By Molly • Molly Walker • 

Hopscotch Toys named business of year

The event was held Thursday, Feb. 21, in the McMinnville Grand Ballroom. The award was presented by Mary Stuart of R. Stuart & Co. Winery and Wine Bar, last year’s winner.

A few quotes from the nominations for Hopscotch were read and included, “Linda is a tireless advocate of our downtown and of McMinnville as a whole. As the owner of Hopscotch Toys, she has her finger on the pulse of the community and uses this information wisely. She runs a popular and successful store, putting great thought into her inventory. She encourages positive dialogue with customers, reminding them to support locally owned businesses.”

MDA Manager Cassie Sollars said, “It was just a fun evening. Everyone was so up and positive.”

She said the event, catered by Harvest Fresh, attracted 175 people, about twice as many as last year.

While the event is not necessarily designed as a fundraiser, Sollars said donated wine, beer and auction items should enable MDA to net between $3,000 and $4,000 for downtown activities. 

Also honored were:

n Jennifer and Gary Frost, volunteers of the year.

The award was presented by MDA’s former Farmers Market manager, Barbara Boyer, and new manager, Courtney Harris. The Frosts moved to McMinnville in 2008 from the Seattle and started volunteering at the Farmers Market in 2009.

n Boersma’s Sewing Center, outstanding window design.

MDA board member Kyle Faulk announced the award, saying the display work done by Jack and Michelle Boersma is always striking. He said their sense of  style, color, whimsy, creativity and imagination made it a clear winner.

n Anonymous donor, downtown beautification.

A benefactor who prefers to remain anonymous won MDA’s downtown beautification award two years ago for funding the purchase of the beloved Ben Franklin bench sculpture now gracing the US Bank Plaza. This year, the same benefactor was honored for funding an Abraham Lincoln bench placed in front of the McMinnville Community Center, next to the county courthouse at 6th and Evans streets.

The $35,000 piece was sculpted by Gary Lee Price, who is responsible not only for the Ben Franklin bench, but also the girl and boy readers placed at the corner of the public library grounds at Second and Adams streets.

“This wonderful anonymous patron of the arts does not want to be known, but we are forever grateful for her generosity,” Sollars said.

n The Old Oak, new signage.

MDA board member Zack Geary presented the award to owner Johnny Myers. The painstakingly handcrafted sign was produced on commission by local artist Mitch Horning. It fits the style of The Old Oak, which has quickly become a popular place to gather and enjoy a selection of beers and spirits from around the world.

n McMinnville Water & Light, associate member contributions.

In presenting the award to General Manager Kem Carr, Sollars said, “It would be impossible to list all the ways in which Water & Light assists our organization.” She said the list includes financial sponsorship of holiday lighting downtown, assistance with the installation of the MDA’s holiday lighting display, sponsorship of a Turkey Rama booth hosting free distribution of low-energy light bulbs and low-flow shower heads and utility assistance with a range of downtown events.

n The Sage Restaurant, interior renovation.

Board member Jen Feero presented the award to owner Cindy Lorenzen, who bought the business when Don Libby retired two years ago. After the purchase, she worked with interior designer Kim Morris on a renovation that created a faux fireplace, brightened the interior and increased seating capacity.

n McMinnville Bank Building, exterior renovation.

MDA board member Scott Cunningham presented the award to Gary Sanders, co-owner with Rich Sachse, in honoring a dramatic makeover of the 1883 building featuring extensive stucco repair and new paint.

n Headwater Investment Consulting, new construction.

Thomas Sherwood accepted the award on behalf of owner Scott Chambers, a longtime finance professor at Linfield College who was out of town. It honors a Craftsman-style office Chambers had constructed at the corner of southeast First and Davis streets for his investment consulting shop.

“He didn’t want to disturb the residential feel of the neighborhood, and he succeeded,” Sollars said.

n The McMinnville Public Library and its staff, manager’s award.

To honor its 100th anniversary, Sollars said, the library hosted events throughout the year. She said the series created a “magical old-time feel.”

Despite shrinking budgets, the library “continues to serve the community with imagination and professionalism,” she said, “and always with fun and learning in mind.”

The MDA comprises 280 members owning businesses or properties in McMinnville’s Downtown Historic District, supported by a number of associate members sharing its aspirations.

Members also voted in three new members to its board of directors: Mary Beth Boyd, Mes Amis; Doug Beck, The News-Register; and Karin Moshier, Haugeberg, Rueter, Gowell, Fredericks & Higgins.

While Sollars has headed the association for only a few months, she became its bookkeeper 18 years ago and has remained involved ever since. She put in many years on its governing board.

She said she is really enjoying her involvement with the downtown business community.



I'm so glad Linda won the award, she is certainly a very deserving person. I remembered her first shop downtown, I was always in there as I love toys. She is at a very good location now, I just walked by it today in fact, I'm thinking I haven't been in there for awhile, I think it's time for a visit, never know what small treasure I can find.

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