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It's all in the family

A look at some family-owned businesses in the Gorge

Clockwise from top left: Susan Froelich and her son Charlie Cannon outside their clinic in Mosier. Craig Sheppard, left, and his son Ben steer their business together. Pub fare fun: Brian Capovilla and his mother Martha cut up for the camera in front of their jointly owned “public house” off of 13th Street on the Heights. Pubs are typically chosen for their proximity to work, the availability of a particular beer or as a casual place to gather with friends – this one meets all criteria. Kristen and Janet Davis manage to pose for a quick photo at Our Children’s Place just before a stream of toddlers invades the frame.

Clockwise from top left: Susan Froelich and her son Charlie Cannon outside their clinic in Mosier. Craig Sheppard, left, and his son Ben steer their business together. Pub fare fun: Brian Capovilla and his mother Martha cut up for the camera in front of their jointly owned “public house” off of 13th Street on the Heights. Pubs are typically chosen for their proximity to work, the availability of a particular beer or as a casual place to gather with friends – this one meets all criteria. Kristen and Janet Davis manage to pose for a quick photo at Our Children’s Place just before a stream of toddlers invades the frame.

Mother and son personify yin and yang

By ESTHER K. SMITH

News staff writer

Susan Froehlich and her son Charlie Cannon have only been practicing Oriental medicine together a few months, but it’s already working out very well, Susan said.

“Charlie is quite an athlete, and because of that also has an interest in helping other athletes become the best they can,” she said. “I would say that my practice is geared more generally; women’s health and for sure any kind of pain situation.”

Traditional Chinese medicine, or TCM, encompasses acupuncture, Chinese herbs and some sort of bodywork such as shiatsu or tuina, Charlie said. Though they both practice all three, Susan said they each have strengths that will truly complement one another.

“I have more of a passion for dealing with musculoskeletal elements and combining body work with a specific type of massage called tuina, which involves a lot of stretching with the patient, combined with acupuncture protocols,” Charlie said.

Susan said that one bonus to having him there is that they can treat each other.

“I was sick a couple of weeks ago — and I’m usually not sick; or if I’m sick, I’m sick for a day,” she said. “But Charlie was able to treat me — which is going to be great, especially as I get older — and so my illness lasted three days; it did not last the weeks that people are sick now.”

Another bonus to having a partner is being able to fill in for one another, she said.

“I think the best part will be as I have days off, Charlie will be able to see patients that I couldn’t see, which is nice,” she said. “Most acupuncturists in this area work singly; they don’t work in clinics.”

Froehlich has worked solo for 14 years, and Charlie just joined her practice in January after graduating from Oregon College of Oriental Medicine, or OCOM, last fall. OCOM is the same school his mother attended.

“Actually, Charlie was the first kid of an alumnus to graduate, so that was pretty special,” Susan said.

“There were other students who had parents who practiced Chinese medicine, but not from OCOM,” Charlie said.

Having shared the same school experience has given them a common frame of reference to draw from — including a four-week internship in a hospital in China that caps the OCOM training, followed by a week of free time. For Charlie, that week was spent learning about Chinese herbs.

“Bozhou is basically the hub of all herbal trade that’s done in China,” he said. “We did a tour of a lot of the facilities where they trade herbs and then saw where they process herbs. We visited the farms where they’re actually growing the herbs, and then the treatment sites, where they’re washing and cleaning — on a huge scale — truckloads of herbs.”

One thing Susan remembers about her time in China is how differently hospitals operate.

“All of the hospitals have to have both Western and Traditional Chinese Medicine,” she said. “So even if it’s a Western hospital, they still have to have TCM; they cannot function without it.

“If someone has an injury, they’ll go to a tuina clinic or an acupuncture clinic, but they don’t tend to go to the hospital,” she said. “If it’s internal medicine, or they need herbs, they’ll go to the hospital.”

“The hospitals combine Western pharmaceutical drugs with acupuncture and Chinese herbs,” Charlie said. “If someone has a very specific type of bacterial infection, they may use some antibiotics, but they’ve found that antibiotics alone won’t give the patient the best results; it’s combining the antibiotics with Chinese herbs.

“So they’re much more of the mindset of looking at what works instead of ‘We’re just going to use Chinese medicine,’” he said. “They say, ‘Oh, what is working? — from different areas — let’s try to understand them as best we can to give the patient the best care they can use.’”

Traditional Chinese medicine can be used whether a person is in the acute stage of an injury, has chronic illness or wants to prevent illness or injury.

“I guess that’s somewhere acupuncture and Chinese medicine really shine, it’s that it’s a complete medicine,” Susan said. “It’s the medicine that was used for thousands of years for everything, but you can do it without the side effects of different drugs.”

“Or the side effects are really good,” Charlie said. “Like you’re coming in for arthritis, then as it turns out you end up getting a good night’s sleep, and your mood overall is a little more even-keeled. While you may be treating arthritis, there are other elements there that are going to be addressed.”

“Chinese medicine tends to treat the whole person, too,” Susan said. “People don’t want to just be treated as a ‘sore throat’ — they want to be treated as a person who has a sore throat.

“I think that’s where Charlie and I work well together: We both have the same philosophy on respect for people and treating people with as much compassion as we can,” she said. “Which means going the extra mile: If someone needs to be seen on a day that we aren’t working, we see them.”

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Mother and son have two clinics; one in Mosier (302 E. Second Ave.) and one in Hood River (700 E. Port Marina Drive).

They can be reached at 541-386-8767. More information may be found on their website, www.columbia

riveracupuncture.com.

Davises grow, work, together

By BEN MCCARTY

News staff writer

Janet Davis beams with pride as she watches small children swarm around Kristen, her daughter and co-worker at Our Children’s Place in Hood River.

“Kristen is very good (with kids),” Janet said. “I would hire her even if she was not my daughter. If she wasn’t good I wouldn’t hire her even if she was my daughter.”

After years of running Our Children’s place by herself, Janet hired Kristen to be the child care business’s toddler director in January.

Since the hire the business has expanded to become full-time childcare and preschool, able to take children as young as 12 months.

The mother-daughter team was not years (or even) decades in the planning like some other family businesses. It just worked out.

After graduating from Horizon Christian School, Kristen went off to school; first in Bend and then to Boise.

However, she missed her close-knit family and wasn’t sure what direction she wanted to take, so she came back home.

“It was a combination between our family being so close and me being so far away … I wanted to stay at home and I wasn’t sure where I was going to go to school next semester,” she said. “It all fit together. It was a combination of me wanting be back but not really knowing what I wanted to do when I got back. It worked out really well.”

Meanwhile, Janet wanted to expand her business and found the perfect person to help in that regard in her own house.

“She’s been a mother’s helper since she was 8,” Janet said. “People would hire her and see how she would interact with the kids and then more people would hire her.”

“A lot of the moms ask me how I’m getting used to it,” Kristen says of spending her days looking after groups of toddlers. “It’s kind of like second nature; working with babies and children has never been a scary thing for me. I’ve been around them so long I just know what to do.”

In addition to giving Janet an able set of hands at Our Children’s Place, the job has also given Kristen clarity on where she wants to go next in her education.

She would like to become a pediatric nurse, and is currently looking into OHSU’s nursing program to continue her education.

“I want to do pediatrics, and eventually I’ll be a nurse; but until then this will pay for nursing school and they really go hand in hand,” Kristen said.

The success of the January expansion already has Our Children’s Place thinking about another expansion and Janet said she intends to expand her staff even more.

“We have been blessed with an overwhelmingly positive response,” Janet said. “We’re considering hiring two more employees to work with us because since the change in January we have about been at capacity.”

Working side by side has given mother and daughter plenty of insights into their own relationship and the way they can use their different skill sets to form an effective team.

Taking care of one child for a whole day can be exhausting, much less a few dozen, but even though they may be wiped out by the end of the day, they would not do anything differently.

“When 5:30 rolls around, we’re exhausted,” Janet said. “But we laugh so hard throughout the day. It’s just fun.”

They’ve learned to treasure the relationships with the kids and the parents and take joy in the time they get to spend together.

The kids in their care have also learned to appreciate both of them.

“I give out stickers every day constantly; they know I’m the one to give out stickers every day, so they will line up and tell me they have cleaned up three things — they are itching for a sticker.”

“They know how to work us,” laughs Janet.

One would think that it would be a difficult transition going from the college life to working alongside your mom, and getting up at 8 a.m. every day to take care of a bunch of active toddlers.

Kristen, though, is more than glad to do it and her mom is glad to have her helping out.

“I went from a college setting and hanging out with people my age to hanging out with babies,” she said. “It’s actually way more fun — it’s really fun, actually.”

Sheppards: Business success rests on enjoying each other’s company

By KIRBY NEUMANN-REA

News editor

Their desks are idea-tossing close.

Craig Sheppard and his son, Ben, have enjoyed a happy working life together for the past seven years, when Ben joined the 93-year-old Sheppard’s.

From its downtown State Street base, the company sells equipment and products to farms and businesses throughout the region.

Father and son work well together because they like each other and communicate well, even when they disagree.

Craig said: “You have to enjoy being together, and you have to be able to communicate. As long as you can do that, and you talk together, it’ll be fine.”

“It’s nice to have someone who’s done this before,” said Ben, who works extensively in the field while Craig’s duties are increasingly based in the office.

“There’s not a whole lot I’m doing that he hasn’t done before,” Ben said. “So there’s a lot of advice and a lot of good ideas, just from past history. I can do things my own way all I want, but there’s a lot of good experience and advice there.”

In turn, Craig said he has needed to “be willing to let loose of some things,” such as decisions on “what’s ordered, what you want to do and don’t want to do.”

“On day-to-day activities, we don’t feel like we have to get an okay to X, Y and Z,” he said.

Ben said, “You can’t both do everything. You’d drive each other crazy. You take different parts of the business and focus on it and you talk about it.”

Ben and Craig are perfecting the third intergenerational link in the Sheppard family business.

Craig’s grandfather, William O., and uncle Charles M., started the business in 1919. Bill, Craig’s father, owned the business until 1994, when he passed ownership to Craig, who started working at the downtown store in 1974.

In 2006, Ben moved back to Hood River to help manage the business.

Craig was frank about his expectations when Ben came to work for the family business.

“I didn’t know when we first started the process if it would work out,” he said. “Number one, someone’s got to try it and if they like it, or it might not work out. But it has worked out well.”

“I agree,” Ben said. “I didn’t know how it would work out. I didn’t know how I’d fit in when I first started, but I was always treated the same as everyone else, as far as everyone here is expected to learn everything, which helped a lot in terms of my growth in the business”

Ben acknowledged his father’s “ability to allow me to do different things and take the business in different directions if I thought it would be beneficial.”

Asked about the biggest change in the business in the past 30 years, Craig said, “Time marches on, you do a lot more by computer than you used to, and less by hand.

Most of the younger farmers now like to take care of business on the phone, one way or another, “and that was not the case as recently as six years or so ago,” Craig said.

Ben works in the field “as much as I can,” and Craig is “doing less field work than days gone by, which is somewhat the same as my dad used to do.”

“We still deal with a lot of the same people, and we deal with a lot of family businesses ourselves, especially around here, and in The Dalles.”

Ben said telephone and on-line is the means of ordering, but “the personal touch and face to face is what we do,” Craig said.

“It’s the reason I’m in my truck so much,” Ben said. “You couldn’t possibly understand what peoples’ needs are on their farm or business, if I’m not at their place of business.”

What is the key, then, to parent and child working together successfully?

“You have to actually enjoy being around your Dad,” Ben said. “I don’t care what the business is, you have to enjoy being around him. And the fact that he’s allowed me to take certain parts of the business and just go and… he’s going to be supportive of that, it’s been nice.”

Craig agreed: “We have really good communication. We don’t have to agree on everything, but we make the best decision we can and go forward.”

Capovillas: ‘Simple, straight-up’ pub family

By JULIE RAEFIELD-GOBBO

News staff writer

Bring your thirst and hoist a hearty “Sláinte” when you slip into Marley’s Corner, a cozy family-owned pub on the Heights. Or, drive through and grab a delicious homemade pasty (pass-tee) to carry the savory taste of the U.K. with you out to the open road.

Sited amongst the carefully laid paving stones on the spot of the family’s former home, sits a welcoming, authentic and tiny Celtic pub, jointly owned and operated by Brian Capovilla and his parents, Martha and Charlie. As the weather warms, a snug outdoor patio will also invite people-watchers to stop in, sip and sup.

“I have a strong focus on Scottish, Irish and English imports,” said Brian on his impressive beer array that includes 18 imports and several domestics. Along with the brews, the Capovillas offer wine and hard cider as well as non-alcoholic beverages to accent their delicious homemade pub food.

The family business opened about a year ago after a discussion on how best to use the family-owned building at the corner of C and 13th streets.

“We were thinking about some kind of small restaurant,” said Martha, who, along with Charlie had run other restaurants in the past. “But, it was Brian’s idea to serve pasties,” said Martha, who retired in 2007 from her position as co-principal of Hood River Valley High School.

“Yeah, I had just gotten back from living in Scotland where I basically subsisted on pub food,” said Brian. Capovilla’s time in Scotland was spent completing a Master of Letters in Philosophy post-graduate degree at the University of Aberdeen.

According to Martha, Charlie, the more “back-of-the-house partner,” had been itching to open a pub “for decades” and already had the name picked out — a creative interpretation of Martha and Charlie. When the former building tenant left, all three Capovillas joined in the remodel and restaurant design. The trio personally laid the sculpted pavers and stone walls that create the outdoor patio.

While Brian’s philosophical nature is now serving him well as the lead “publican,” it was a little tougher to secure a teaching position with his newly minted degree a few years back.

“I worked at Mt. Hood Community College but then came the budget cuts. I learned that most philosophy professors never retire; you have to wait until they die off,” laughed Brian — ultimately a plus for anyone who likes good cooking and good talk.

Needless to say, the gift of gab and the well-honed ability to discuss the nuances of fine beer come in handy in a pub setting and make for some good conversation between Brian, his parent-partners and their customers.

While good humor and good talk add to the ease of running this family business, their success is tied to the family’s recognition of each other’s unique gifts.

“It’s been a really great experience to work with Brian as an adult. I don’t think we could have done this with anyone else,” said Martha.

“We have complementary viewpoints,” said Brian. “We usually can find a good middle ground in our decisions.”

Martha tends toward the marketing aspects of the business while Brian manages the costs, ordering and recipe details. Charlie handles building maintenance.

“It’s good because we seem to get along and if there is an issue, we don’t have to worry about stepping on each other’s toes,” said Martha.

“We can be straight up and honest,” added Brian.

Those words seem to be a motto for the family who jointly agreed to create a pub that would serve “simple, straight-up pub food.”

“We want people to know that this is a pub — not a restaurant,” said Brian. “It’s a neighborhood place.”

“And we are trying to keep things affordable. We even stock PBR (Pabst Blue Ribbon) if you don’t want to pay for an import,” added Martha. That shared, clear vision also led the trio to decide to say “No coffee!”

“There is plenty of that around town,” said Martha.

Perhaps the best review the family has received came from a visiting Brit who dropped in for lunch one day.

“He said, ‘It’s like I’m home!’” noted Brian, with just a hint of pride.

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Marley’s Corner is located at 1216 C Street and 13th Street. They are open Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. and Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Homemade soups, pasties, pub rolls and fish-and-chips are available daily inside, on the patio or via drive-through service. Call ahead for faster pick-up service at 541-386-0153. Look for occasional live music on the weekends.

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