Teri Doran took over the Vale Liquor Store from longtime owner Debi Scott in June. (The Enterprise/Pat Caldwell)

VALE – You can go home again.

Just ask Vale’s Teri Doran.

Doran left her hometown in 1983 and moved to Baker County. Since then, Doran’s life path sent her to Sumpter and central Oregon and, now, she’s back in town as the owner of the Vale Liquor Store.

Doran, the daughter of Marvin and Frances Rempel, bought the store from longtime owner Debbie Scott in June. Doran isn’t new to the retail business.

“I had a store in Sumpter for almost 20 years,” said Doran. “I like being self-employed. I have always been self-employed.”

The Vale Liquor Store offers name brand whiskeys, vodkas, liquor blends, brandy, gin, rum and tequila.

Doran said she is already planning to expand.

“This store will be going from a liquor store to selling beer, wine and will have a gift shop,” said Doran.

Doran said she hopes to begin the expansion “within the next two months.”

“I need to find bigger space,” said Doran. “The state has approved it so I just need to figure out how to get a cooler in here.”

The store is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. six days a week and caters to a “steady” customer base, said Doran.

Doran said there is one key to success for any small business and she intends to capitalize on it.

“I believe in giving good customer service,” said Doran. “If you don’t give good customer service you don’t get repeat customers.”

For a business in a small town, repeat customers are crucial, said Doran.

“Your locals are the most important to your business. They could shop in Ontario and you don’t want them to go. You want them to stay here,” said Doran.

Becoming the owner of a liquor store in Oregon isn’t a short process, said Doran.

While Doran owns the store, she works as a state contractor to sell the liquor. The Oregon Liquor Control Commission controls the sale of hard liquor in the state. Liquor in Oregon is sold only in Oregon Liquor Control Commission stores.

“The state owns the product,” said Doran.

The state has rigorous standards for someone who wishes to sell liquor, said Doran.

Doran said she had to go through “a variety of interviews and give presentables” with the state before she took over the store.

“You have to make your case as to why you are qualified,” said Doran.

That process, said Doran, included a background check.

Doran said now she is leasing the building from Debi Scott and has one employee.

Doran said she receives a small base salary along with a commission as a state contractor. 

Doran said there is a possibility in the future she will move the location of the store now at 160 Washington St. E. to a larger store.

“The state has to approve a new location,” said Doran.

Doran said she is pleased to be back home close to her parents and also lauded the support she received from other city businesses since she stepped behind the counter.

Operating a small business can bring with it many worries, but Doran said that really isn’t the case with her new gig.

“There is no stress in this. The stress is when you run out of something somebody wants,” said Doran.

Reporter Pat Caldwell: [email protected] or 541-473-3377.

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