Chamber recognizes Ria Brower's family restaurant, bar as nominee for quarterly sensational business award

POST PHOTO: BRITTANY ALLEN - Sandy Family Restaurant/Ria's Bar owner Ria Brower and Restaurant Manager Dana Richardson.With fall in full swing, the Sandy Area Chamber of Commerce has found three new nominees for its next sensational business award, which will be celebrated at the next quarterly luncheon.

The top three nominees for this quarter's award are Sandy Cinema, Sandy Family Restaurant and U.S. World Class Taekwondo. The Sandy Post has featured each business in an effort to better acquaint the community with the nominees before the voting process in the coming weeks.

For the past four years, Sandy Family Restaurant has strived to be just what its name suggests. Ria's Bar, which is attached to the downtown eatery, has been in the community for six years, and though its customer base is a little different, the family feel remains.

"It's a place for people to come eat and enjoy being here," said Ria Brower, owner of the businesses at 39024 Proctor Blvd.

Brower is originally from Trinidad, and moved to the United States with her family as a child.

Growing up on her island home, she came to love small communities like Sandy, and said "I've always had big dreams for myself."

"I always knew I wanted to be something good in life, and I feel pretty fortunate that it's worked out well for me," she explained.

Before striking out to build her first bar in Oregon City with her then-husband, Brower worked at Washington Mutual Bank in Sandy, and met much of the community in that capacity. When the bar space on Proctor Boulevard opened up and she was looking to move from Oregon City, Brower jumped on the chance to establish Ria's in Sandy.

"I was very familiar already with the town," she said. "I love the small-town feel."

In her time in Sandy, Brower has tried to extend the same loyalty she sees from her regulars back into the community, hosting nonprofit group Sandy Helping Hands' annual Camo Pub Crawl, participating in the Sandy Area Chamber of Commerce's First Friday festivities and Trick-or-Treat Trail.

Besides hosting several events in an effort to not only feed, but entertain the public, Brower also is a hands-on owner.

"I am the janitor to the dishwasher to the busses to the bartender," she explained. "But, I wouldn't trade it. I love it. (And), out of all of the businesses in Sandy, it really is kind of a privilege to be nominated (for the Chamber award)."

Brower contributes much of her success to the work of her managers, Dana Richardson and Cassandra Henderson, who have been with their respective businesses since day one.

"I (like) being able to employ people from the community," she said. "Our locals is what makes us."

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