Creating Business in a Small Town Odd Fellows Bakery - Salmon, Idaho

Creating Business in a Small Town

SALMON, IDAHO — Seven years ago, any out-of-towner might not have looked twice at the old Odd Fellows building in downtown Salmon, which is in central Idaho north of Challis. But volunteer Cindy Phelps and the Craig and Jessica McCallum family saw potential — a tan brick facade on Main Street where business and nostalgia blend. “I absolutely love that old building … I think everyone does,” said Phelps, a semi-retired Lemhi County Humane Society Board Member. More than seven years ago, the building held little more than creaking boards and potential. With a little love and a lot of community dedication, that building is now a thriving bakery, thrift shop and community gathering place. But it wasn’t an easy journey to get there. Not long ago, Phelps and the rest of the board members of the Humane Society were looking for a new home for their thrift store, Rags & Wags. They set their sights on the Odd Fellows building. It was built by local miners in 1904. The men were members of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, which is an internationally established group known for doing good deeds. “They wanted [the building] to continue to serve the community, so that was part of the agreement,” Phelps said. “We just had no idea that it would end up helping so many people!” There was one major problem though. While it was loved, the building was old and deteriorating. “The place needed a lot of work, a new roof, electrical, and more,” Phelps said. “After people heard what was going on, they pitched in ‘seed funds’ and then grants from other sources started to come in. It’s like someone had to prime the pump to get things started.” The effort was a big deal for the small Salmon community. The population of Salmon is just over 3,000. “In a small town with a blue-collar economy, that sort of expense just about kills ya,” Phelps said. Fortunately, the board members from the Humane Society were thinking outside of the box. They knew the local people had an incredible work ethic. And when given a chance they would rise to the occasion with hard work and dedication. With plenty of sweat equity poured into the building, it started to shine again — a labor of love from a dedicated community. But the story of the rebirth of the Odd Fellows building doesn’t end with Rags & Wags. To provide the rest of the story, Phelps points to the McCallums. The pair have a passion for both great baking and for their small Salmon hometown. “My parents were hunting and rafting outfitters in the Chamberlain Basin in the heart of the Frank Church Wilderness area of Central Idaho when I was growing up,” Craig said. “I got my start cooking there.” Craig worked as a hunting, fishing and rafting guide while he earned his degrees in journalism and political science at the University of Montana in Missoula. He and wife Jessica loved Missoula’s bakeries and the community. It wasn’t long before they began to wonder how they could bring the essence of those bakeries back home to Salmon. After graduating, Craig spent a year working as a river guide, as well as for three different stone masons. In his spare time he drove the Zamboni at the hockey rink and sold his homemade sourdough bread at local events and farmers markets. All the while, he and Jessica kept an eye out for the perfect place to set up shop. But rent was high and funds were low, so the McCallums loaded up their 1975 VW bus with two kids and a Labradoodle and headed for the mecca of American Sourdough and wood fire ovens: Northern California. Meanwhile, back in Salmon, Phelps and the Lemhi County Humane Society had just finished a deal to buy the Odd Fellows building. They knew the location had promise. Phelps’ friend, Carol Fulton, just happened to know a certain young baker who had a lot of promise, too. Fulton called Craig in California and said that they could lure him back to town with low rent and the perfect location, right on Main Street, to start his own business. Craig had now completed an apprenticeship at two bakeries. It wasn’t long before he and Jessica headed back to make their dreams a reality. Over the next year, they remodeled their side of the building and hand-built the Allan Scott-style wood stove Craig had always wanted. Odd Fellows Bakery opened its doors in 2009 and has quickly become a favorite hangout of locals and visitors alike. Everything was finally falling into place. Today, Craig and Jessica have one partner and about eight employees. It’s obvious they’ve done a lot of work. The building is bright and bustling, and the smell of fresh baking fills the street every morning. The bakery is paying regular rent and the constant flow of customers in and out the front door says something amazing is happening here. Most out-of-towners find it hard to decide between the Raspberry Danish and the Apple Galettes. Craig will end up just selling them both along with a loaf of classic sourdough (to take home for later). It is no surprise when Craig says with a big smile, “business is doing great!” In addition to a thrift store, local meeting rooms, and the bakery, the building has also become a playhouse for the high school drama team. The team had lost its space due to budget cuts at the school district. Once again, the folks from the Lemhi County Humane Society kept their promise and gave someone a chance and a place to do the work and make it happen. By Scott W. Elliott – Published in the Idaho State Journal, Dec 20, 2016   

Sixteens Hours in Salmon Boat fishing steelhead

Sixteens Hours in Salmon

This is a featured article in NRS’s Duct Tape Diaries by Emerald LaFortune from November 10, 2016. Salmon, Idaho is a lot of things. Gloriously podunk, an outdoor enthusiast’s hub, and the destination for your next steelhead fishing trip. A local by proxy, Emerald LaFortune gives you the beta needed to enjoy 16 hours fishing for steelhead in Salmon. You’ve already been fishing for seven hours and haven’t had a bite, with the exception of a suckerfish and a lot of cottonwood branches. The weather in central Idaho in November is usually pretty awful, and you might have a leak in the right foot of your waders. Luck might change by tomorrow but until then, there’s no need to hang out in your humid tent as it pours rain. After a long day of pretending “there’s fish in this river!” thaw your frozen fingers enough to operate the turn signal in your rig and head into town. A bustling metropolis of 3,100 people, 3,400 dogs and chickens and too many cows to count, Salmon, Idaho is a sleepy ranch town that draws out-of-towners twice a year: rafting season and when the steelhead run. Nestled near the confluence of the Lemhi River and the Salmon River with the Beaverhead Mountains as a backdrop, Salmon, Idaho doesn’t lack in natural beauty and outdoor opportunities. But if it’s raining and the fish aren’t biting, make the best of your skunked and sulking mini vacation by finding Salmon’s best restaurants, activities and to-dos. First, you can only live on tortilla chips and Miller Lite so long. All I’m going to say about the Pork Peddler is: fried macaroni and cheese wedges. Also, BBQ. Why are you still standing here? Sweet potato fries too! Catch Wednesday night trivia to see if you have more facts up your sleeve than the local fish biologists (you probably don’t) and keep an eye on the specials board for something delicious dreamt up by Sarah and Devin themselves. The Junkyard is Salmon’s other favorite lunch and dinner location, with a more diverse bistro menu including my favorite, the Coconut Thai Chicken Curry bowl. Hungry river guides flock to the Junkyard after trips on the Middle Fork to devour their favorite, the Junkyard Garlic Burger. But if you’re one of those picky eaters, or you just like to have it your way (don’t worry, I won’t send you to Burger King), the Junkyard offers build your own pastas. You read that correctly, start with their classic marinara or alfredo sauce and add all the ‘junk’ you can imagine. From prosciutto to shrimp, asparagus to capers, bleu cheese to gouda, they have it all. (Although, I wouldn’t recommend the Krab with a K, you are in Central—landlocked—Idaho, you know.) After a hot lunch, the River Cinema is a great option for an after fishing warm up or to help you forget you drove all the way to Idaho to sit in the rain and slap a line all over the river catching lunker branches and rocks. Walking down Salmon’s Main Street feels like a stroll through decades past. The River Cinema is no exception. With only two or three movie options, I can’t promise this week’s showing will be a box office hit, but tomorrow could be a bluebird day and tonight’s movie could be the latest Brad Pitt masterpiece. It could happen. If the only movie playing is “Trolls,” or it’s not free popcorn Tuesday, there’s the option to go soak your tired fishing elbow. Somewhere in the general vicinity of Salmon, Idaho, nestled within the mountains, lie some beautiful natural geothermal hot springs. I’m not going to post photos or mile markers, do you want me to get attacked the next time I try to walk down Main Street? With a little work you can find ‘em yourself. Pack out all your trash and don’t be obnoxiously [drunk, creepy, political, clothed, etc.]. If you’ve had enough of hydrology in all its forms, swing over to the Salmon River Fly Box to shoot the breeze about the (dismal) fishing report. I get the impression that Steve, owner of the Salmon River Fly Box is a STEELHEADFISHERMAN. Any steelhead fisherman knows that there are “people who steelhead fish sometimes” and then there are “STEELHEADFISHERMAN.” You know the difference. Throughout the summer Steve stocks a variety of flies for the trout fisherman en route up the Lemhi or over to the Middle Fork of the Salmon. But as soon as September hits, he sets out the steelheading flies and is out swinging almost every morning before work. There’s no better place in town to pick up a few extra supplies and wiggle around the latest fly rod models. I won’t tell you where to head out fishing (see earlier comment about losing friends and getting mobbed) but Steve might, in person. The Fly Box can also be a great place to hob knob with the locals and be invited out to a favorite run or get passed a hand-tied fly. When it’s time to cuddle up and dream of ocean-run trout, the best accommodation in Salmon is to make friends with that local you met at the fly shop and sleep in their guest room. You’ll probably get to drink beer on their nice porch and listen to stories about their day at the “office” rock climbing to find a wildfire charred bighorn sheep collar. If you’re more the hotel type, however, there are a variety of options in Salmon. The Stagecoach Inn is where all the river companies put up their guests (read: closest to a Holiday Inn). While the Bear Country Inn and Sacajawea Inn give more of a funky “I didn’t know appliances like this still existed” vibe. Really, it’s all about the hot shower and if you were a real STEELHEADFISHERMAN you’d be suffering out in the rain so don’t get too picky here. After a good eight hours you’ll be ready to hit the river again, but not until

In Idaho, Thin Snow Means Fat Tires

In Idaho, Thin Snow Means Fat Tires

By Matt Furber for the New York Times, FEB 25, 2014 – . Snow has been so scant in Idaho this winter that bicycles started showing up in shop windows in the middle of January, and cyclists began booking ski huts during a season when it’s usually backcountry skiers who are seeking accommodations. What may be bad news for skiers has turned out to be an irresistible opportunity for those who love to ride on mountain bikes with four- and five-inch-wide tires, which are designed to float over snow and sand and still provide substantial cushion for rough single track (even without the suspension common to many bikes with skinnier tires). Where trails are too soft for regular mountain bikes, or too sparse to protect skiers from subsurface obstacles, fat bikes are filling a gap. Riders do well on mixed terrain, including on trails where the snow is too thin for skiing and on south-facing pitches where dirt is exposed during a low-snow winter. “It’s opening a new way to be outdoors,” Chris Estrem, a Ketchum physical therapist, backcountry skier and world bicycle traveler, said. “It’s made me a better mountain biker. I want to ride it all the time. I love it.” Tory Canfield, who started an organization called the Fat Bike Advocacy Group, said: “For me, fat biking on snow creates a sense of ethereal floatiness that conjures up the sensation of powder skiing. As soon as your tire rolls forward, your mouth turns up into a big, fat grin. It is nothing short of fun.” The weather that has made for optimum fat-tire biking may be around for a while, Charles Luce, a Boise-based research hydrologist for the United States Forest Service, told me. “Precipitation has been declining in the region, and the probability of severe droughts has been increasing over the last 60 years,” said Mr. Luce, who co-wrote a paper on the subject that was published last December in Science magazine. “One of the key physical drivers for future precipitation, westerly wind, is also expected to decline on average in the future.” As a longtime mountain biker who finds peace in remote trail riding, I decided to experience the winter “fat bike” phenomenon for myself and took a road trip from Boise to test bikes in some of the state’s mountain haunts. It has been cold in Boise, which is 2,700 feet above sea level, but that hasn’t stopped riders of fat bikes, especially when it comes to fat-bike trials, including an event organized by Fat Bike Boise in early December (a celebration of Global Fat- Bike Day) on a thin layer of early snow preserved by the cold. It should be said that Boise on any bicycle is a compelling starting point for an adventure. Hotels and restaurants are a brief ride from the airport, and trailheads are a short distance from downtown. In Idaho riders learn to roll through stop signs, maintaining guiltless momentum on the way to places like Zoo Boise to see snow leopards because a 1982 rule dubbed the “Idaho Stop Law” permits cyclists to treat stop signs as yield signs. The first higher elevation stop on my biking quest was at 3,900 feet in Salmon, an outpost for the Continental Divide Trail, at the confluence of the Lemhi and Salmon rivers. Roads there wind through crinkled mountains that begin near places like the phenomenal lava fields of Craters of the Moon and rise to the north above the Snake River Plain that is bent like a fishhook through the southern part of the state — a dramatic landscape by any route. Salmon is a hunting and recreation gateway on the edge of the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness, a town steeped in Western lore and known as the birthplace of Sacagawea. My trip began at the Hub, a new bike and ski shop a block off Main Street that also serves pizza and beer. There I met the owner, Max Lohmeyer, a Fruita, Colo., native and lifelong mountain biker, who would take me for an evening ride on Discovery Hill. After exiting Mr. Lohmeyer’s van at the trailhead, we crunched on our bikes over thin patches of snow turned ice luge in some sections. In the dark, chips of snow that shot from the front tire glowed like welding sparks as they floated through the bright beam of my bike light. Traction on marginally snow-covered trails varied with pitch and aspect. Navigating surfaces and slopes was more fun than it may sound, which I attribute to the novelty of riding a super-fat mountain bike tire under the shine of a full moon. At times during our ride, some 13 miles through mountain desert country with the Salmon photographer David Lingle, we could see the lights of town below. Back at the trailhead another rider left a note on Mr. Lingle’s car, a calendar photo of two emperor penguins standing together in the grass. One bird, craning its neck, had a scribbled dialogue bubble above it that read, “Just call me Master of the Moonlight! Bahahaha.”     Later, at dinner at the Junkyard Bistro in Salmon, where the special was an Idaho burrito with mashed potatoes and bacon, the conversation was, inevitably, about fat bikes. “I’ve never seen a trend come on so fast,” Mr. Lohmeyer said. (So much so that the first-ever U.S. National Fat Bike Championship will be held March 8 in Cable, Wis.) In bed after enjoying the frontier night life, which included watching outdoor hockey, my mind continued to slip and slide — I was hooked on riding in the snow and excited to try it in the daytime too. To get to my next destination I drove through the wide valleys of the Lost River and Pahsimeroi mountain ranges to the Teton Valley, which has a large contingent of snow-sports people in the towns of Victor and Driggs. Snow biking is managed in conjunction with Nordic skiing at the base area of the Grand Targhee Resort at 8,000 feet in Alta, Wyo., and just over the border

These 9 Places In Idaho Make The Best Sandwiches EVER

These 9 Places In Idaho Make The Best Sandwiches EVER

Original article from “OnlyInYourState.com” The weather is hot, the air is sweltering, and the thought of indulging in excessive amounts of anything other than ice cream and ice water sounds like torture. But a body’s gotta eat. So what’s better than a portable sandwich, perfect for road trips? Absolutely nothing, that’s what.