As of Tuesday, September 18, 2018
Mt. Hood Country Store on Highway 35 will reopen in December of this year, announced owner Louis Dominguez at a town hall last month.
Dominguez has owned the building since 1979, and during the last four decades, the business has had several owners, most recently the Taylor family, who ran it as a combo general store and tap room, along with the adjoining café space.
The store and the delicatessen have been closed for about five years; the white board on the front porch still lists menu items and store features — i.e. cinnamon rolls on Friday mornings, kegs filled and local artists featured — and a U.S. Forest Service information board still holds a few weathered brochures, one indication of the store’s long-standing role as a gathering place center for the Highway 35 community. Inside, the pot-bellied wood stove and Mount Hood mural by Mark Nilsson are still in place, along with counters, shelving and other fixtures.
The purpose of the Mt. Hood Town Hall meeting was to learn about a proposal by Dollar General, which is considering adding a new location on a site right next to the Country Store, and the effects it would have on the community. Local residents present voiced universal opposition to Dollar General putting a store in the community.
Dominguez, who also owns Juanita’s Tortilla Factory in Pine Grove, said that the Mt. Hood Country Store will open in December regardless of Dollar General’s decision. He could not be reached for additional comment by press time.
The main part of the store was built by George Hanel in 1932, and it served as general store and post office for many years. Up until the 1970s, gasoline pumps on the west side of the store, off Cooper Spur Road, provided fueling service. Parts of the store served as gift shop, antique shop, video store and art gallery over the years.