By Jes Utz 

A walk around town, 20 years ago

Jess Shut Up


As I drove around the area recently, I started reminiscing of growing up in the area, and looking at some of the

empty buildings kicked up some old memories. Why have there been businesses come and go and so many empty buildings decorate our streets? Economy? High costs? There are many reasons, but I asked a few of the long established businesses what they thought the key to staying in business all these years was. They all said local business. Local business keeps them afloat. Out-of-townies and tourism is profit. So plain and simple, “Shop Locally.” So walk with me …

Beth West in Electric City: western clothes and cowboy type stuff. I think that this was the first place I ever saw the gag gift of rattlesnake eggs. Marie’s Restaurant (where storage units now sit next to the VFW Hall) had the best teriyaki chicken salad.

Changes is still there, but I remember my first and only perm was done there by Tera McGuire, and my name shaved in the side of my head by Dave Fisher.

Gateway Tavern (where Needles and Hooks is now). Both my parents had worked there, and I remember Judy Guffie, who lived across the street. Boy was she a cranky lady, but had a heart of gold and loved kids.

H&H Grocery is still there and was where I got my first job. Howard Foos was my boss, and I stocked the coolers, swept and mopped the floors. There was a Honda shop next to the current ice plant. Yes, we had a Honda shop here in the Coulee.

Fusion was then Taco Time, I think, or was it Reds? Anyway, I remember having sugar and cinnamon on warm tortilla chips there.

On to Grand Coulee …

At Four Corners was Smitty’s Pancake House (NCNB now). Man, I loved going there. I remember my Uncle Wyatt worked there and cut his finger while making a salad once. We took him to the ER and all I could think of was someone eating their salad and finding a little extra in it. (That didn’t happen, just a young kid’s imagination).

Coulee Medical Center ER and Walk-In Care

Hometown Pizza was B&B then, and had the best ice cream. I think every baseball and softball team from that era went there after the games. Arly’s Trailer sales was across from Jess Ford, which was Carlson Motors. Sunflower Graphics was a bowling ally. I loved the bowling ally, I think mostly because the people who ran it lived there. I thought then that had to be the coolest thing ever.

Vordals was where the Variety Store is now and they had pretty much anything you would need, including pets, if I remember right.

Grandpas Video was where Brandy’s is now and was the first video store in the area.

Half of Safeway was Russell Drug and later became Unique Boutique. The Wildlife Restaurant was where Pepper Jack’s now is and had a clock that rotated ads for local businesses. My brother and I would stare at it the whole time as we drank our hot chocolate.

photos of Grand Coulee Dam Area people and places

Sears was next to the Wildlife. Yep, I said Sears. And You and Me Pizza was next to that. One of my favorite memories growing up: on the weekends my dad would pick up movies from Grandpas video and a take-and-bake pizza from You and Me, and we would bake it and sit at home watching movies.

Main street was different then. Sunflower Graphics was in Button’s building. Button Jewelers was next to them. VJ’s Video was where Funzees is. Vicky and her husband were some of the best people you will ever meet. There was a bookstore and sandwich shop next to Siam. Hi Dam Tavern was where the Wolf’s Den is now. Around the corner was Curly’s TV. Curly would always draw us kids funny pictures on napkins down at the Wildlife.

Good memories … I will share more with you all later. All this reminiscing is making me want to call my mom.


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