an application at: shastacountygrandjury.org . The new grand jury session begins June 26.
Red Bluff Gold Exchange
Wednesday, March 08, 2017
If your watch has stopped ticking, you’re in need of a small loan or you just need a reminder that there’s truly goodness in this world, Jessie Woods has you covered.
The Gold Exchange has been Red Bluff’s premier jeweler, reputable pawnbroker and more since 1994. Woods and her team, who have nearly 80 years of combined experience, have earned a reputation for delivering courteous and knowledgeable customer service.
At the Gold Exchange on Walnut Street, Woods’ staff loves helping people search for that perfect gift for a loved one. Their inventory includes a distinctive selection of diamond jewelry, a variety of chains, colored stone jewelry for every birth month, Citizen watches and fun sterling silver. The Gold Exchange also buys and sells an array of tools, games, movies, electronics, musical equipment, sporting goods, coins and more through its pawn shop.
In 2005, Jessie added a spiritual boutique called Angels Among Us, which offers a variety of metaphysical products from sage to drums and crystals. Master goldsmith Cary Freeman refurbishes the shop’s estate jewelry and creates her own line of jewelry for the soul. Her signature piece is the bold, fun, liquid gold waterfall that many consider to be wearable art.
One of the most exciting parts of Woods’ job is working with couples to select bridal jewelry. And once that ring is on her finger, Jessie – an ordained minister — can even perform the wedding ceremony.
However, buying and selling a wide variety of merchandise is secondary to Woods’ passion for serving unmet needs in her community. Her iconic red hair reflects her generous heart — she’s known for spearheading all sorts of philanthropic efforts, from supporting foster kids to seeking donations for food pantries.
Woods’ motto in life is, “Together we can accomplish great things. By holding hands, we create miracles.” This is reflective in her business and her love for her community.
One SAFE Place
Friday, January 27, 2017
Building the Sierra Center became a mission for the staff at One SAFE Place after the tragic murders of Sandy Miller and her two small children, Shelby and Shasta. Sandy and her daughters had come to One SAFE Place seeking help for a domestic violence situation, but left because of the shelter’s crowded dormitory style setting (26 people in 3 bedrooms), noise and lack of privacy. Shortly afterward they were found and murdered by her husband. A new facility became the priority, with a residence shelter, co-located client services, and on-site partner agencies.
Plans were drawn up and a capital campaign was launched. Jean King, executive director at the time, turned to a local bank to seek the funding One SAFE Place needed to build. “The overwhelming support of Cornerstone Community Bank and its belief in One SAFE Place and our vision for the Sierra Center helped allow us to make our dream a reality,” said Interim Executive Director Angela Jones. “We are so grateful to Cornerstone’s support of those who have been victims of domestic and sexual abuse.”
The Sierra Center Residence consists of 13 rooms, with a capacity for up to 52 residents. Individual rooms include a double bed, twin bed and a private bathroom. Clients and their children who have been traumatized by domestic violence or sexual abuse are given the chance to heal and rebuild their lives, with the safety and privacy provided by individual rooms that lock. They also participate in groups where they have the community support of others who have suffered from similar circumstances.
In the residence, the community kitchen allows for three cooking stations. There are six washers and dryers. The living room is a place for families to relax, and it’s also where counseling groups and activities take place. An important part of the facility is the emphasis on children’s programs — counseling, curriculum and case management.
The increase in the length of stay in residence has grown from an average of 11 days last year to an average of 35 days this year. Many families now have stayed up to 90 days, giving them the time they need to get safe, to heal, to feel supported, to find jobs and to locate housing.
“Our most exciting new development is that One SAFE Place recently was able to place its first client family into transitional housing,” Jones said.
There are numerous ways to support One SAFE Place, but one of the most fun is its crab feed. The 30th annual event is set for Saturday, Feb. 4, at the Shasta District Fairgrounds in Anderson. Cocktails and auction item viewing begins at 4 p.m., and dining room doors open at 4 p.m. Cost is $50 per person, which includes all-you-can-eat Dungeness crab, clam chowder, salad, French bread, dessert and coffee. No-host beer, wine soda and margaritas are also available. To become a sponsor or volunteer, call Kristi at 244-0118 or visit their website: www.ospshasta.org .
Shasta Regional Community Foundation
Monday, January 09, 2017
The North State is home to scores of nonprofit organizations that pour their hearts into making this community a better place to live, work and play. That power is magnified exponentially by the Shasta Regional Community Foundation.
Concerned with the well-being of future generations in Shasta and Siskiyou counties, the Shasta Regional Community Foundation builds permanent endowments, addresses needs through grantmaking and demonstrates community leadership.
And the Community Foundation is currently celebrating the success of its annual North State Giving Tuesday campaign, which shattered last year's record, collecting more than $750,000 for 96 nonprofits in Shasta and Siskiyou counties — a 77 percent increase over year. More people participated, as well — the 4,504 gifts were a 64 percent boost from last year, and the average gift of $130 was up by $5.
"With the success we saw the first year, we knew this next year was going to be significant, but we had no idea just how significantly successful it would turn out to be," says Kerry Caranci, CEO of the Shasta Regional Community Foundation. "With the increase in nonprofits and the generosity of our community, we really shouldn't have been surprised. We live in such a caring and generous place."
Giving Tuesday is a national initiative that local organizations make their own, encouraging people to "give where you live." Donations were collected on Nov. 29, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, on the heels of Black Friday and Cyber Monday to kick off the charitable giving season. This year's dollars went even further thanks to incentives of more than $80,000 provided by Shasta Regional Community Foundation's Knodel Family Endowment Fund. Outreach and business partners were hourly sponsors and active ambassadors during the drive, encouraging others to do their year-end giving online to benefit organizations they hold dear to their hearts.
The one-day event, with 96 nonprofits and their supporters spreading the word, made for an exciting day fueled by a sense of urgency. "To be able to refresh the webpage and see those dollars going up by hundreds and thousands — people want to be participating in that," Caranci says.
The Shasta Regional Community Foundation's services include gift planning, options for family philanthropy, administrative support to simplify giving and more. The Community Foundation continuously monitors the community to understand the nature of need, the forces of change, available resources and the capacity for growth.
"We always say, you don't have to be a millionaire to be a philanthropist. We can help anybody achieve their charitable goals," Caranci explains. "We are really able to do all of the work for our donors. We're more efficient and time effective than creating a foundation, so more dollars can go to the grant opportunities you wish to see rather than administrative costs.
The Shasta Regional Community Foundation's grant programs include the Animal Welfare Endowment Fund, Burney Regional Community Fund, Community Arts Endowment Fund, Community Disaster Relief Fund, McConnell Fund, Redding Rancheria Community Fund and The Women's Fund.
"We bring the expertise in administering funds, and convening grant panels to review the applications and work with the organizations to ensure the dollars are spent wisely and most effectively," Caranci says.
Laam Custom Motorcycle Seats
Tuesday, November 01, 2016
With a powerful engine beneath you and nothing but open road ahead, there’s no feeling quite like revving up a motorcycle and leaving the world behind.
Until the next morning, when the adrenaline rush has worn off and every single one of your muscles reminds you that every thrill comes with a price.
Fortunately, Seth Laam has a solution for that. The founder and head designer of Laam Custom Motorcycle Seats, he’s made a career out of keeping riders comfortable on their bikes.
“I hand-tailor seats to the person’s height, weight and inseam,” Laam explains. “Working with motorcycles is my passion.”
Combining old-fashioned quality with the latest in technology, Laam pays keen attention to detail and has earned a stellar reputation worldwide. “I’m shipping a seat to England this week,” he said.
Laam has customized thousands of motorcycle seats over the years, hand-sculpting each one for a one-of-a-kind fit that gets the rider perfectly balanced to ensure the most comfortable ride possible. Customers can also take advantage of the “Ride-In” option, where they drive their bike to the shop and Laam constructs the seat while they relax.
The self-taught artist has loved motorcycles since he was a child, and his passion was fueled by the thrill of speed and the joy of getting away from it all. “They’re dangerous, but fun,” Laam says. “It’s about living life on the wild side — being adventurous.”
And the North State is a great place to take on that adventure. “Highway 36 is world known,” Laam says. “The roads around here are just awesome.”
A&R Custom Butchering
Friday, September 09, 2016
Do big-box retailers have you longing for a more personal touch when you’re buying the foods that you feed your family? Red Bluff is home to a shop that serves up premium quality meats, produce and more, topping off the experience with a laser-sharp focus on customer service.
Dwayne and Barbra Casteel own and operate A&R Custom Butchering, and they’ve dedicated themselves to its success. Their reputation for taking pride in what they do has helped them build a loyal following of local customers.
“We live in a small community, and you can make or break your business’ reputation in a very short time,” Barbra says. “It only takes one bad customer service experience.”
And the secret of their spectacular service is out: A&R Custom Butchering was recently named Tehama County Business of the Quarter by the Red Bluff-Tehama County Chamber of Commerce and the Red Bluff Daily News.
A&R offers custom butchering and mobile slaughtering, specializing in domestic and wild game, which is a service appreciated by hunters, ranchers, fair buyers and more. “You tell us specifically how you want it cut up and we get it done,” Barbra says.
The shop has a full retail meat counter, produce, seafood, meat packs, deli meats and cheeses — including specialty items that are tough to find elsewhere, like alligator and frog legs.
Custom orders are welcome. “We have customers that want to buy several of one item, but have it wrapped, say, two to a package. We do that. We want the customer to be happy they came here from the moment they walk in to the moment they walk out,” Barbra says.
In January, they began making deli sandwiches six days a week, including hot pulled pork and hot tri-tip sandwiches on certain days. “I tell our staff that we need to be fast, personable and know our customers,” Barbra says. “We remember their names and we remember what they like. We have to make it where people want to drive out to us — not just to bring them in, but to keep them.”
Dwayne and Barbra were in the same kindergarten class at Antelope School; their sons, Cole, 14, and Shane, 12, also attended Antelope. “We really feel connected to the town,” Barbra says.
Dwayne started learning to cut meat at age 15 while working as a “clean-up kid” in a butcher shop in Cottonwood, where he learned from a man who was born in a meat packing house. “You can’t go to school and learn that,” Dwayne says. “If I wouldn’t have started there, I wouldn’t know that side of the business.”
Dwayne managed Raley’s and Safeway stores before coming to work for Adam and Russ at A&R Custom Butchering, which was then a tiny meat counter in Dairyville. He became a partner eight years ago, and he and his wife became the sole owners of the company last year.
The Casteels have been married for 15 years, and their sons help with the business during the summer and school breaks. “Our customers absolutely love them,” Barbra says. “It’s nice to have a family-oriented company.”
And they appreciate the privilege of being able to run a business in a community where their roots run deep.
“When you’re passionate about your job and you get to come to work every day to a job you love, it’s pretty rare,” Barbra says.