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These people mean business

Three local businesses returning despite the tough economy

While the national and regional economy continues in a downward spiral, the re-emergence of three local businesses - Mad Dogz Hobby, the Eagle Creek Inn and the Safari Club -is good news for Estacada.

Mad Dogz Hobby

After moving to Sandy eight months ago, the new shop is located right off Highway 224

Five years after setting foot in Estacada for the first time, Mad Dogz Hobby has returned to open its second store in a new location.

The hobby shop, which specializes in remote controlled planes, cars and trucks as well as other activities such as disc golf, is back just eight months after relocating from Estacada to Sandy.

'We wanted to come back because we're a family-based company and we feel that the service we provide in bringing families together is important,' said owner Julie Hogue.

While Hogue admits the move to Sandy had nothing to do with the success the store was having in Estacada, she is glad to be back in her hometown.

'A lot of the local residents here wanted us to come back and we wanted to expand our business,' she said.

In addition to discs and remote control cars, a big market for the new shop is its skateboarding section, which will be even more popular with the addition of a new skate park in town.

One drawback to its return to Estacada is the confusion that has been caused by the signage outside the old store. While the canopy and window signs are still present in Mad Dogz's last location downtown, the new location is right off Highway 224 near the Les Schwab.

Safari Club

Owners remember restaurant from their childhood, hope to restore it to what they remember

When Betsy Miller and Cindy Smith were children, the Safari Club was a place that stood out from all the rest. When they recently visited this place, however, they didn't even recognize it.

Fast forward a few months, and the two Milwaukie natives are the new owners, with aspirations of taking it back to how they remember it.

In charge of the restoration is Jeremy Scoles, who will serve as the general manager of the club because of his experience in the restaurant industry.

'I have 10 years in this business, and I have seen a couple changes similar to the one the Safari Club is going through where we needed to bring a place back to the owner's vision, including the place I ran in Central Oregon for the past 10 years,' Scoles said.

While the goal remains to restore the place, Scoles did acknowledge that there would be some changes.

'Our expertise is not in Chinese food and we want to do things top notch, so we're adding a steakhouse menu along with some more live music on the weekends,' he said.

The plan is to have a family oriented restaurant until 9 p.m. and then the club will switch to featuring DJs and live music, depending on the event.

The soft opening for the new place is this Friday and Saturday, while the grand opening will take place on Halloween weekend.

'I'm very confident that this can be successful because it has a lot of potential despite all of the work it will require,' Scoles said. 'But people scream for decent-priced food and live music and the feedback has been phenomenal for what we want to do.'

The entrees will range from $8 to $12, including burgers, steak, chicken, pork and sliders. The club also will feature a double happy hour before and after dinner as well as plenty of promotions.

'We're thinking about running something like a big buck competition during hunting season and something similar for fishing,' Scoles said. 'But also simple things like taco Tuesdays.'

This weekend's soft opening will feature food and drink specials, live music from Jr. Raimey, and Matt Borden and the MFB, as well as tons of promotional items to give away.

Eagle Creek Inn

Old owner regains control and asks for feedback

When Gail Bernston sold the Eagle Creek Inn to a friend of hers in 2002 after 10 years of ownership, she couldn't have imagined the place would ever look like it does.

'When I took it back on Feb. 21, it was a horrible, rotten mess with mold in the walls,' Bernston said.

As Bernston began to clean the place out and replace the kitchen, she was preparing to put the restaurant back on the market for sale. Things changed, however, when the community started talking to her.

'As we were cleaning this up, people would come in and tell me they wanted it the way it used to be, and I told the Realtor I didn't want to sell it anymore because it is such a high to do something for other people,' she said.

One of the biggest changes in the new restaurant is that they took down one of the walls, which opened up the place and allowed them to add several television sets with Dish Network.

As for the kitchen, it was redone in stainless steel, and they added a Traeger grill and a chicken broaster.

'I have the most wonderful cook there and he comes up with all sorts of wonderful ideas, so we'll have steaks, hamburgers, hand dipped fish and chips as well as the most amazing chicken fried steak,' Bernston said.

Bernston also is in charge of Gilmore's Meadow in Portland, so Sarah Russell will be the general manager of the Eagle Creek Inn.