Link to Owner Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr.

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Hook N' Ladder Pizza has a brick oven built into an old fire engine, sets up shop at sites around the area

GRAPHIC PHOTO: GARY ALLEN - David Bensch operates Hook n' Ladder Pizza, a food truck selling pies at locations throughout Yamhill County.

The aroma of burning wood and bubbling cheese have been wafting throughout Newberg and the surrounding area over the past few months, all thanks to David Bensch and his wife Laura Clendenin. The duo are the owners of Hook N'Ladder Pizza, a food truck selling wood-fired pizzas to the masses across Yamhill County.

Hook N'Ladder operates out of a converted 1980 Pierce Fire Truck originally built for a fire department in Midvale, Ohio. After its previous owners made some alterations, the truck now features a wood-fired brick oven in the center of its 23-foot frame. Its body is adorned with pizza-themed stickers and ornaments and the inside includes a makeshift kitchen where Clendenin whips up the pies.GRAPHIC PHOTO: GARY ALLEN - Laura Clendenin prepares a pizza for a customer last week.

With his wife inside preparing the pizza before he cooks them, Bensch is outside working the oven and engaging with customers. It's been a unique journey for Bensch – who at 58 recently lost his job at Newberg Chevrolet – and for the truck, which the couple bought on Ebay for a total cost of $60,000 and had it shipped from Muncie, Indiana.

"My wife retired after 29 years at a major insurance company and she originally wanted to get a coffee truck," Bensch said. "She was all over Craigslist looking for coffee trucks, so she went to Ebay and this truck popped up. She called me over to the computer, got excited and spent a day or two researching the regulations for a food truck.

"It's been a fun learning experience. I never thought at 58 years old that I'd be selling pizzas, but here I am."

Hook N'Ladder has been in business for just over three months, working to establish itself in the community. They park all over Yamhill County, but particularly Newberg and McMinnville, and a few local businesses have allowed Bensch to park the truck in their lots free of charge – including Newberg Chevrolet, oddly enough. The couple is hoping to re-establish the food truck as a staple of the Newberg Farmers Market as well.

It is primarily an event truck for festivals and special events, Bensch said, so they also hope to make their presence felt at next year's Old Fashioned Festival along with other major events in town. Theirs is a local business built from the ground up with the help of Ebay and a little luck.

The reviews so far have been positive among friends, neighbors and new customers.

"We were initially feeding the neighbors when we started this up," Bensch said. "None of them died, so we figured we were doing OK. We then decided to get involved with the Newberg Farmers Market and find places around town where we could park the truck and sell some pizzas."

The pizzas have a classic wood-fired appearance and taste. Bensch said he's already built a solid base of loyal customers who follow the business's updates on Facebook. It's on there that Bensch tells folks where he's parked that day and during what hours.

Not all the pizzas have been perfect so far, Bensch admits, and the brick oven can be tricky to operate and maintain, but he called everything he's experienced so far a learning process. He hopes people reach out by visiting www.hooknladderpizza.net or by giving him a call at 503-201-6710.

Business briefs

Waste Management will be open on Thanksgiving Day

Waste Management announced last week that customers in Yamhill County will receive service as usual on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 28, including customers in Newberg, Dundee and unincorporated Yamhill County.

However, the Newberg transfer station will be closed that day, as will Riverbend Landfill in McMinnville.

Year-round schedules and other information on Waste Management services is available at www.wmnorthwest.com.

More information on the landfill is available at www.riverbend.wm.com.

Clarification

Due to inaccurate information provided to the Newberg Graphic, there were a number of errors in a story headlined "Tanning Salon changes owners, adds wellness" that appeared in an October edition of the newspaper.

The business, now owned by Lisa Bowar, will continue to be called Once Upon a Tan. Bowar, a licensed esthetician and hair stylist, will also add "Minnie's Beauty Salon" to the site, according to a member of Bowar's family.


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