Small-business Happenings for December 12, 2012

By Observer Upload December 12, 2012 02:08 pm

New barbershop opens on Adams Avenue

Local barber Galen Miller has branched out on his own, opening Blue Mountain Barbers in a former residential building at 1505 Adams Ave.

Miller worked in Union County’s recreational vehicle industry before being laid off in the recent economic downturn. He learned the barber’s trade at Future One School of Cosmetology, graduating in April 2010. He worked at the OK Barber Shop downtown until this fall when he decided to open his own shop.

“My wife had her eye on this place a long time, and thought it was a great spot for a barbershop. The timing was right,” Miller said.

Miller opened the shop with some assistance from the City of La Grande Urban Renewal Agency, which is helping with the cost of exterior repairs for the building, and landscaping. He said he will receive $7,500 in URA funds, provided he spends $15,000 on improvements.

Miller said his two-chair establishment is an old-fashioned barbershop with a modern atmosphere. He offers haircuts and shaves, with no appointment necessary.

Blue Mountain Barbers is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, and 8 a.m. to noon Saturday. The phone number is 541-786-2773. 

Miller said he hopes to stage a grand opening sometime this winter.


Arrowhead Chocolates contends for national honor

A taste of Wallowa County summertime got the attention of  judges at the Good Food Awards — Joseph’s Arrowhead Chocolates’ huckleberry truffle is a finalist in the annual competition.

“They liked that the huckleberries are wild-crafted from our region,” said Wendy Reininger, who owns the Joseph shop with her husband, Bruce, and daughter, Erica.

Reininger said the judges look for ingredients in the entries that are raised sustainably and/or locally.

“They vetted us like crazy and looked at every single ingredient to make sure they were authentic and there was nothing artificial,” said Reininger.

The Good Food Award judges blind taste test almost 1,400 entries from all over the country. Finalists were announced Nov. 30, and the winners will be announced Jan. 18 at a black tie event in San Francisco.

The Good Food Awards recognize outstanding American food producers and farmers. In its third year, Good Food Awards will be given to winners in nine categories: beer, charcuterie, cheese, chocolate, coffee, confections, pickles, preserves and spirits. 

Awards will be given to producers and their food communities from each of five regions of the U.S. For more information visit

Arrowhead, the chocolate shop that began in the Reiningers’ home, continues to expand, especially through its online market. Reininger said they attract business during the tourist season, which increases their Internet sales.

To broaden the appeal of their truffles even more, the Reiningers will be attending food shows in the spring in both Seattle and San Francisco.

“The goal is to bring in more business from outside the area, get more recognition for the community and employ more people,” said Reininger.