Corn Dog Man Sets Up in New Location

From the East Oregonian
November 22, 2007

For many locals, Bernard Lind, better known locally as "the corn dog man," heralds the arrival of the holiday season. "Linds Famous Corndogs" has peddled goodies here for 34 years.

Lind is definitely not modest about his product.

"There are two things this town counts on - the Pendleton Round-Up and this stand," Lind said.

Until this year the corn dog stand could be found near the front doors of Rite Aid in Melanie Square along Southwest 20th Street in Pendleton. But this year the popular seasonal vendor has a new home in the parking lot of Wilcox,furniture, about a block away.

Lind said that's because the ownership of Quiz no's, which is near Rite Aid in Melanie Square, didn't want him there any more. Lind said he was just about ready to leave from his home, four hours from Pendleton, when Rite Aid Manager John Beiker called to say he couldn't set up in the usual location.

Lind's stand previously occupied a number of parking spaces along the front of Rite Aid, which meant that those wishing to park were diverted to spaces next to Quizno's and Jack In The Box.

Quizno's owner Andy McAnally said it was a matter of fairness, especially since it involves prime parking space which he and other businesses rent for their customers. He and the others took issue with the vendor setting up on common area space - during the busiest time of the year.

McAnally and the other businesses pay year-round rents for the space as part of a lease agreement with Melanie Square.

"We pay several thousand dollars a year," McAnally said, explaining he was not the only concerned tenant.

In addition to paying property taxes and $30,000 rent per year, McAnally said he regularly pays to clean the parking lot where Lind used to set up shop. He also said Lind would use the Quizno's Dumpster.

"To have someone come in for a month and a half - that's the biggest issue I have," McAnally said.

Lind called Melanie Square owner Neil Jones to discuss the situation.

Lind said Jones would have allowed the food stand to set up on the Court Street side of Melanie Square. But Lind refused, saying the nearest electrical outlet would be 18 feet off the ground on a power pole.

"There's no reason to do something like this," Lind'said.

The EO tried to reach Jones, but he dIdn't return calls before press time.

Lind and Beiker didn't give, Up, however. Beiker called Wilcox Furniture to see if the nearby business could allow some space for the corn dog man.

Pendleton Wilcox Store Manager Michelle Lowary called owner John Wilcox for his OK and made sure Lind's insurance was in order. No more than an hour later, Lind had his' new location.

"Wilcox came to the rescue. "They know the tradition," Lind: said.

"We wanted to make it happen," Lowary said. I Lind said the new spot has been great, where he's been 1 handling 50 to 75 customers an hour. The stand is highly visible at a major intersection and there is much less congestion in the parking lot.

Beiker said some Rite Aid customers have expressed their dissatisfaction with Lind's stand not being in its typical location, and that's something the Pendleton branch is working on.

"We would like to be able to get him back next year," Beiker said.

That's also what Twyla Michael of Pilot Rock wants to see happen. She's pretty deep fried over Lind's forced relocation.

"It's not like his little corn dog stand was going to take away any of their business," she said. "Our family waits a year for him to come, and it's not the holiday season until we see him."

Michael has even sworn to boycott any business that had a hand in making Lind move. On the other hand, some Rite Aid customers appreciate that fact that the store is more accessible without the stand taking up valuable parking spaces.

Lind said he contributes to this community while he's here. He stays in a local hotel, he's paid for a Pendleton business license, he's hired eight local students to work at the stand and he buys his supplies from local stores.

Lind agrees the new location is superb, but he would rather Jones and others had handled the situation better.

"I think the corn dog man's great," McAnally said. Responding to the threat of a Quizno's boycott, he said, "I just hope they understand that as a local businessman, it's already tough to compete."

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