By Jess Utz 

Jess, Shut Up - Continuing my tour


After the last column I had many people come up to me, saying, “Hey you forgot about …” this business and that business, and they were kinda right. So I will continue my tour of local businesses, 20 years ago …( and my mom says hi from Wildrose, N.D.).

Where LePresa now is was Rapid Roberts.Video games, pool tables, curly fries and all the cool kids hung out there. After Rapid Roberts, That Italian Place offered gourmet pizza there (the seafood pizza was my favorite). Where Flo’s now is was Betty’s Place. There was a gas station across the street from the car wash and Flying J was across the street from Les Schwab. Flying J was the hangout for the high school kids at night. At times there would up to 25 rigs parked around there, all teenage drivers.

I also can remember Bill Coe and me being crossing guards at Center School after school. We would by a bunch of candy at the J after our duty was done.

I can vaguely remember an old gentleman sitting outside the building next to the old Stucks Tavern. He would honk a hand-held horn when cars passed. I cannot ever remember going in the business but I remember the HONK and the friendly wave.

Near the current Senior Center across the street was an electronics store, that was torn down a few years ago and the white building sitting above the current empty lot was the Fun Factory, another kid hangout. Video games lined the walls and I remember playing my first game of pool there . After the Factory closed, it became The Medicine Shoppe, then Grant’s Pharmacy.

Coulee Medical Center ER and Walk-In Care

There was also The Smart Shop, Gasoline Alley and Apparel Plus. All clothing stores. In old Grand Coulee was Ace Hardware near where the vet now is. Also there was a Radio Shack where the empty daycare now sits. M&M Furniture was also in the area. There were a lot of the old empty buildings up there then too — Mom’s Tavern, the Night Owl and others. Where All American Spacers is now, was Rawe and Rauch Hardware. It was mostly a hardware store, but upstairs was every kid’s dream. Toys. It seemed so big when I was a kid, wall to wall toys. I can remember loving going to Rawes as a child and would spend forever up in the toy area. OK, on to Coulee Dam.....

At the bottom of the hill was Merv’s. It was smaller then, only gas and a garage. The Credit Union was a school once but I barely even remember that. But I do remember the pool. Those were great summer days. My wife says that where the Blue Moon now is was a doughnut shop. Gene’s Place was across from where the Casino now sits and that was just a vacant building during my time. Harvest Foods was Good Deal Foods, and I think Thrifty before that. I remember a drug store in the upper half with a bar and soda fountain in the back. I remember my Grandpa Utz taking me there for floats. Across from Harvest, was a BBQ place. My stomach growled just thinking about the smells that came from there. Not a lot has changed in Coulee Dam in the last 20 years as far as I can remember. The casino is the big change there. In Elmer City was Tillman’s. Great sandwiches, I am sure they are missed by more than just me.

Best Ice Cream in Town!

I am sure I missed something and I am sure you will tell me all about it. It has been fun reminiscing with all of you.

So I will end with this: Support small business. I, too, go to big chain stores outside our area; it is almost a necessity these days. But don’t forget the local businesses; they are here for us, and if we want to see them stay and see new ones grow, we must support them.

Colorama is just around the corner, time to dust off the boots and hat. Posse mount up, it’s time to ride.


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