Longtime Estacada business embraces past and future
Employees at Dick's Logging have had a front row seat to watch the Estacada area's dynamic relationship with the timber industry unfold.
During the first half of the twentieth century, there were as many as 25 active mills in the area. So, in 1962, local resident Dick Phillips decided to open a store that sold supplies necessary for the industry. Phillips was already familiar with the local retail scene, as he and his wife also owned a variety store in town.
"(Dick was inspired to start the store) because of all the logging going on in the area," said Matt Workman, who has been a manager at Dick's Logging for the past year and a half. "Estacada was a hotbed for Northwest logging. There used to be a lot of logging industry suppliers in the area."
From its earliest days, Dick's Logging has sold essential items like chainsaws and calk boots to those in the industry. In addition to sales of new items, repairs are also made.
Reflecting on the ways in which the logging industry has changed over the years, Workman thinks it's interesting to consider the differences in equipment.
"(A lot of logging) used to be done with men on the ground doing manual labor, and now there are more big machines doing what men used to do," he said. "In the 1960s, we sold a lot of chainsaws. Now we sell a lot of mechanized logging equipment."
When the business opened, it was located at 272 Broadway St., now home to the Estacada Area Food Bank. It moved to its current location at 751 N.W. Industrial Way in 1993. In 1980, Phillips sold the business to longtime customer and Estacada resident Sonny Myrick.
Since Estacada's logging industry has downsized over the years because of efforts to protect spotted owl habitat and other environmental concerns, the store has expanded its inventory, and, in the words of Workman, "it's not just chainsaws, chains and surly old men."
In addition to logging equipment, the store now sells construction tools, yard equipment and a line of Carhartt clothing for children and adults.
Workman noted that yard equipment like hedge trimmers and lawn mowers have made the store popular among those who do not have a
background in the logging industry.
"We cater to the needs of both professionals and homeowners," he added, estimating that the store's customer base is equal parts homeowners and professional loggers.
In spite of the many changes to the timber industry over the years, Dick's Logging has remained a constant in the Estacada community. Both Workman and Linda Bennett, another manager, attribute this to strong customer service.
"We try to keep our customers happy, and they keep coming back," Bennett said. "We get things out when we say they will."
Workman added that they strive to treat their customers with fairness and respect.
"It's important to be honest with them, and give them a fair level of service that's not based on their level of business," he said.
Workman appreciates all of the history that the store
holds and enjoys talking to longtime customers about the industry.
"Seeing multi-generation loggers come through is cool," he said. "There are families who have been working for the same company on the same piece of ground."
He also appreciates seeing artifacts from logging days past.
"When someone brings a saw that was their grandpa's saw and it has one of our stickers on it, that's really cool," he said.
Workman is confident that Dick's Logging will continue to be an Estacada staple for many years to come.
"We're here," he said. "I don't see it going anywhere. It just works."