Sweet Home (Oregon) has dividers down the center of the main drag, so sometimes getting into and out of a gas station can be a problem unless you hit one on the far edges of town -- which isn't a good idea if you're heading east because the next gas is on the other side of the Cascade Mountains! The Chevron at 18th Street and Highway 20 has 3 driveway access points which means you can go into the station and out again and head any direction you want. But, more than making it easy to access, stop at this station for the personal service you get. I always get my windshield washed and a big smile in addition to being waited on promptly. Good old fashioned service -- and you don't have to get out of your car and walk inside to pay!
PROS: Freindly service, easy access.
The Heritage Mall (Albany, Oregon) Waldenbooks is the usual fare for a Waldenbook store. Good buys, great sales, special orders -- plenty of magazines you just can't find other places. So what? That isn't a big deal in my book (sorry about the pun!) but what makes this particular bookstore stand out is the incredible people there! They will joke with you, dig for you, smile for you even if it's a busy and lousy day! Seriously, if you have to go to a book place and just aren't in the mood for drudgery, go into Heritage Mall's Waldenbooks and smile at the clerks and make a funny. Pretty soon they'll be making you feel better, too! I love that!
PROS: Very nice employees!
The last time I used Key Bank in Sweet Home, I swore off of it forever. I was helping a friend to make deposits and withdrawals and quickly discovered this is a bank very different from what I usually deal with. (As a business owner, I have dealt with more than a few.) The Sweet Home, Oregon branch of Key Bank has a drive up ATM machine but NO real person drive up window. You simply cannot get the services of a live teller without going inside. This surprised me, but not nearly as much as when I went inside and discovered that this bank charges for using the indoor tellers. Perhaps these restrictions are the coming trend but, for now, they seem a bit onerous. Located on Main Street (Hwy. 20) on the west end of town, across from A&W Restaurant. There is a large parking lot off of Long Street behind the bank that has easy access.
PROS: Easy to find.
CONS: No teller window, charges fees other area banks don't charge.
My husband gave me a beautiful flute as a gift and it was purchased at Gracewinds Music in Corvallis. The purchase was such a pleasure! The gentleman who waited on us was able to explain the differences in each instrument we were considering with knowledge not only of the instruments but of music as well. He didn't use a high pressure technique to sell which was very nice. The price on the flute was very good, better than most of the other places we'd gone to do pricing. The service after the sale was exceptional and it was a pleasant surprise to get a Thank You note in the mail for our patronage. Unless you're familiar with Corvallis, Oregon, print a map to find Gracewinds. The streets in Corvallis can be challenging to the uninitiated (that would be me!). Once there, the parking is good and Gracewinds has its own lot.
PROS: Excellent service, good prices, nice salepeople.
Mr. Snyder helped my family with a difficult issue that could have been a disaster and he did with amazing clarity, understanding and attention to detail. He seems to intuitively understand that people, not just issues of law, are involved and acts accordingly. He's a gem in a small town who doesn't just give lip service to caring for the community, but actually does care about his clients. I have lived here many years and have never once heard someone say he talked out of school, either. His small office is downtown Sweet Home, a nice and rather quaint building with a most pleasant secretary waiting in the front office. There is parking free of meters on the street. Near the 12th Street stoplight on Main Street (Hwy. 20). Look for the brown front on the north side of the road. His sign is next to the door.
PROS: Very good man.
Truly a notch above other mailbox services, The UPS Store in Lebanon is owner operated by the best people you'll ever find. They are professional but friendly, accurate to a "T" and have a lovely business that is a real pleasure to visit. Bright and well appointed, the store itself is open and easy to use. They offer paper, copying, various needs as a copy center would sell and some of the cutest greeting cards I've ever seen. Prices for everything is very reasonable, sometimes cheaper than other stores. You can ship from here, too, and they will package your item for safe delivery as well. Very easy to find, it's in the mall next to Safeway. A stoplight makes entry and exit from the parking lot very easy. The parking is abundant and the lot is kept as immaculate as the businesses.
PROS: Great owners/operators.
So far I've found gifts for friends that include a several thousand year old shark tooth, a frog carved from jasper, a hand carved marble, a necklace of orange coral and a rather large amthyst crystal cluster at Three Sisters Gem and Mineral. Some of the most unique items you could imagine are here. All, or almost all, are made from natural gemstones or are beautifully prepared prehistoric creatures preserved in rock. I don't know if the prices are good, but they are much less than I would have expected to pay for such items. The store doesn't keep regular hours so check the door to call for information on when you can stop by. There is parking right in front on the street. Located on the Main Street (Hwy. 20) in downtown Sweet Home, look for it near the stop light at the 12th Street crossing.
PROS: Unique and very rare items.
CONS: Doesn't keep regular hours.
The lady who owns Foster Lake Mall on the far east end of Foster and Sweet Home in Oregon has something special. She is well known in these communities for being an honest and classy lady. When you shop at her antiques and second hand store -- which has plenty of new items, too -- you can be sure she isn't a fly-by-night operation. Her inventory is very good and runs the gamut from antiques to videos, books and pop culture items. She might have a t-shirt from a popular television program, a delightful rocking chair, a brand new water toy to take to the lake. All will be nicely displayed, priced well and immaculately clean. The store also offers storage units behind the building, but go to see this well-stocked mall. Parking is available in front of the building which is just before the railroad trestle by Foster Lake.
PROS: Good selection, well displayed, priced very well.
If you really want an insurance agent who will get you a good policy at a competitive price with a major company without making you feel as if you've been oversold, visit the Sweet Home office of Craig Fentimen who is a Farmers' Insurance agent. He is a great agent but might be accused of not being huge on high pressure salesmanship. That's exactly what people want, too. He won't trick you in to being underinsured just to make a sale and, better and better, he's that anomoly in our fast-paced world, a good man with a strong business sense and no desire to make you buy more than you need. His secretary is wonderful and funny. He's nice. He's located in a spacious office on Hwy. 20 (Main Street) near the east end of Sweet Home. Plenty of parking is available. Look for his office in the building next to Hoy's True Value. You can enter through either Hoy's or Gleaner's driveway, too.
PROS: A good agent, a good man.
You can get an elephant or a frog at Ten Thousand Villages and help out an impoverished but gallantly striving village insudtry at the same time. Specializing in giftwares imported from areas in need of economic growth, the items available in this nice little store are moderately limited, but by no means inadequate. The quality is very very good and worthy of a gift for someone very, very important or special. I have a hard time resisting the temptation to keep these unique items for myself, though. Prices are great, much less than the usual gift store. It's easy to find Ten Thousand Villages. They are located on the right hand side on Main Street in Lebanon, Oregon as you drive down the east bound one way street. Look for them mid-block just past Wells Fargo Bank and across the street from the Karate center. Parking on the street and, bonus time, there are no meters to feed.
PROS: Lovely and very unique gifts at good prices.