By Molly • Molly Walker • 

Sears, The Venue to hold grand opening

The Sears Hometown Store and Venue Event Hall, both owned and operated by Brian Hayward, will hold a grand opening celebration this weekend at the facilities they share at 1621 N.E. Baker St.

At Sears, activities will run 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 2, with refreshments, a raffle, special sales promotions and  a KINK radio remote from noon to 2 p.m. The phone number is 503-472-2101.

At The Venue, an adjacent space that can be rented for weddings, receptions, dances and other events, activities will run noon to 9 p.m. Sunday. The highlight will be a free airing of the Superbowl on its 10-foot screen, accompanied by free refreshments.

The Venue is located immediately behind Sears at 1629 N.E. Baker. The phone number is 503-472-9776. 

The two businesses will also be the focus of the McMinnville Area Chamber of Commerce’s “Business After Hours” event from 5:15 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 7.

Cost to attend is $5 for members or $10 for non-members. RSVPs are requested at 503-472-6196. 



Oregon State University has developed a new high-yielding, blight-resistant hazelnut designed for the baking and chocolate industries. It is known as Wepster.

OSU hazelnut breeder Shawn Mehlenbacher said the nut was bred to be shelled, blanched and sold in kernel form as an alternative to other OSU-bred varieties, including Lewis, Clark, Sacajawea and Yamhill. Its smaller kernel is ideal for the baking industry, he said.

The announcement was made in Portland this week at the annual meeting of the Nut Growers Society of Oregon, Washington and British Columbia.

OSU plans to license Wepster to nurseries for a royalty of 50 cents a tree. Mehlenbacher is expecting to have a limited quantity available in the spring, more in the fall.

Wepster produces round kernels 11 to 13 millimeters in diameter. It is the result of a cross made in 1997.

The tree was named after Sheridan’s Wepster family in honor of its contributions to both the industry and OSU’s program. The family helped to create the Oregon Hazelnut Industry Endowed Professorship, which Mehlenbacher holds.



Several downtown merchants are planning a special event starting at 11 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 3, with sales and some special activities.

Third Street Books will have tea and cookies and live music by Ken Rynearson from 1 to 3 p.m.; La Bella Casa is holding a spin the wheel of fortune and offering refreshments. Accessory Appeal will have a trunk show. Other participants include Yamhill Valley Dry Goods, Hopscotch, Cupcake Couture and Mes Amies. 



The two towers supporting Verizon Wireless cell phone service in McMinnville were upgraded to 4G LTE at the end of December, according to Scott Charlston, the company’s public relations manager. Charlston said 4G is 10 times as fast as 3G, and Verizon customers are increasingly migrating to it.


Molly Walker, the News-Register’s business editor, can be reached at or 503-687-1272.

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