CRESWELL – Downtown Creswell is shifting and reshaping, and the proof is behind the “closed for renovations,” “coming soon” and “now open” signs taped on Oregon Avenue storefronts.
While Creswell bid adieu to a handful of businesses this year – Burlap & Lace, Joe’s Diner, Natural Path, Drumrongthai Café Spot, Farmstand Collective – entrepreneurs are working to ensure the future of downtown is bustling and bright.
Bill Spencer, owner of the Union 76 gas station adjacent to the diner, said he is “dreaming” of a bigger, better, new gas station, a convenient mart and maybe even a car wash. “The hope is to be able to use the current Joe’s location for that improved facility,” Spencer said. If the project goes forward, the goal would to finish by Dec. 31, 2020, he said.
Dale Pallin of Pleasant Hill brought parked his “smoke shack” just off of Interstate 5 this summer. Since then, business has been robust, he said. Locals have been receptive to its pulled pork, ribs and signature sauces this summer. A winter menu of crab, salmon, and oysters is underway.
Locals bid farewell to Drumrongthai Café Spot owners Sumer and Ae Drumrongthai, of Eugene at 2. W. Oregon Ave. on Oct. 1. The Drumrongthais opened the cafe in February 2016 and offered Thai cuisine for lunch during the work week. The couple wanted to take a break from the business, Sumer said, but won’t leave Creswell hungry.
Drumrongthai’s sister-in-law, P Noi, and niece, Onnalin, are opening a new Thai restaurant in the same location next month. The café will reopen under a new name, with a similar menu and longer hours, Sumer said, and although the details are still being finalized, all chopsticks point toward a November opening.
With lots of changes in the wind, former NuVo Salon owner Nancy Jones, a Springfield resident, said it was a good time for her to transition small-business ownership. NuVo Salon, formerly at 44 W. Oregon Ave., relocated on Oct. 1 to 240 W. Oregon Ave.
Now called Beauty Boutique, there’s plenty of familiarity with the former salon.
In the sale, the salon retained much of the NuVo clientele and staff, including a former employee who is the new owner. Jones is a private contractor at the boutique, working beside much of the NuVo staff as she’s done for the past seven years.
And the new salon owner, Shannon Whitehead, 25, of Creswell, was hired by Jones in March as a nail technician at NuVo. When the opportunity arose, Whitehead’s entrepreneurial spirit led her to jump on the chance to run her own salon.
Once the sale was final, Whitehead and her family gave the former Burlap & Lace space an extensive overhaul, she said, and managed to crank out renovations in under 30 days. Her vision was to grow the business by expanding services and creating an atmosphere of a cozy, relaxing and modern salon. The inside of the shop is painted in deep grays and blacks, keeping design simple and clean. The floorplan is open and gives space to each station.
“We were outgrowing our space at NuVo,” Whitehead said, noting that their new location has four hairstyling stations, two upgraded manicure-pedicure chairs and an esthetician onsite. Whitehead is planning for a tanning bed, too, and said she keeps her sights on growing the business.
The salon operates under similar hours as NuVo did, and even retained the same phone number. People can check out the salon at its grand opening on Saturday, Nov. 2, from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. It will be a “sip-n-see staff” event with hot cocoa, raffles and food.
Filling up the corner of Oregon Avenue in NuVo’s absence is Pazzo. It’s the Italian word for “crazy,” and there will be nothing else like it in town, said owner and chef Scott Pisani, of Creswell.
If Pisani’s name sounds familiar, it might be because his wife, Chelsea, owns and operates the Creswell Wellness Center a couple doors down in the same building.
Pazzo, promises an off-the-wall, quirky and fun new restaurant style at 44 W. Oregon Ave. Pisani hopes it will be a place to sit and chat, eat well and wet your whistle. There will be a bar stocked with beer and wine, and several seasonal menus are in the works as Pisani maps out ingredients from within a 100-mile radius.
The plan is to offer a variety of foods including Italian, Hawaiian, seafood, house-made fresh pasta and sauces, as well as pork chops. He plans to offer student specials, a happy hour menu and a to-go menu.
Hefty renovations are underway to bring his vision to life. The walls have been painted a bright, burnt orange – a color he’s pulled from one of the paisley tattoos on his arm, he said. Pisani plans to keep the black-and-white checkered tiled flooring.
The restaurant will seat 30 people, offer window seating on to a busy main drag, and have tables for two that can be joined together for bigger parties. Pisani said it will be a quaint and intimate setting – but that’s sort of the whole point. He wants to cultivate an engaging atmosphere for people to talk to one another, hear the local chatter and take a break from looking at their cell phones.
During the week, Pisani expects Pazzo to be open for lunch, with extended dinner hours on weekends and closed Sundays and Mondays. Pisani doesn’t have a definitive opening date, but said to “stay tuned” with a wink and a smile.