Tag Archives: Gorst

Gorst’s Trojan Cow

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 lacking.

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 the Bull

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 Horse.

With a secret weapon like that Port Orchard allied with Gorst might actually be able to conquer Bremerton.

Here are some of Billy’s buddies.

Blackberries on Steroids and the Mother of All Traffic Jams

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.

New York Blackberries

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 Manhattan gridlock.

On our way back to Newark Liberty International Airport on Saturday, we dropped my oldest son off at John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens. Mapquest, bless its little addled computerized brain, sent us the shortest route as the crow flies over to New Jersey — through the Holland Tunnel.

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 York glare.”

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.

Espresso Redux in Gorst

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 less.

“Hey, it’s a business. You have to stand out,” she said.

But really, what’s the big deal? Businesses open every day in Kitsap County, and to tell you the truth, from a media point of view, we think we’ve pretty much saturated the market with coverage of baristas lacking coverage. The ooh-ah front page story of 2008 has gotten so much exposure that it’s lost its novelty. Here it is again, barely blog fodder.

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 country.”

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.

Gorst Espresso Update

Like you and Kitsap Sun reporter Ed Friedrich (author of the blog “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 said.

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.

Chris Henry, SK reporter