Peninsular Thinking A conversation about Bremerton, Port Orchard, Poulsbo, Silverdale, Bainbridge Island, Kingston, Manchester, Seabeck, Southworth, Suquamish, Belfair, Keyport, Olalla, Bangor, Hansville, Indianola, Port Gamble, Allyn, Port Ludlow, Gig Harbor and every once in a while something about the good folks who don't have the good fortune to live here.
That goofy Mattress Ranch guy. You never know what you’ll see at
his store on Highway 16 in Gorst.
For several weeks, I’ve been driving by, wondering about the
large cow with boxy looking sides. As it turns out it’s a bull,
although the apparatus that would have made that obvious is
Billy the Bull hails from Texas, where he served as a
bigger-than-life advertisement for a steakhouse. Ted Sadtler,
Mattress Ranch owner, found him on his travels through the
Southwest and had to have him, said his daughter-in-law Yvonne
Sadtler. Sadtler towed him him all the way home. He has plans to
enter him in local parades.
Billy’s boxy look is left over from the steakhouse signs, since
removed. He looks like several grown men could climb inside and
hide, like the Trojan
With a secret weapon like that Port Orchard allied with Gorst
might actually be able to conquer Bremerton.
Last week I was on vacation in New York (not New York City,
though I did pass through – more on that later).
I grew up on the north shore of Long Island. My parents, both
now deceased, retired to the south shore. Annual visits to their
home — and the area’s beautiful beaches — were a cherished part of
my kids’ childhoods. It’s been 13 years since we were there, and so
we planned a family reunion with sisters and cousins.
The eastern end of Long Island is farming country, and we
enjoyed corn, peaches and big bouncy tomatoes from farm stands
along country roads. My daughter and I are big on berry picking,
and when we found a roadside U-pick, we had to give it a whirl …
even though they were charging $7 a pint for blackberries, which
grow voluntarily in Kitsap ditches an byways. Bremerton’s annual
ode to the lusty
weed is set for Sept. 4 through 6.
Now, I know it must seem absurd to Kitsap locals that we would
pay to pick blackberries. But these New York berries were
superlative in size and flavor (no offense Kitsap). Big? The
berries were the size of small mice.
I got a kick out of the sign, “Do not pick the red berries; they’re
not ripe.” Who did they think they were dealing with, a couple of
amateurs? We were careful to pick only the ones that were jet black
and yielded to the slightest tug. Given the high price per pint, we
picked an equal number that never made it farther than our mouths.
I have plenty of other sweet memories of my holiday, but one New
York experience I would gladly have passed on … lower Midtown
If I’d been more familiar with New York traffic patterns, alarm
bells would have gone off in my brain. But in all the years I lived
in New York, I haven’t actually driven in the city. Also, I’ve been
with my parents driving through the Holland Tunnel many a time, but
that was back in the day, three to four decades ago. There are a
just a few more cars on the road now. Also, it was near rush hour …
but on a Saturday?
How bad was the traffic jam? Kitsap kindred, this one made the
Gorst bottleneck look like the Indianapolis
500. We were moving an average of one block ever 10 to 15
minutes. How slow was it? We had the time to buy pretzels from a
sidewalk vendor and carry on a short conversation, all without
getting out of the car. The vendor said it’s always like this.
There were no lanes to be seen, or at least none that drivers
were observing. There were no rules. I take that back. The one rule
everyone religiously observed was, “Do not let any space open
between your car and the car ahead, even if if means crossing
against the red light and blocking the intersection. Failure to
show complete disregard for other drivers wishing to change lanes
is grounds for being cut off, honked at and given the dreaded New
In summary, I had a great vacation, got a fine tan, had fun
seeing the fam, but I’m fine with being back in Kitsapland, where
blackberries and traffic jams are of normal proportions.
If you’re a regular commuter passing
through the Gorst hairpin (bent hairpin more like) you’ll have
noticed some recent activity on the site of the
former Espresso Gone Wild, now closed. Workers are constructing
a new stand and, according to Rochelle Calleros, manager of the
soon-to-open Espresso Gone Crazy, utilities are in. She and owner
J.J. Wilson of South Kitsap are only waiting on the county to issue
final approval before they can open for business. Calleros
estimates it will be within a couple of weeks.
Espresso Gone Crazy is not in any way affiliated with the owner
of Gone Wild, who had his stand and all its equipment listed for
sale on Craigslist in May. Calleros, however, is a former employee,
and the new stand also will feature baristas in bikinis and
“Hey, it’s a business. You have to stand out,” she said.
Calleros, a recent UW grad with a degree in business management,
is keenly aware of market saturation. She wrote a research paper on
the espresso business in Kitsap County and found that the county
has a notably high number of stands per capita. Those that do best,
she says, are the bikini barista stands, but even those need a new
twist to compete.
Calleros’ marketing plan is to take a good thing and make it
better, to capitalize on “missed opportunities.” She will introduce
new promotions aimed at the military, their “number one customer
base,” and construction workers, who follow a close second.
Tuesdays will be “hard hat day.” Show up in your Carhartts and
steel-toed boots and you’ll get a discount. Thursdays, same deal
for members of the military. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, the
stand will reprise pastie days.
Calleros, 22, a Bremerton resident, is from upper state New
York. Her husband is in the Navy. She sees opportunity in reverse
geographical marketing. Whereas most business trends tend to work
their way from east to west, with espresso, the prevailing winds
are definitely moving in the opposite direction, she said.
“Coming to this area, my eyes opened wide,” she said. “Espresso
here is a huge business, and it hasn’t kicked in across the
Reaching out to the community is another missed opportunity
Calleros doesn’t intend to pass by. She is working with local
companies for bakery and dairy products. She also plans to hold
fund-raisers for various causes. “It’s getting your brand known and
getting people to like you,” she said.
Like you and Kitsap Sun reporter Ed Friedrich (author of the
“The Commute”), I’ve seen the sign on the trailer at the site
of the old
Espresso Gone Wild, letting people know there will be a new
coffee stand there soon. It will be called “Espresso Gone Crazy,
Same Theme, New Owners.”
I spoke to the property owner, Loma Winslow of South Kitsap, who
said she is looking forward to having a new tenant on the property.
“I’m just excited that we can see a new coffee shop coming in,” she
That’s all she can say for now, she told me.
Ballpark opening is a round mid-July. I’ll get back to you when
I have more to report.