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The long haul ahead


Dickey Prairie Store re-opened midsummer, now preps for winter

by: CORY MIMMS - Dooley Ham, the new proprietor of Dickey Prairie Store, in front of the shop.The winter ahead will be the decisive factor in whether or not Dickey Prairie Store, which re-opened three months ago, can sustain itself. And the store’s new proprietor, Dooley Ham, has no delusions about how difficult it will be.

“It’s going to be a tough haul the first year,” he said.

The summer months are crucial for a store like Dickey Prairie, Ham said. Molalla Corridor tourists generate a large portion of the store’s income, and because Ham opened in mid-summer he only got half of his busiest months this year.

“The timing was a little bad,” he said.

Though the timing of the re-open wasn’t ideal, it was necessary. Ham, 48, has lived in Colton since he was a child. He worked as a remodel contractor for most of his life, until the economic recession drove him out of business. For two years, he looked for work but found none.

When the opportunity to run the store presented itself, he took it.

Now, he’s hoping the local community will shop at the store so that it can sustain itself.

“We’re trying to gain back old customers,” Ham said. He offers Fathead’s Pitsmoke BBQ sandwiches and some deli foods. The store is also a drop off point for canned goods and water for the Colton Helping Hands Food Bank.

Coolers along the walls are filled with beer and soda. The shelves are about half full, but Ham is working on filling them.

Right now, every dime the store brings in goes back into inventory and overhead, Ham said.