UCC Mainstream Online

Keeping it local:

New Roseburg businesses provide expanded community options


Sarah Robertson / Mainstream
Buddy Reynolds, Owner

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, dinner and a movie may seem like the perfect date night.  A restaurant that strives to serve locally sourced, fresh ingredients may be just the ticket. Blac-N-Bleu Bistro, open for just over a year in the plaza adjacent to Roseburg Cinemas, is built upon a menu featuring many Umpqua Valley and Oregon items.

Blac-N-Bleu Bistro’s owners Buddy Reynolds and his wife Lisa are happy to offer local fare. “[It’s] all fresh, as local as possible – Kruse [Farms] when in season and Nickabob’s, otherwise from Portland or Eugene,” Reynolds says. Local beers from Old 99 and Backside Brewery are on tap, with a rotation from Draper’s and Two Shy besides local wines.

Most of the menu is made in-house, and prices range from $5 for an appetizer to $27.50 for the 16 oz. rib eye steak. There are many choices from wild Columbia River steelhead and wagyu beef burgers to sandwiches, soups and salads, with vegetarian and gluten free options as well.

First-time restaurant owner Reynolds, an Oakland native and resident, has been pleased with the community support Blac-N-Bleu has received. “I’m real happy with the local response,” Reynolds says. “Friday and Saturday night are the busiest times, but [we’re] pretty steady for lunch and dinner almost every night.”

Lending to some of those crowds is the proximity of the movie theater. “People come in before and after movies, so we pick up business from the movie theater,” Reynolds says.

Local sporting events can influence business too. Home football games at the high school bring in patrons before and after the game. “The coaches always come in after if they win,” Reynolds says.

Reynolds has seen an increase in the local restaurant scene, naming others such as Salud and the Brix as examples of growing dining choices. “It seems to me people are tending to stay local … and I hope it continues. I think it is a great thing,” Reynolds says.

Overall, Reynolds is committed to continuing with what Blac-N-Bleu has going for now with some future changes. “I want to keep evolving the menu with the seasons to get what’s in season and get what is as fresh as possible,” Reynolds says. He is also looking to expand the happy hour menu to offer food options as well as drinks.

“What we try to offer is good quality food at a fair price in a comfortable atmosphere.”


Sarah Robertson / Mainstream
Stephanie Elston,Owner

A brown and white Texas longhorn greets customers from behind the rough-hewn wood counter at the Spunky Steer, one of Roseburg’s newest apparel and home furnishing stores. Owner Stephanie Elston selected the memorable name based on a family story and has filled the store with eclectic and spunky country touches.

“We are trying to fill a void and carry brands no one else carries,” Elston said. Located on Stewart Pkwy., the Spunky Steer is fulfilling Elston’s goal of offering one-of-a-kind items to Roseburg customers.Bold paintings of cattle hang from the walls, complementing the mix of urban rustic furniture and modern country men and women’s clothing, shoes, and jewelry. Farm tables display colorful dishware and kitchen items. A corner wall is recovered in reclaimed barn planks that Elston salvaged herself from an old barn on her ranch.    

Elston wants to provide shoppers a local place to buy unique items, gifts, clothing and unusual pieces of furniture. “People are tired of having to leave [town]; now they don’t have to travel for that gift; they don’t have to leave town,” Elston said.

So far there has been a good local response, Elston states. Word of mouth and Facebook help drive her business’ success. Many people have become repeat customers, and Elston is building a strong customer base. “We’re here to stay,” Elston said.

Elston hopes to provide merchandise for everyone, from the bargain shopper to the high-end shopper.

Elston is committed to growing the local shopping scene in Roseburg and ending the idea that there is nothing in Roseburg. “You can’t say that anymore; with new stores and new businesses, [there is] lots evolving and changing,” Elston said.


Sarah Robertson / Mainstream
Natalie Brown,Owner

“Whatever you do, don’t start a business here because no one will support it,” a well-meaning acquaintance said to Natalie Brown, the owner of the new women’s clothing store Poppy Layne in Roseburg. But Brown thought, “Just watch me do it!”

The pale purple boutique located on N. E. Stephens Boulevard is a funky oasis of stylish and affordable women’s clothing. Eclectic décor like hand-painted wood signs adorn the pastel walls, and chandeliers light the racks of the latest trends in fashion. Jewelry is artfully displayed, some hanging from antlers, and scarves lend a rainbow of colors and patterns. 

Customer service is essential for Brown, who views herself almost as a personal shopper. She enjoys interacting with customers and helping them find “a few key pieces to reuse in different ways or how to pair a scarf with an outfit.”

Brown launched Poppy Layne on Facebook in June of 2013, and the company grew quickly. “We built this store one ‘like’ at a time,” Brown says.

With a large clientele base already in place, Brown added the storefront to the Poppy Layne enterprise. She officially opened Oct.16, 2014, the same day Poppy Layne hit 10,000 friends on Facebook.

Because of the free advertising on Facebook, Brown is
able to put her money into the clothes. “The floor is constantly changing as merchandise moves fast,” Brown says. “If I wouldn’t personally buy it, I won’t carry it.”

Brown wants to provide “what is wearable and in-style but not intimidating for our area. There are not a lot of options in Roseburg because [it’s] a small town : . . . we are overlooked because people think we’re not ready, but we are,” Brown says.

Brown emphasizes her business is not the only new venture to pop up in Roseburg. “Look around in our community because there is a lot more happening here than what you see driving around. It takes time, and we have to be mindful where we’re shopping and putting our dollars, [but] if people don’t shop local, there really won’t be anything in Roseburg.”

As for Poppy Layne’s future, Brown is planning on expanding the N.E. Stephens store and increasing her impact on the community by giving back through donations and holding a fashion show this spring to benefit local women in need.


Sarah Robertson / Mainstream
KC McKillip,Owner and Savannah McClendon

Most beer brewers get started because they have a passion for brewing beer, but K.C. McKillip, owner of Backside Brewing, Co., approached things a little differently.

He does enjoy brewing, sees the unlimited options and wants to make good beer, but more than that, McKillip has a passion for successful business. “I want to offer local jobs and grow the local economy,” McKillip says.

McKillip could visualize the layout for the brewery upon entering the building, located on Odell Street, the first time. The large, cavernous space allows McKillip to keep brewing as the focus. It should “feel like a brewery and not a restaurant,” McKillip says.

A self-educated brewer who is still learning and experimenting, McKillip started Backside Brewing with a friend who has since moved on. They began brewing out in Tenmile “on the backside of the mountain on his parent’s property” and intended to be a country brewery. But the chance to move into town arose, and Backside opened in early 2014.

The brewery was an outside only establishment while construction continued inside. They were busy instantly at the opening, McKillip says, and local pizza cart, Old Soul Pizza, served food to customers. When they began serving inside, the pizza cart moved on to other ventures. “Losing pizza hit hard, and [we] lost people when the pizza left,” McKillip says.

However, McKillip is hopeful business will pick up with the addition of Backside’s own pizza. Construction will be completed soon on a new wood-fired oven. Another positive change is the upgraded brewing equipment that has allowed Backside to improve the beer.

McKillip emphasizes local support has been key. “Lots of local businesses are the most loyal customers and supportive of the company. [They say] we want to see you guys succeed,” McKillip says.

And succeed he intends to do with ideas for expanding business: pizza, live music, bike rides in conjunction with neighbor Canyon Creek Bicycles, and even a wine and brewery tour bus all in the works for Backside’s future. “I want to interact with the community in a fun, positive way,” McKillip says.


Sarah Robertson / Mainstream
Anna Jen, NeighborWorks Umpqua program manager

Unbeknownst to many Roseburg residents, there is a store in town where 90 percent of the merchandise is from the Umpqua Valley. Honey, hummus, grass-fed meat, pottery, jewelry, granola, and candy — all Umpqua Valley grown, raised, and made — are for sale at Umpqua Local Goods in downtown Roseburg.

“There’s a lot of people who are really talented in this area and we provide a place for local artists and vendors to sell their goods year round, six days a week,” Anna Jen, the program manager through NeighborWorks Umpqua, said.

Located on S.E. Cass Street, the store is a partnership with NeighborWorks Umpqua and Roseburg’s Phoenix Charter School. “Every time you buy something here, you have a direct impact,” Jen said. “You help a student; you help a vendor.”

Umpqua Local Goods is a consignment model. Jen explains this allows the estimated 200 vendors to sell their products in an established storefront but keep most of the money earned.

 “[This is] a for-profit endeavor where all the money we make goes back into the store. We aren’t out to make money; we are passionate about our four causes,” Jen said.

These four social causes are providing a retail outlet for local vendors, providing on-site job training for local students, providing a fully licensed commercial kitchen for local vendors to use, and filling the gap created by the lack of grocery stores in south Roseburg.

“We are building up the grocery section to offer affordable healthy options,” Jen said. Fresh produce is displayed in a large cooler at the back of the store, along with meats, ready-made sandwiches and pies. Hummus and chips, soup mixes and fresh bread from Lighthouse Bakery can be found near the front windows.

The local response has been positive, if a bit slow. “It’s taken a while for people to catch on, but the local food movement is growing,” Jen said. “[The store] has exploded in growth in the last two years.”

And the adjacent coffee shop, Umpqua Local Coffee, has helped fuel foot traffic into the store. It only opened a few months ago but already is building a customer base.


Sarah Robertson / Mainstream
Matt Hill and AJTuter,Owners

Three Roseburg friends graduated from high school; two bought houses on Main St.; one built a home brewing system, and they all brewed together. Three years later, Old 99 Brewing Co. was born.

“We were brewing beer that was better than what we could get around here,” said Matt Hill, one of the owners. “The timing was right in Roseburg. It [micro-brewing] was all around us, but Roseburg was a hole, a gap in the map.”

Matt Hill, A.J. Tuter and Bryan Ireland, along with their wives Amanda Hill, Ashley Tuter and Rachel Ireland, are the owners of one of Roseburg’s newer micro-breweries. All six are actively involved in the brewery’s operations, though the Irelands have since moved to Vancouver, Washington.

 “We focus on full-flavored, northwest beers. No gimmicks, no frills,” Hill said. With eight beers on tap, Old 99 is expanding their production capacity. They opened in August of 2013 with a one-barrel system and are now installing a seven-barrel system. “It’s our second upgrade in a year and a half,” Hill explains.

All the brewing equipment is made in Portland. “We are brewing in equipment made to brew beer,” Hill said.  And local connections continue. The grain comes from Oregon and Washington and most of the hops from Crosby Hop Farm in Woodburn Ore. “So, we try to go local, [and] the water around here is amazing,” Hill adds.

And Old 99 is giving back to Roseburg. “We’ve created a community. It was on the verge of being there, but we pushed it over the edge. We’ve seen people who don’t know each other become friends here. [Old 99] brings people together who may not have met,” Hill reflects.

All the owners see the growth potential. Hill says they want to make Roseburg a destination. Someday people will say “we’ve got to stop in Roseburg and hit Old 99,” Tuter says.

And the name Old 99? It all goes back to those home brewing days on Main Street. “Because A.J.’s house was on Main St., it was Old 99. It’s about where we came from,” Hill says.


Sarah Robertson / Mainstream
Debbie Caterson,Owner

When Debbie Caterson was approached to open a gluten free restaurant in Roseburg, she was skeptical. “At first I was scared,” Caterson recalls. But, when the Joyful Belly opened in October of 2014, she was pleasantly surprised. “When all these people came in, I was shocked. We have so many people who are gluten free,” Caterson says.

The Joyful Belly is a 100 percent gluten free restaurant located on N.E. Stephens Street. Gluten free means no products contain gluten, proteins found in wheat, other cereal grains, and conventional flours.

This means the restaurant is a good option for people with gluten sensitivities or gluten intolerance like those with Celiac’s disease. “We are the only gluten free [restaurant] in town; people with Celiac’s feel safe here. Some places may have gluten free choices, but they are not Celiac safe,” Caterson explains.

Pizzas are the corner stone of the menu at Joyful Belly. “The number one seller is pizza,” Caterson says. “Number two is the fish and chips or chicken strip baskets, and third is our dessert options.” She believes the reason is that gluten free people struggle to get these foods elsewhere.

The menu also includes bakery treats, soups, salads, quesadillas and sandwiches, some of which are available as paleo, vegetarian, or vegan. Prices range from $2.50 for a muffin to $26 for a large meat pizza. Gluten free beer, hard cider, kombucha and root beer are on tap, along with espresso and local wine.

The creation of Joyful Belly centered on pizza. When Logger’s Gourmet Pizza was in the location, Caterson provided the gluten free pizza dough. Logger’s outgrew the space and moved to become Loggers Tap House, but owner Sam Gross suggested Caterson turn the location into a gluten free restaurant.

Now Caterson is looking towards the events they are planning each month: Valentine’s Day specials, a beer tasting in March and their grand opening this summer. “We would like to have an event each month because there is lots to celebrate,” Caterson says.