Dunsmuir's Reinvented Residents
● By Tim Holt
By Tim Holt
THE GUY who sells fishing rods in Dunsmuir used to sell stocks and bonds in San Francisco. Down the street, the guy who’s selling nuts and bolts and kitchenware in the hardware store is a former Crocker Bank executive. And then there's the high-tech video production guy who used to play the trombone on a cruise ship.
People often reinvent themselves, take on new careers, when they move up north from the big city. It’s a chance to learn new skills, maybe even take on a new persona.
Bob Grace, the fly rod guy and former bond salesman, had no retail experience when he bought the Ted Fay Fly Shop 20 years ago. But he learned on the job, with advice from the shop’s former owner, Joe Kimsey, and “hasn’t missed a meal since.”
“I had misgivings when I moved up here. I worried about how it would all work out,” Grace says. “In hindsight, I don’t see how I could have done anything else.”
For former bank exec and current hardware store owner Ron McCloud, the move from the Bay Area was a chance for him and his wife Pat to get back to their roots. They had grown up in rural areas in western Nebraska and wanted to get back to that kind of life. They had two small children and, as Ron puts it, “wanted to get them out of the city and into a more wholesome small-town environment.”
In 1974, they moved to Dunsmuir, where there was a hardware store for sale. Ron had worked part-time in retail businesses in his college days, and with Pat working alongside him in the early years, they made a go of it.
“After we moved here from the Bay Area we never looked back,” Ron says. “Things worked out well here.” Bryce Craig, who grew up in Redding, spent nearly four years playing trombone with a band on cruise ships that sailed up and down the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, visiting ports in Nova Scotia, New York, San Diego and Seattle. To cap off that dream job, he married the band's vocalist, Ling Gepte. They’re now settled in Dunsmuir with their 5-year-old daughter, Maya Grace. Craig still plays trombone occasionally with his band, Secret Society Handshake, but his day job is running a tech company that specializes in video productions and web design.
Dunsmuir has had two mayors in recent years who’ve taken on new roles since they moved to the town. Peter Arth is a former attorney with the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission who reinvented himself as a one-man redevelopment agency in Dunsmuir. He bought up a number of neglected properties in the downtown and revamped them for housing, retail and high-tech businesses.
Dave “Big Dave” Keisler is a self-described “biker dude” from San Diego who spent nearly five years in prison. Since then he has, to say the least, rebranded himself, winning the post of Dunsmuir’s mayor for two terms and currently serving on the City Council. He's a tireless supporter of all sorts of improvement efforts in the town and is on the board of directors of the League of California Cities.
It took Dave Edmondson awhile to reinvent himself after he moved to Dunsmuir from Los Angeles more than a decade ago. After stints as a real estate appraiser and manufacturer’s sales rep, he started his own business in a small kitchen on Dunsmuir’s main street, making his "Salt and Savour" sauerkraut and selling it to stores and at farmers’ markets. After nearly five years of working 60-hour weeks, he’s finally been able to hire some part-time help.
Despite the hard work and long hours, he’s glad he made the move. “I never felt I was living up to my full potential when I was working for someone else,” he says. “I’d heard older people express regrets that they never folloxwed through on ideas they had when they were younger. I was 48 when I started the sauerkraut business, and I figured that if I didn’t take the plunge then, I’d regret it for the rest of my life.
“You know what they say about an entrepreneur: He's someone who works 60-hour weeks in order to avoid working 40-hour weeks for someone else.” •