Wednesday, November 20, 2013/lk
PATEROS Some changes are on the horizon for The Pateros Trading Co., which has recently come under new management.
New Chief Executive Officer Jeanette Palmer and her husband, Charles, took the helm in September. Jeanette Palmer is the daughter of the company’s owners, Mansfield natives Howard and Marilyn Asmussen.
“My parents are both getting up in age and they came and asked for help, so that was probably the golden ring that really got me going,” Jeanette Palmer said.
Judy Brown previously managed the company. She was married to the Asmussens’ son, Arnold Asmussen, before he died in 2004.
Pateros Trading Co. is the umbrella company name for Rivers Restaurant, the Lakeshore Inn, The Central Building and a gas station and convenience store locals still refer to as the Super Stop.
The Asmussens started the business more than 30 years ago as a small shop across the street from the gas station’s current location, 245 Lakeshore Drive. Today, the entire company employs about 40 people.
While upholding the tradition of family ownership and management, Jeanette Palmer said she’s planning some fresh ideas to take the company into the future.
“When I look around the site here, I see a lot of potential that’s not been utilized yet,” she said. “We’re working on a new brand, logo and everything. We’re not ready to roll it out yet. We’re really close, so everything will come under a new name and I foresee one 800-number for the whole place so you can get to everything. Right now, the way they’re set up is very individualized and I think it should just be one umbrella, one name to get to where you need to be.
“I’m excited for that. I can’t wait.”
Customers may notice a few small changes already – in Rivers Restaurant, tablecloths have been added to reduce the echo throughout the dining room. The menus have been tweaked and the music changed to something more “fun,” Palmer said.
At Lakeshore Inn, several rooms are now pet-friendly and there are plans to add more.
She also plans to boost promotion of The Central Building, 207 Pateros Mall, locally as well as on the coast. Palmer envisions proms, offering post-game snacks to student athletes and bus drivers, lifting the garage doors for outdoor seating and family-oriented occasions.
The building served as a venue last weekend for the Asmussens’ 60th wedding anniversary.
“I love people. I love meeting people, hearing their stories, watching them smile, making them happy,” she said. “Coming from like 15 years of being a counselor, this isn’t like, ‘I know you’ve got a problem,’ it’s, ‘I know you want to get married and maybe I can do this for you and help your event be happy and be a memory in your life that’s going to be with you for a long time.’”
“I certainly support their contribution to our community,” Mayor Gail Howe said. “I’m sure they’re being progressive and moving forward with their company, and I encourage good things for our town.”
Howe said the company, particularly Lakeshore Inn, received rave reviews from Filipino guests in July over Apple Pie Jamboree weekend, including Pateros, Philippines, Mayor Joey Medina.
Palmer is still tying up loose ends at her other job, running an adolescent treatment center for girls who come from all over the state. Meanwhile, Charles Palmer has been overseeing company operations.
“He’s got the financial end of it. His degree is management information systems and accounting,” she said.
“I look forward to building on our strengths and exploring our recreational opportunities,” Charles Palmer said.
In addition to health care, Jeanette Palmer has retail and hospitality experience. She and Charles owned a shop in Leavenworth for the first five years of their marriage, she said.
She also has a background in computer programming and she helped establish an 800-number hotline for central Oregon so people and businesses can make reservations.
The Palmers plan to keep Pateros Trading Co. in the family for decades to come.
“It’s definitely going to be a family thing,” Jeanette Palmer said. “We have two sons, and one of them is going to potentially end up coming over here.”