At Fourth and Oak, new faces but the same spirit have picked up where Dell-Mart left off.
Chris Lynn of Hood River bought the centrally-located gas station and mini-mart last week, taking over the business from Dell Charity.
The Station, open daily at 7 a.m., offers the same gas and convenience items that former owner Dell Charity provided. Lynn plans to remodel the building and expand to Tex-Mex food and other take-out restaurant fare once he gets the business firmly up and running.
Lynn assumed the lease on the property two weeks ago. Made In The Gorge, the artist cooperative sharing the building, remains open.
“I’d been looking for spots to do a restaurant downtown,” said Lynn, who created The Mesquitery and The Shed in the Heights in 1989, and sold those businesses in 2001. “This location wasn’t exactly what I was looking for, but it has great potential and it was an opportunity to help Dell out.”
“Getting business back in here is the key,” he said. The business had been closed for about two weeks in mid-October. Lynn said it will still stay a mini mart and gas station. Winter business hours are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays, 8-5 on Saturday and 9-6 on Sunday.
He joked, “I’m pumping gas for the first time in 25 years. It’s a job I had when I was a kid.” At this point, the business is staffed by his family, in particular his father, Gene Lynn.
“I couldn’t do it without my Dad,” Chris said. His wife, Angela, is an artist. The couple has two boys: Grant, 5 and Brady, 1, and stepsons, Matt Sullivan, 23, and Collin Sullivan, 20.
“We’re excited about this. The family is excited,” he said. Lynn notes he has made the shift from a Heights merchant to a downtown merchant, but said he’s been welcomed.
“A lot of business people downtown have come over and said they’re excited for us,” he said.
He’s conscious of the role that the business has played in downtown life.
“We’ll try to do as many things as Dell did, the things that made people happy. I’ll use my business sense and make it work,” Lynn said.
On the wall behind the cash register remains a humorous reminder of Charity’s days cheerfully regaling customers.
It’s a yellowed clipping referring to a major computer company, given a local context. The clipping reads:
“Executives back Dell’s place in the Market.”