Places of Worship in Bandon

Bandon’s restaurants do much to help nourish the body, but the spirit needs nourishment as well. Many counselors are available to attend to your mental health, and there is selection of places of worship in Bandon for those looking to join a congregation or to attend while visiting.

For more information, see and look under the “For the Spirit” heading.

Bandon Christian Fellowship
1190 Face Rock Rd
(541) 347-9327

Bandon Seventh Day Adventist
10th & Elmira
(541) 347-3407

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
910 Delaware Ave

Faith Baptist Church
2952 Oregon Ave SW
(541) 347-3589

First Baptist Church
860 2nd St. SE
(541) 347-2273

First Presbyterian Church
592 Edison Ave SW
(541) 347-3672

Holy Trinity Catholic Church
355 Oregon Ave SE
(541) 347-2309

Jehovah’s Witnesses
87641 Doberman Ln
(541) 347-9647

Lighthouse Church of Christ
11th & Franklin
(541) 347-2199

Our Father’s House
49408 Highway 101

Pacific Community Church
48967 Highway 101
(541) 347-2256

Restoration Worship Center
89 North Ave SE
(541) 347-4900

Seabird Chapel Church of God
880 Seabird Dr SW
(541) 347-3731

South Coast Assembly
Highway 101 & 13th St SW
(541) 347-3216

South Coast Praise Center
49667 Highway 101
(541) 347-3358

St John’s Episcopal Church
795 Franklin Ave SW
(541) 347-2152

Unity of Bandon
50211 Highway 101
(541) 347-4696


Carolyn Potts Metzger
LPC and certified EMDR therapist
1010 1st St. SE Ste., 280

Janis Petrie, MSN, CNS – Psychiatric Nurse
390 1st St. SW, Suite 2B
To Book Janis Petrie

Susan F Wagner, MS
1040 Allegheny Ave. SW

Gina Allison, LPC – Providing individual and group counseling
Inner Active Wellness
955 1st St. NE


Mariarose M Shanahe, LCSW
1010 1st St. SE, Ste 265
(541) 329-0110

Syd Wiesel, LCSW
390 1st St. SW

Jonna Black, MA
110 10th St SE
(541) 347-2315

Santaland Diaries with Mike Dempsey

Actor and director Mike Dempsey is helping our fair town get in the Christmas spirit this month with his one-man show “Santaland Diaries,” based on an essay by writer David Sedaris.  This Christmas show features festive scenery and props: a decorated tree, gifts, jingle bells, large murals of Santa’s workshop and a toy-making elf, and, of course, a real-life elf (well, Dempsey in an elf suit, at least).  Unlike “It’s a Wonderful Life” or “Miracle on 34th Street,” however, “Santaland Diaries” is not necessarily uplifting nor feel-good, but it is laugh-out-loud funny.

“Santaland Diaries” was inspired by David Sedaris’s time working as a Christmas elf one holiday season in Macy’s department store.   As a middle-aged man working dressing and working as an elf, the job was perfect for this observer of the inane to transcribe into the essay that would bring him into the public eye.   At opening night on Friday, Mike Dempsey took Sedaris’s unique brand of dry and often self-deprecating humor and brought it and the audience to life, eliciting wry smiles and bursts of laughter.

Bandon is lucky to claim Mike Dempsey as one of its own.  A talented actor, director, and playwright, Mike is a member of S.A.G. (Screen Actors’ Guild) and has been on stage and in films for many years.  He could even be seen at Chicago’s famous Second City where scores of famous actors and comedians have gotten their starts over the years.  Locally, Mike has directed several plays at the Sprague Theater, including locally written “Bethlehem Road” last December.

There are three more chances to see “Santaland Diaries:” Wednesday, December 7; Tuesday December 13; and Wednesday, December 14.  All shows are at Brewed Awakenings and begin at 7:00.  The $10 tickets can be purchased at Brewed Awakenings ahead of time or at the door.  The humor is rather adult at times, so consider leaving younger children at home.

Meet The Gants of Bandon Rain Cider Company

There’s something new in Bandon.  Something sweet, but not too sweet; something tart, but not too tart; something steeped in family history and tradition yet on the cutting edge.  Gary and Karen Gant and their son and daughter-in-law Trevor and Mary Gant have put their heads and fruits together and have come up with the best hard cranberry-apple cider around, and they have called it Bandon Rain Cider Company.  The Gants have been working on their cider for three years and finally unveiled it at the 2016 Cranberry Festival where it received a very warm welcome.


Gary, a 3rd generation Bandon cranberry grower, was first inspired to try his hand at hard cider when he considered the loaded apple trees on his “small” 7 acre farm and wondered what he could do with them all.  He decided to grind and press them and make hard apple cider.  He made it, and, he says, it was “horrible.  You couldn’t drink it.  It was just bad.”

After a year of aging, however, the cider was “almost palatable,” according to Mary.   After talking with Gary about the cider, Trevor and Mary, who were working in the TV industry in Los Angeles, became interested in the idea.  They went to Trader Joes, bought some bottles of apple cider to ferment.  They brought some up to Bandon, and after tasting it, the family agreed that they were definitely on to something.

Over the next couple of years, they worked on finding just the right blend of cranberry and apple juice to make a well-balanced unfiltered hard cider.  Gary and Mary attended a class taught by cider guru Peter Mitchell and brought a sample of their latest version for him to judge at the end of class.  The cider master’s first comment was “It’s pink.”  After the Gants explained it was due to the cranberries, he smelled, swirled, and sipped, shook his head, again exclaimed, “It’s pink!”  He went on to say that he could taste the cranberry and the apple, the astringency was nice, and it had a long taste and was well-balanced.  His final comments were, “Good job!  Well done.  I would buy this.  I would drink this.”  They knew then that they were on the right track.


After the class, the Gants asked for feedback from many different people, continuing to fine-tune the cider to find the right apple/cranberry balance.  Everyone had their own opinions; some thought it was too sweet, others too tart, but most people liked it.

When they decided that they would make cider on a larger scale and try to market it, they had to get serious about commitment.  Gary got to work renovating two buildings on his 7 acre farm, and Trevor and Mary quit their jobs to move up to Bandon and work on cider full time.

Their hard work has paid off in spades.  The cider has only been on the market for a couple of weeks now, but it has been received extremely well among the locals and visitors.  People from all over were able to try it at the Cranberry Festival and at Cycle Oregon.  A couple thousand cyclists (who also tend to be drinkers) from all over the country participate in Cycle Oregon, so Bandon Rain got a fair bit of exposure from that one event.  A wine-maker in Dundee, Oregon in the heart of the Willamette Valley wine country was very interested in their fermenting process, and a couple from England who were particularly taken with the cider said, “It’s great to see the United States starting to learn about cider.”


The Gants seem to have found the ideal cranberry-apple balance they were looking for, but there is still much to learn and work to be done to continue to progress in the industry.  They are selling the cider locally on tap and in kegs now, focusing on getting the word out there, but they have an eye to the future.  If they choose to bottle the cider to sell in stores, they will need to decide between pasteurizing and filtering.  Filtering the cider would change the nature of the fine product they created, and pasteurizing can be expensive and complicated.


The fermenting family members are starting to find their niches in the cider production.  Gary explains that there are a lot of moving parts to keep track of.  He finds himself ordering small yet important and very specific parts online, storing steel tanks in his truck, and wandering around the hardware store looking for just the right food-grade fitting that won’t disintegrate in the acidic cider.

One of the most important parts in the cider process is starting with the right fruit.  Although the Gants’ property has a good selection of apple trees, they won’t be enough to keep up with the market’s demands.  Bandon Rain cider is made of a blend of juice from a variety of Northwest apples.

bandon-rain-pullThere’s no question that the economy has shifted in Bandon.  A town that was once dominated by fishing and timber with some cranberries and cheese thrown in there now largely revolves around tourism and golf.  I, for one, am extremely happy and excited to see the injection of a new industry that people will come to associate with our small coastal town: cranberry-apple hard cider by the name of Bandon Rain.

To sample Bandon Rain cider, head to the Beverage Barn on the corner of 12th St. and Highway 101.  Bring a growler; you’ll want to fill it up after tasting this cider!

To keep up with the latest about Bandon Rain Cider Company, follow them on Facebook, and visit their website.

Face Rock Creamery 3rd Anniversary Party

This Mother’s Day weekend, Face Rock Creamery celebrated its third anniversary with music, dancing, burgers, hot dogs, panini, local beers, ice cream, and of course, some of the best cheese around.  Several area wineries came with wine to sample, and live music included the local band Done Deal and the very talented Bandon High School jazz band.  The Oregon Coast Culinary Institute brought beautiful samples of decadent combinations of creamy cheese, creamy chocolate and craft beers.


With the third anniversary of the Face Rock Creamery’s opening also came the release of the Face Rock three-year aged cheddar.  This white cheddar is delightfully sharp and delicious and well worth the wait!


In addition to the music and food, there were activities that everyone could enjoy.  Booths included cotton candy, face painting, and a balloon artist, and Mother’s Day massages were available.



The event was combined with a fun fundraiser for the Bandon Swimming Pool whose mission it is to build and maintain an indoor pool for the south coast of Oregon for recreation, safety, therapy, competition, and promote tourism..  Going with the aquatic theme, a dunk tank was set up advertising one throw for $1, and three throws for $2.  Sarah Sinko, wife of Brad Sinko, head cheesemaker at the Face Rock Creamery, was first in the tank and taunted guests to encourage them to try to dunk her.


Face Rock Creamery is the continuation of a long-standing cheese history in Bandon.  Head cheesemaker Brad Sinko who made cheese for the Bandon Cheese Factory before its closing in 2000 has created award-winning cheeses that can be found in many western states.  The anniversary party keeps getting better and better; with their many awards and acknowledgements, Face Rock Creamery has much to celebrate.  Anyone who enjoys cheese hopes that there are many many more anniversaries to come.


Meet Peter Braun at Cobblers Bench

One of the oldest continuously running businesses in Bandon, Peter Braun’s Cobblers Bench has been a fixture in Old Town since 1979.  And, like many local businesses, it was passed down from an older generation.


Peter’s father Wolf, a leatherworker, opened The Cobblers Bench in 1979 after having visited a friend in Bandon and deciding it would be home.  He set up shop next to what is now the Bandon Coffee Café but was forced to move out when the shop burned.  After the fire, Wolf was cleaning things out of what remained of the building, and seeing his boot jack on the sidewalk, a man walking by asked if Wolf could fix his boot.  Wolf asked the passer-by to come back when he had his shop reestablished, but quickly changed his mind and called him back, telling him he would go ahead and fix the boot.  He must have earned some good karma with his offer; as it turned out, the man was a Mason and told Wolf that one of the shops in the Masonic Hall building was for rent.  Shortly after, The Cobblers Bench opened again in the current location of the Spirit of Oregon shop, added retail clothing items, and then moved to its current location on the corner.


As a kid and even a younger man, Peter had neither dreams nor plans of someday taking over his father’s business.  He spent most of his childhood in Marcola, a small town east of Eugene, before moving to Bandon for his senior year of high school.  In college, he studied theater and then enrolled in film school in Portland.  After graduating, Peter worked in the film business for more than 10 years in Oregon and California, working on projects that lasted 6-8 weeks.


It was during a quiet time between projects in 2003 that Wolf asked Peter to come to Bandon to take a role in a play he was directing.  Peter took him up on this offer as well as his offer to work in the shop during the days.  He had never attempted shoe repair, but, as he said, “shoe repair isn’t brain surgery.”


After the play closed, Peter began a more frequent back-and-forth schedule between Portland and Bandon.  He would come to Bandon for a week to help in The Cobblers Bench doing the shoe repairs for his dad, then return to the Rose City to do a film job.  He kept this up for a couple of years until Wolf decided to start his gradual retirement to Hawaii where he had bought land.  Over time, Peter’s responsibilities at the shop increased to where he was essentially in charge, doing the buying and making many of the decisions.


When Wolf moved to Hawaii for good in 2007, Peter took over completely, taking on a fair bit of debt along with the business.  The stock market crashed just a year later, putting the store in even greater danger.  Though without formal business training, Peter had a great deal of good business sense and was able to keep the store open by liquidating much of the old merchandise and bringing in new lines of clothing and shoes to the shop, focusing more on outdoor wear than the women’s boutique clothing it had been previously.  The Cobblers Bench is now solidly out of debt and has been transformed into one of the cornerstones of Old Town.


Peter Braun puts his energy into more than just the success of The Cobblers Bench; he spends a great deal of that energy helping Bandon become “the crown jewel of the south coast.”  He started his term on the Bandon City Council in January of 2015, is president of the Chamber of Commerce, and works with the Greater Bandon Association.  His intentions with his work with these groups as well as with his membership with the Masonic Lodge is to try to represent the people of the city, and to help Bandon improve and put its best foot forward.


When asked if he plans to stick around Bandon, Peter replied, “Oh, I’m not going anywhere.”  His dad and twin brother tried to get him to come to Hawaii with them, but he has no desire to leave. “We live in the most amazing place in the world,” he said.  With his help, there’s no doubt it will only become more amazing.

old town street

Senator Jeff Merkley’s Town Hall in Bandon

IMG_2549Every year, U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley commits to visiting each of Oregon’s 36 counties and holding a Town Hall.  Bandon was honored to host this year’s Coos County’s Town Hall on Wednesday where about 140 community members came to ask Senator Merkley questions and give him feedback on important local issues to take back to Washington D.C.

After a welcome by Bandon School District superintendent Diane Buche and the Pledge of Allegiance led by a Harbor Lights Middle School student, Bandon’s City Council president Claudine Hundhausen introduced Senator Jeff Merkley, a native Oregonian whose family was involved in the timber industry.  The senator then took the microphone and wasted no time acknowledging local greatness: the number of high school students in the room, the elected community leaders, and Leslie Clarke who represented Bandon’s ASPIRE program which helps high school students explore options and prepare for their lives after high school.

Senator Jeff Merkley took a few minutes to update the group on some issues facing Washington DC right now, all with short timelines: the quickly dwindling Highway Trust Fund, soon-to-expire sections of the Patriot Act including legislation regarding collection of phone records, and the recent adoption (and his concerns about) by the Senate of the Fast Track legislation which would pave the way for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).  He received rather enthusiastic applause from many folks when he mentioned his “no” vote on Fast Track.

Despite Merkley’s passionate feelings about Fast Track and the TPP and his willingness to discuss them further, the audience did not even approach issues regarding trade.  Questions did cover local and national issues including the protection of the local cranberry industry, veterans’ benefits, Oregon’s high school dropout rate, fracking, big banks, corporations and lobbyists, and abortion.

Senator Jeff Merkley addressed each question respectfully, obviously aware that the questions wouldn’t be posed if they weren’t important to the community.  Without dodging or doublespeak, he answered each question directly and as fully as he was able to.  He spoke remarkably easily and off the top of his head about nearly every issue raised, and when he was unfamiliar with a topic, such as some specifics about the cranberry market, he committed to following up and learning more.

Andrew P., a Bandon High School junior, asked the senator a question relevant to many Bandon residents.  He asked about action that has been or can be taken to protect local cranberry farmers from an oversupply of cranberries and lowered prices as well as whether or not the senator has considered giving incentives to big companies such as Ocean Spray to purchase local cranberries instead of purchasing berries from international markets.  After opening it up to any potential cranberry experts in the room, Jeff Merkley referenced action he took in response to the community’s earlier request to have the state buy local cranberries for the school lunch program.  He mentioned that he and others are promoting local products internationally, and assured the audience that with the help of his field representative, he will follow up and learn more about what he can do to protect local growers.

Bandon High School senior Rose G. brought up articles she has read about Oregon having the highest high school dropout rate in the country and asked the senator what he is doing in Oregon and in Washington DC about this issue.  Merkley said that when he has talked to educators across the state, their explanation for the high rate is a lack of funding.  He explained that in Oregon, funding for education has shifted from property tax to the state which causes a yearly or every-other-year battle and acknowledged that Title I and Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) are underfunded.  To illustrate this point, Diane Bouche reported that Bandon schools just lost another $10,000 in Title I funding.  Positing another possible explanation, Merkley said that he has been told a number of times that interestingly, Oregon has some of the highest graduation standards in the country, so it is simply more difficult to get a high school diploma than in other states.

Senator Jeff Merkley took the opportunity to segue into another issue about which is he obviously passionate.  Underfunding of education, he said, is partially a result of national decisions and not about the wealth of our country.  Although we as a nation are wealthier than we were 30 years ago, he explained, our class sizes are larger, college is more expensive, and Pell Grants have diminished in relation to the cost of tuition.  If only 1/3 of the $120 billion a year spent on the war in Afghanistan, a war, he explained, where the strategy went “way off track,” it would have made a huge difference.  Merkely is continuing to look ahead to try to prevent what he sees as future mistakes.  He is co-sponsoring the SANE (Smarter Approach to Nuclear Expenditures) Act which would update defense spending and prevent $1 trillion being spent on nuclear weapons.  The savings would translate directly into increased funding for education.

About 40 of the Town Hall attendees were Bandon High School students who had obviously spent a great deal of time preparing for the event, studying the issues and formulating thoughtful questions to ask the senator.  Their preparation paid off; the students asked relevant questions that spanned local and national issues, and they were praised by Senator Merkley.  Beaming, he told them they had done the best job of any high school groups he’s seen with their ready and detailed questions.

For more information on the issues that Senator Jeff Merkley is working on both in Oregon and in Washington D.C., go to



Face Rock’s Anniversary Party


Friday, May 8th marked the 2nd anniversary of the opening of Bandon’s Face Rock Creamery. People still remember feeling excited and optimistic for the town and, in particular, for cheese, when plans for the creamery in the old cheese factory’s location were announced.  It was, for some, a renewal of an old important part of Bandon that seemed like it might have died forever.  To celebrate this important and momentous occasion, Face Rock Creamery threw itself a birthday party Mother’s Day weekend.


The anniversary party was in full swing on Saturday even before its projected start time of noon on Friday.  Folks of all ages lined up as soon as they caught the first whiff of a hot grill, eager to purchase a burger or hot dog and a microbrew from Arch Rock (Gold Beach), Hop Valley (Eugene), or 7 Devils (Coos Bay) microbrew or a soda.  After they had their goodies, some headed to the covered eating area outside while others made their way inside to escape the slightly cool temperature and breezes.

IMG_1374Inside, party goers were treated to wine tasting from local wineries, including Bandon’s own Sea Mist cranberry wines, as well as samples of Face Rock’s selection of cheeses and curds.  For the first time, the creamery had available a special extra aged cheddar cheese which has been aged for 2 years…meaning they started this particular variety when they first opened!  It is well worth the time we had to wait, believe me.


One of the most popular spots for visitors to hit was, of course, the Umpqua ice cream counter.  Children (and adults!) with very generous “child sized” ice cream cones bigger than their heads wandered about in a blissful ice cream stupor, and many made their way upstairs to enjoy an elevated perspective of the creamery and a view of the Coquille River from the eating area.


No party would be complete without music, and this one was no exception.  The music got started later in the afternoon, and celebrators mingled and moved to the tunes.

There are no two ways about it; Face Rock throws a great birthday party, and as with any birthday party, it’s clear that the honoree is well-loved when hundreds of people attend.  Bandon residents and visitors are very fond of their Face Rock cheese and always will be!

I can’t wait for next year!


Meet Brad Sinko of Face Rock Creamery

The Face Rock Creamery may be a relatively new business, but it is part of an old and integral tradition in Bandon.  Cheese has been an important part of the town’s history since the 19th century; the industry even survived two major fires in 1914 and 1936 that destroyed much of the town’s infrastructure and architecture.  The Bandon Cheese Factory on Highway 101 was erected in 1937 after the last fire and produced a variety of cheeses.  Residents and visitors enjoyed tours of the factory and its products for many years.


In 2000, the Bandon Cheese Factory was bought by Tillamook, and a few years later, the factory was closed and then destroyed.  Residents mourned its loss, and it looked like Bandon cheese might be gone for good.  In 2011, however, the urban renewal agency of Bandon purchased some of the land previously occupied by the old factory, and plans for the return of cheese were put in place.  A partnership between the city and private investors formed, and Face Rock Creamery was born.


Of course a good cheese company needs a good cheese maker.  Enter Brad Sinko.  Or rather, reenter Brad Sinko.  Born in Oregon and raised mainly in California, Brad attended university at the University of Nebraska, following his father, Joe Sinko, who had opened an ice cream plant in Omaha.  After finishing school at Oregon State University with a degree in fishery science and a minor in microbiology, Brad came to Bandon where his parents were living, and after some time working for the Forest Service and doing some consulting for a fish biologist, he agreed to help his dad for a few days who, at the time owned the Bandon Cheese Factory.  Brad had no idea how quickly he would get hooked, and he eventually ran the place himself.

When Tillamook bought the factory, Brad stayed on and ran it for them for a couple of years, but soon left.  He was doing some consulting in Guatamala when Kurt Beecher Dammeier of Beecher’s Cheeses in Seattle contacted him and invited Brad to work for him as the head cheesemaker.  Brad was flown to Seattle from Guatamala to meet with them and knew it was a done deal the minute he walked in the door.  He was quickly hired and set to designing their
floors and organizing all of the complicated equipment (which he later did at Beecher’s location in New York City as well).  He invented their Flagship cheese, a very specialized cheddar made with a unique culture and process, and won several national awards while there.vampire slayer banner

In the meantime, Greg Drobot came to and fell in love with our fair town of Bandon and decided to revive Bandon’s cheese tradition by opening the Face Rock Creamery.  Naturally, he consulted with Joe Sinko.  Joe encouraged Greg to make Brad an offer to bring him back to Bandon.  Greg was skeptical that Brad would come but made the offer, and Brad, seeing the opportunity to be back in Bandon among family, work with someone like Greg who was excited and interested in the cheesemaking, and be part of an exciting startup where he would have freedom to invent creative artisan cheeses, took it.  He came down with his wife Sarah and their son Max and made Bandon their home.  Together, Brad, Greg, and vice president Daniel Graham opened the doors of the Face Rock Creamery in the spring of 2013.

The Face Rock Creamery was built on the site of the old Bandon Cheese Factory, and Bandon residents were ecstatic to see the rebirth of Bandon cheese.  “It was a godsend,” Brad says.  “You could see a new little skip in people’s steps around here.”

Greg, Daniel, and Brad work exceptionally well together.  At Beechers, Brad saw the owner on the floor only once in ten years.  Greg, however, is often on the floor and has helped make cheese on several occasions.  He and Daniel had a steep learning curve, learning a great deal about cheese making in a short period of time.IMG_1351

As a result of this dynamic team, an incredibly talented master cheese maker, a caring cheese making team, and the support of the community, Face Rock Creamery has had a very successful first 21 months.  In their first year, the Creamery won an award for their Vampire Slayer garlic cheddar cheese, and in the second for the In Your Face curds.  They produced 250,000 pounds of cheese in the first year, over double what Beechers produced in their first year.  They are in 900 stores in five states, and there are courses taught at Utah State University on the adjunct culture addition to cheddars that Brad pioneered.

Brad is very proud of the local sourcing and “ultimate recycling” that happens with his cheese making.  Good cheese has to come from good milk, and he found that at one of the few remaining dairies in Coquille.  Having worked with dairy products for much of his life, he has seen the conditions of many huge dairy operations and has been appalled, so he was happy to find a local dairy with truly happy cows.  After as much whey as possible has been removed from the curds, it goes on a truck and returns to the dairy and fed back to the cows.

IMG_1389Visitors invited onto the floor are in for a treat, as long as they don’t mind signing in, donning a hairnet, and stepping through sanitizing foam on the floor as they walk in, food safety being number one at the Face Rock Creamery.  From the raw milk tank to the all-important pasteurizer, all of the machines used in the process are carefully designed and chosen to make a safe and quality product, and the team making the cheese work together carefully and efficiently.  The large windows from the retail store onto the cheese making floor encourage visitors to observe the process, and it’s an experience everyone should have at some point in their lives.

In the retail side of the Creamery, visitors can enjoy a variety of treats while watching the team make Face Rock cheese.  There are samples galore of cheese and curds, a beer and wine bar where staff can suggest cheese pairing, and Umpqua ice cream being scooped with a “child sized” cone large enough to make any child’s (or adult’s, for that matter) eyes pop.  A large selection of Face Rock Creamery cheeses is available for purchase as well as local products such as jams and cranberry wine, glassware, apparel, kitchen accessories and gifts.  Up the stairs, above the shop, is a lovely view of the Coquille River, the lighthouse and the jetty.IMG_1375

The Creamery’s amazing cheeses include 10 flavors of cheddar (including the award winning “Vampire Slayer”), curds, fromage blanc, and Monterey Jack.  The cheese is also available in several retail locations including Fred Meyer, New Seasons, Market of Choice and Safeway as well as dozens of independent stores, markets and restaurants.  You can also find them at the local markets in Bandon as well as the Eugene Saturday Market and the Coos Bay Farmers’ Market, and they also offer their products at the Cape Blanco Music Festival and other special events.  Products are also available online.

IMG_1374Brad Sinko, Greg Drobot, and Daniel Graham are the dynamic team that brought cheese back to Bandon and make Face Rock Creamery happen, and they have much to be proud of.  It’s not alchemy nor magic that changes raw milk to delicious cheddar, Monterey Jack, curds and fromage blanc, it’s the quality of the milk, the precision of the machines, attention to food safety, and the talent of the humans that brings us the cheese we so quickly fall in love with.

face rock creamery2The details:
Face Rock Creamery
Open daily 9 – 6
680 2nd Street
541.347.3223   OR   541.347.FACE
Find them on Facebook!



Marketing Your Vacation Home

After much thought and planning, you have decided to purchase a vacation rental home, you carefully chose the home, and you furnished it with all the necessary amenities.  You are finally ready to have future guests calling and filling up your calendar.  The next step in keeping your home filled with happy visitors and you with a happy balance is to market it to attract as many bookings as possible.

IMG_1329First, consider whether or not to employ a property manager.  A good property management company’s main responsibility is to get bookings for your home.  They advertise the home, manage calls and emails of interested guests, and keep an accurate calendar to avoid double booking.  They can be well worth the money you pay them.  Look at the websites of the available companies and put yourself in the shoes of renters.  Ask yourself, “Do the homes look attractive?”  “Is the information easy to access?”  “Is it possible to book online?”  Also look at how booked the homes are, and if possible, look through booking history to see if the homes get renters during the slow season as well as the busy season.  Interview them as well to find out just what they will do for you for their monthly or yearly fee.

Online vacation home sites are very popular as well and can save you money if you are willing and able to quickly respond to calls and emails of people wanting to book your home.  People have found that if they old town streetdo not respond right away, they will call another owner, and you will miss their business.  Using these sites also requires organization to keep a calendar and follow up on deposit payments.  Sites like VRBO, HomeAway, and Airbnb cost $300-$800 a year to sign up, but many vacationers use them exclusively when planning their vacations.

Networking with neighbors can increase your bookings.  Oftentimes, guests are traveling with other families or a large group of friends and find themselves in need of more than one home.  If you are in a neighborhood or complex with several vacation rentals, talk and IMG_5121coordinate with your neighbors, and help each other with bookings in each other’s homes.

Vacationers often travel at the same time each year and/or return to the same spot.  Use that information, and offer them a discounted rate if they would like to come back and stay again.

You may consider having a vacation rental blog to help you market your property online.  In a blog, you can post updated pictures and/or videos of your property – both to give visitors an idea of what it looks like, but also of special amenities such as a trail to the beach, sunset views, and updates to your home.  It is also a place you can write about local attractions and events to give potential visitors an idea of what they can do on their vacation.  Get out there in the community yourself and take pictures of shops, trails, restaurants and rivers as IMG_0475well as events such as the town Fourth of July parade or Christmas tree lighting.  To help convince potential renters that renting your home is a good idea, you can include a section about the advantages of renting a home over a hotel room.  Finally, include a Frequently Asked Questions page to address things like parking, cleaning fees, and refund and pet policies.  Through your blog, you can direct traffic to your vacation rental listing if it is listed with a property manager.

Marketing your vacation home properly does take some time and energy.  However, it will lead to increased bookings and the kind of momentum needed to keep your property rented throughout the year.



Get to Know the Bandon Playhouse

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From “Anything Goes” to “South Pacific” to “Steel Magnolias” to “Grease,” the Bandon Playhouse has been entertaining audiences with a wide variety of dramas, comedies, variety shows and musicals for nearly 40 years.

I recently had the pleasure of talking with Ron and Kathie Lecce.  Ron is the president of the Bandon Playhouse board, and his wife Kathie is a board patsy3member as well.  They made their way from California via the Medford area, and when Kathie, who has a theater degree, was hired as the new postmaster in Coos Bay, they began looking for a small town to finish raising their kids.  They decided on Bandon as their home base and feel fortunate to have much of their family still in town and in the area.

The Bandon Playhouse is an integral part of the Bandon community, and there’s much more to running a theatre than one might think!  Ron and Kathie were happy to share with me the history and goals of the Bandon Playhouse as well as its strategies, structure, successes, struggles, and future plans.

On July 26, 1976, some local theater-types, including Sharon Hennick, Tosca Means, and Alice Stadelman got together and decided that Bandon needed a community theater.  Their simple goal was to give live entertainment to the people of Bandon, and within just one year, their first production “Picnic” was on stage in Bandon High School’s cafeteria, regardless of its lacking sound and lighting systems.  Working for many years without a facility of its own, the Playhouse used the high school and then Ocean Crest Elementary School for its shows until they began working with the Lion’s Club on a facility project.  They put their creative and motivated heads together, and the idea for the Sprague Theater was

The Lion’s Club began raising money for a building project, and the design phase began in November, 1996.  Many businesses and individuals in the community stepped up and donated funds, materials and skills for a new theater.  Cardas Audio was a major contributor, not only donating money, but playing an integral role in the planning phase, making design recommendations for maximum amplification of the sound.  The seats were donated by Coquille’s Sawdust Theater which was undergoing renovations, and the seats were then “sold” to donors.  Today one can see name plates commemorating those donors on the back of each seat, and inside the lobby is some beautiful wall art in the shape of a tree, each leaf inscribed with the name of an individual or businesses who donated money to the building of the theater.

beauty & beast 2The creation of the Sprague Theater was truly a community effort.  Beaming just a bit, Ron said, “You could actually call it ‘grass roots’ theater.”

The original plan for the Sprague was for it to be a true community theater, to be used not only for the Bandon Playhouse productions but for other groups as well.  Today, it is also used regularly by the MarLo Dance Studio, New Artists Productions, the Bandon School District, and the Bandon Showcase, and it


is available for groups to rent for large events such as weddings and conventions.

With a building to call home, the Bandon Playhouse continued its goal of providing quality live entertainment to the community.  Early on, they realized they needed to appeal to the diverse interests of the town’s residents and visitors, so they decided to do a variety of productions each year, typically a comedy or drama in February, a comedy or drama in June, a musical in August, and a Christmas production every other year in & beast

For many years now, the Playhouse has kept a fairly regular performance schedule, putting on 3-4 productions a year, but it has had its share of struggles.  For a variety of reasons, they have had to cancel a couple of productions. “It hurts,” Kathie said, “but you have to just try to get on.”  It is also difficult at times to find directors for the productions they’d like to do, and they have had people come up from Coos Bay and even Portland on a couple of occasions to direct.  Although it is very rewarding and well worth it, directing is a big job and is a time commitment.

Putting on a play is a true team effort, and there are many different and very important people involved.  An audience is typically focused on the actors, and many are aware of the presence of the director’s artistic vision, but few think about the incredible work that goes on behind the scenes.  A stage manager alerts waiting actors to the approaching curtain and organizes props, set builders carefully construct scenery, crews tear down the set at the end of each run, and seamstresses carefully alter costumes to fit the actors.  People are also needed to serve as ushers, to run the snack bar, and to be front of the house manager of the night and make sure that all goes well in the lobby.

Businesses in the community give a great deal of help to the theater as well.  Many buy ad space in a play’s program, and others sponsor individual productions.  It has been an important way for businesses to be involved in the greater community and for the theater to get critical financial support.

Everyone is encouraged to get involved in the theater in whatever role they feel comfortable.  When a director is ready to get a production going, the Playhouse puts notices in “The World”, the Coffee Break, and the “Bandon Western World” to call for actors and other volunteers.  Ron encourages everyone to consider how they might get involved.  “The best thing we can tell people is, ‘if you think you’d like it, come out and try it!’”  In an effort to bring in directors, the members of the Playhouse community are happy to support anyone who has an interest in directing, even though they may not have experience.

Becoming a general member of the Playhouse for a $5 annual fee is another way for people to get involved.  Members can attend the meetings on the first bethlehemThursday of each month and give their feedback, suggestions, and input to the board, and membership is a requirement for involvement in a production.  Experience in theater is not a requirement for membership, just an interest in the theater and its success, and the board is always happy for “new blood” to join.  Board members are elected from this group annually.

The Playhouse is looking forward to an exciting future, and they have their 2015 season set and ready to go.  Their first production will be a reader’s theater in June.  A reader’s theater feels somewhat like a radio program where the talented cast, typically small, works without a director and rehearses only a few times before the performance.  They sit with the scripts and read their parts, the audience’s imagination filling in the scenery and action.  In August, the Playhouse is looking forward to putting on the fun musical “Spitfire Grill” with a cast of 6, and in December, they will bring back “Bethlehem Road,” written by Bandon resident Neil Davis.  Since its first run in 2007, Davis has added to and refined the Christmas-themed musical, and we will see a couple new numbers this year.

The Bandon Playhouse has kept its goal to produce diverse shows, and its productions have always been high quality.  They’re all very proud of the work they’ve done, from popular musicals such as “Grease” to entertaining comedies like “Lend Me a Tenor” to lesser known yet thought-provoking dramas such as “The Trip to Bountiful.”  As a non-profit organization, all the money made from ticket sales goes back into the theater.  Not all productions net the same kind of return, however.  The well-attended musicals support the others that don’t see the same kind of ticket sales.

Adult ticket prices range from $12-$15 depending on the type of show, a bargain compared to other community theaters.  “It’s definitely not a money-making operation!” Ron emphasized.

Making money is not the goal of the Playhouse, however.  Their goal is to encourage performing arts and bring live entertainment to the people of and visitors to the Bandon community, and with the hard work of the board; the talent of the directors, actors, and backstage crew; and the support of the community, they’re doing just that.