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Idlewild Market meets niche needs

If you’ve got an urgent need for some of life’s basic necessities, Nina Buckley of the newly opened Idlewild Market, on Fourth Street and Cascade Avenue, has got just what you’re looking for.

Buckley is striving to provide a good mix of snacks (both healthy and otherwise), beverages (with and without alcohol), toiletries, quick dinner options, sandwiches and coffee. Patrons might find a few trinkets available for sale as well.

Since acquiring her lease in May, Buckley has been sprucing up the former “That’s Swank” vintage clothing store into a fast and convenient one-stop shop for downtown pedestrians and drive-by visitors.

“I’ve heard from a lot of locals that they want quick, affordable lunch items. I’m also planning on bringing in Four & Twenty Blackbirds’ catering to provide fresh take-away items,” said Buckley, on just one aspect of her growing business.

While quick energy snacks may be downtown day-trippers’ first choice, Buckley is hoping to build up her local clientele by responding to year-round needs. This includes providing a downtown site for video rentals, morning coffee options from 10-Speed Coffee and a planned grab-and-go pastry section.

“I really have to thank all of the downtown merchants for being phenomenally supportive,” said Buckley. “I’m also so touched by the teenagers and skateboarder who have been Tweeting and Facebooking about the market.”

With a plethora of wall space in the newly remodeled store, Buckley is planning on displaying local artists’ work on the walls on a rotating basis.

“I really also want to feature a lot of locally made products,” said Buckley. That includes creating a whole foods section that she hopes to stock with Hood River labeled goods.

Idlewild Market is open Sunday to Thursday 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday-Saturday from 8 a.m. until midnight. The late-night hours are currently some of the busier times in the store.

“We get a lot of traffic from people late at night,” said Jerad Warren, manager of the store. “We are trying to accommodate people who are leaving Double Mountain and other downtown pubs.”

Buckley stepped away from a longtime career as a physician recruiter.

“I used to travel quite a lot — two to three weeks a month,” said Buckley. “I had a real love-hate relationship with my job.”

With the help of Columbia Gorge Community College’s Small Business Development Center, Buckley developed a business plan, applied her existing skills and retirement funds and sought out additional financing.

With the help of a silent partner, Buckley is now bent on making a new lifelong career, meeting the quick-shopping needs of Hood River’s bustling downtown.

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