Grand plans at The Garages
There's a combination Kentucky Fried Chicken/A&W restaurant where the Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway and Western Ave. intersect. If you look closely at the drive-through line, you'll see a small sign with an arrow pointing down Western and the words "Food Carts That Way."
Follow the arrow and you'll arrive at The Garage Sale Warehouse, a 45,000-square foot facility that, for the most part, is used as an antique mall. Kent Drangsholt and his wife Jami started the business in 2012, after Kent's "Storage Wars"-like habit started taking up too much room in their home.
The abundance of space inspired Drangsholt to expand beyond the antiques dealing business. That's why he converted a corner of the space into a music venue last year — complete with a stage that's 43 feet wide, a bare-bones bar, and a food cart pod parked in front. He named it The Garages.
"I realized there was a void in Beaverton," said Drangsholt, who has a background in TV and radio. "There's no place to really go and listen to good old live music on a giant stage."
The Garages hosted its first event last summer, a battle of the bands "just to test the waters, see how it would go." Drangsholt opened up the venue's garage doors, so attendees could spread out outside and enjoy both the music and the nice weather.
"The bands had a great time, everybody that was there had a great time," he said. "It was one of the warmer days, so they played late into the night, and everyone there stayed."
Since then, The Garages has hosted a fundraiser for the Beaverton School District band program, and has welcomed several tribute bands and local high school groups. While The Garages is typically and 21-and-older venue, Drangsholt hosts regular under-age shows as well.
"The under-ages will always be something that I entertain, because I think the younger musicians need a good chance to show off their talents," Drangsholt said.
He's also put together two regular weekly events: a pro night on Wednesdays, backed by Portland music scene veteran the Billy Hagen Band, and an open mic night for beginners on Thursdays.
"If you're a first-timer and you need some help and you want encouragement, no matter who you are, you can get up onstage and play with a professional band," he said about open mic night.
In February, The Garages will host tribute artists for both Prince and James Clapton, and ZZ Top and Fleetwood Mac cover bands are on the schedule for March. Drangsholt plans to host more original bands as improvements are made to the venue.
The Times first reported on Drangsholt's business a year ago, when he was working with the city of Beaverton to establish his food cart pod. As the first pod in the city, he had to deal with some red tape, but he said it's finally been worked out.
On top of the food carts, the Garage Sale Warehouse building also houses a proper English teahouse, a commercial kitchen, and soon a recording studio — and there's still plenty of unused space. Drangsholt envisions the space eventually becoming an all-day, family- and pet-friendly destination.
"When we get to summer months, and we get the outside fence and can grow this into a place people can come not just at night, but also during the day," he said. "I want there to be a little bit of a festival atmosphere here, with food carts, and we'll have booths out there — I want to see it expand to all areas of small business."
Drangsholt pointed out that beyond a few small venues like The Dublin, Beaverton doesn't have many concert spaces. And while they're a dime a dozen in Portland, The Garages offers a few conveniences, like ample off-street parking, that downtown clubs can't compete with.
"There's a number of great venues around the Portland metro area," Drangsholt said. "We're not recreating the wheel. But we are changing it a little bit."
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