Corn dogs run in the family

From the East Oregonian
November 5, 2005
Article by Allison Cox
Photos by E.J. Harris

Familiar food stand makes 37th appearance

Bernard Lind with Linds Concessions in PendletonPENDLETON - While he doesn't live in the area, Bernard Lind, of Cowiche, Wash., is committed to the people of Pendleton and the surrounding communities.

His commitment is demonstrated each year when he braves the cold and brings his corn dog stand to the parking lot of Rite Aid.

"Dad started to corn dog business in 1949," Lind said of his father, Frances, who passed away in 2004. "This is our 37th year here in Pendleton."

Lind, the only son of Francis Lind and his wife, Dolores Lind, who still lives in Umatilla, said when he's gone, the tradition may die with him.

Bernard Lind the Corn Dog ManThat's why he has the same dream his father had - to market the corn dog mix to customers nationwide.

"You sit here for a month and you hear 50 times a day that people only eat corn dogs once a year, and it's ours," Lind said. "My hope some day is for Pendleton to not only be known for the Round-Up but for the corn dog mix that's known all over the United States."

"We get quite a few questions from customers who come here and want to know when he's coming," said Rite Aid Manager, John Bieker. "They look forward to it."

Bieker, who has worked at Rite Aid for nine years, said that although he doesn't usually eat corn dogs, the ones offered by Lind "sure taste good."

Lind comes to Pendleton during Round-Up, but said that is a different crowd.

We'll do well at the Round-Up, but it would take four seasons to sell as many corn dogs as we sell here at Rite Aid in one season," Lind said. "The crowd here, only about 20 percent of them, go to the Round-Up. If you told my crowd here that the foot-longs go for $4 at the Round-Up they'd probably pass out."

It's all about volume, according to Lind, and the volume during the holiday season is good enough to keep things going.

"I haven't changed the price," Lind said of holiday sales. "It's the same as when dad retired. I think it's been the same price for 14 years."

Lind said he misses his father, even after two years. He's concerned that, as his father's only son and with no children of his own, the tradition of the corn dog stand will die with him, leaving the masses gourmet corn-dogless.

"People don't realize," said Lind's mother, a retired Umatilla school teacher. "They're all hand-dipped. There's nothing like them anywhere."

"I won't be here forever," Lind said of the future of the stand. "It would be nice to be able to sell the mix, packaged with the history on the back, to people in the grocery store."

But that's expensive and complicated. For now, he mixes up 250 pound batches of dry mix, which he goes through in two days. He said he gets orders en masse from organizations including schools and the courthouse, and days in the stand can turn into 12-hour marathons.

"When it turns into a real winter, 10 below, the river freezes, we're still open, "Lind said. "This trailer's wide open, you've really got to be devoted. People who don't eat corn dogs look at you like your crazy, but you've got to be open."

Now that's commitment.

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