NYSSA – A local family-owned grocery store is changing as the next generation takes over.
Tyler Simpson, a third-generation owner of Owyhee Grocery, a rural gas station and grocery outlet near Nyssa, in March took over the business that’s been run by the family for nearly 40 years.
Simpson, 26, said he always knew he would take over the store, but he did not think it would happen as fast as it did.
In December, when he was frustrated with a permitting issue, his father, Jimmy, asked him if he was ready to buy the business.
“I was a little shocked at first,” Simpson said. “And I said, sure, I guess. I just kind of got thrown into (taking over the business). I wasn’t expecting it to be this year, but we’re here.”
The store, according to Simpson, was built in the 1930s.
Simpson said he received a small business grant from Business Oregon and a small business loan to help with improvements to a store that serves campers, hunters and travelers.
It wa the only business in Eastern Oregon to receive such a grant, and the funds allowed for a much-needed facelift that included a new parking lot, paint job and restrooms.
Additionally, Simpson said, the money will help fund the restaurant side of the operation to start serving beer and add outdoor seating.
He said that work would begin next spring and be completed by late June.
“This business has definitely been a focal point for this community since my family has owned it for the last 40 years,” Simpson said. “So it is very important for me to keep that going.”
On Oct. 15, the grocery store held a parking lot party with vendors and music in a family-friendly format.
Simpson called it “just a little celebration for all the new changes that are happening around the store.”
The community focus continues on Halloween, with trick-or-treat tables from 6 to 8 p.m. in front of the store, and a pumpkin judging contest.
The Owyhee Grocery store is located right below Lake Owyhee. The address is 2499 Highway 201 and it is open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. The grill is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.
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