IDLEYLD PARK — Robin and Anthony Wilson didn’t have much choice but to accept the invitation to operate and eventually own the Idleyld Trading Post.
The invitation came from Robin’s parents, Bob and Jacque Dallaire, in 1993. The Dallaires had traveled north from Atascadero, Calif., to look for property they could put their RV on while on vacation. That trip included a stop at the Trading Post. They discovered the small country convenience store was for sale and soon afterward made a down payment.
The Dallaires then made their pitch to the Wilsons. Robin had 20 years of experience in food service, and Anthony was a heavy equipment operator for the construction company Bob Dallaire owned.
The Wilsons accepted and moved north. Following the down payment by the Dallaires, the Wilsons made every ensuing monthly payment.
Almost 20 years later, the Wilsons are still rising at 4:30 a.m. and an hour later opening their business, which sits between the North Umpqua Highway and the North Umpqua River a few miles east of Glide.
“It came as a complete surprise,” Robin Wilson said of her parents’ interest in the store and their invitation. “It was our chance to break away and make a new start. It was time to make a change.
“None,” Robin added emphatically when asked if there were any regrets.
The store was founded in the early 1930s when logging in the Cascade Mountains east of Idleyld Park was booming. The original store was in a small log cabin style structure and there were other small cabins nearby that were rentals.
Eventually the cabin store was torn down and a new building, the present one, was constructed. A fire in the early 1980s did some internal damage to the business, but it recovered.
There had been several owners over the years leading up to Jan and Pat Gannon, who owned the store for seven years before accepting the down payment from the Dallaires.
“We’ve owned the store the longest,” Robin Wilson said.
The Wilsons made a couple major changes after moving north. Within a month they expanded the hours from a 7 a.m. opening to 5:30 a.m. year-round in order to attract the early morning loggers, fishermen, hunters and other recreational enthusiasts. Within the year, they added a deli section in the back right corner of the store.
That deli was especially busy during summer forest fires in the mountains to the east. For a couple weeks during the Apple Fire, the Idleyld Trading Post made 250 lunches a day for firefighters. Drop-in visitors during those fires and during search-and-rescue incidents also sought out the deli and increased business elsewhere in the store.
The owners eventually added more freezer space, increased the sporting goods selection and overall doubled the inventory.
“It’s the old country river store I grew up visiting all the time,” said Dave Loomis of Roseburg, a regular visitor to the store on his trips to Diamond Lake. “They have what you need. Everybody’s friendly. You at least have to stop for a tri-tip sandwich.”
Mike Cline of Idleyld Park has been a customer of the store for 22 years.
“It’s very convenient,” Cline said. “It saves a person living up here from having to go to town (Roseburg). It’s not a department store, but it has a wide variety of food products and the best fishing equipment anywhere near here. Plus, there’s a gas station.
“Overall, it’s a very friendly, solid place to go and shop,” he added.
In addition to being business owners, the Wilsons are avid sports fans. They were Los Angeles Lakers fans when they moved to Oregon and they continue to be. But as far as college sports, they had to make a choice.
“It was either Ducks or Beavers,” Robin Wilson said. “The Ducks were more popular at the time, we heard more about them and they were closer.”
The Wilsons became avid Duck fans. They attend many home games for all sports and have made numerous road trips with different UO teams.
“Being a Duck fan is so much fun, we have a great time,” Robin Wilson said. “Beavers are welcomed in the store too, but they better be prepared for some joking and teasing, although the Beavers beat us in baseball.”
Anthony Wilson, at 61, and Robin, at 57, would be willing to sell their business after 20 years in order to free themselves up a bit to spend more time back in California with family, but in the meantime they’re still enjoying their rural community.
“I love what I do. I enjoy the interaction with people, with our employees, while serving the public,” Robin Wilson said. “It’s been a good life being a part of a community like Idleyld Park and Glide.”
• Business Editor Craig Reed can be reached at 541-957-4210 or firstname.lastname@example.org.