The daily Astorian. (Astoria, Or.) 1961-current, January 19, 2018, WEEKEND EDITION, Page 3A, Image 3

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Ace Hardware buys Dennis Co., a peninsula staple
Kansas-based Ace subsidiary will keep Dennis name, staff, product lines
EO Media Group
Dennis Co. has been sold to
a Kansas-based subsidiary of
the Ace Hardware Corp. in a
transaction that will become
final in March.
Run by the Dennis fam-
ily since 1905, the local
company owns five stores
in Long Beach, Raymond,
Aberdeen, Montesano and
Elma. In recent years, it has
been operated by brothers
Brent and Randy Dennis,
while their father, Gary, led
the firm in the latter part of
the 20th century.
Brent Dennis said the sale
is close to a best-case scenario
for the company’s 85 employ-
ees and thousands of custom-
ers, who will see continuity
in local management, product
lines and community engage-
ment. Even the name will
remain nearly the same, with
only the addition of “Ace” to
mark a closer affiliation with
the giant supplier, from which
Dennis Co. already obtains
much of its merchandise.
The purchaser is techni-
cally Westlake Ace Hard-
ware, based in Lenexa, Kan-
sas, with stores also located
in Illinois, Iowa, Missouri,
Nebraska, North Carolina,
Oklahoma, Texas and New
Mexico. In 2012, Westlake
was acquired by Ace Retail
Holdings, which in turn
is a division of Ace Hard-
ware Corp. The Dennis Co.
stores will be Westlake’s first
locations on the West Coast.
Matt Winters/EO Media Group
Dennis Co., which has five branches including this one in Long Beach, has been sold to
a Kansas-based company.
The sales price has not
been disclosed. Dennis said
his family will continue to
own all the real estate associ-
ated with the five stores, leas-
ing it to Westlake.
A good fit
“Westlake’s basic core
values align right with ours
and they were very interested
in us,” Dennis said regarding
the process of finding a suit-
able purchaser for his com-
pany. “They are down-to-
earth great people with strong
Word of a sale had been cir-
Blame game starts
as government
shutdown looms
Associated Press
terly divided Washington,
D.C., hurtled toward a gov-
ernment shutdown today in
a partisan stare-down over
demands by Democrats for a
solution on politically fraught
legislation to protect about
700,000 younger immigrants
from being deported.
Republicans and Dem-
ocrats in Congress and the
White House traded blame for
the increasingly likely shut-
down with just hours remain-
ing before the midnight
deadline and few signs an
agreement would be reached.
Democrats in the Senate
have served notice they will
filibuster a four-week, gov-
ernmentwide funding bill that
cleared the House Thursday
evening. That could expose
them to charges that they are
responsible for a shutdown,
but they point the finger at
Republicans instead.
“They’re in charge,” Sen-
ate Minority Leader Chuck
Schumer, D-N.Y., said today
as he entered his Capitol
office. “They’re not talking to
us. They’re totally paralyzed
and inept. There’s no one to
negotiate with.”
Republicans controlling
the narrowly split chamber
argue that it’s the Democrats
who are holding the govern-
ment hostage over demands to
protect “dreamer” immigrants
brought to the country as chil-
dren and now here illegally.
And the White House piled
on, trying to paint the impend-
ing action as the “Schumer
shutdown.” Still, officials said
the president has been working
the phones trying to avert one.
As a shutdown loomed, the
White House said that Pres-
ident Donald Trump would
not leave for a planned week-
end trip to Florida. The pres-
ident had been set to leave
this afternoon to celebrate
the one-year anniversary of
his inauguration at his Palm
Beach estate.
The impact of the poten-
tial shutdown on the planned
trip by Trump and much of
his Cabinet to the World Eco-
nomic Forum in Davos, Swit-
zerland, next week was still
Trump entered the fray
early this morning, mention-
ing the House-approved bill
on Twitter, adding: “Demo-
crats are needed if it is to pass
in the Senate — but they want
illegal immigration and weak
borders. Shutdown coming?
We need more Republican
victories in 2018!”
Trump has given Congress
until March 5 to save the
Obama-era Deferred Action
for Childhood Arrivals pro-
gram protecting young immi-
grants, so “there is absolutely
no reason to tie those things
together right now,” Budget
Director Mick Mulvaney said
at the White House.
On Capitol Hill, Senate
Majority Leader Mitch McCo-
nnell, R-Ky., said he hoped to
vote on the House-passed bill
“soon,” and he said Ameri-
cans at home would be watch-
ing to see “which senators
make the patriotic decision”
and which “vote to shove
aside veterans, military fam-
ilies and vulnerable children
to hold the entire country hos-
tage … until we pass an immi-
gration bill.”
In the House, Republicans
muscled the measure through
on a mostly party-line 230-
197 vote after making modest
concessions to chamber con-
servatives and defense hawks.
The chamber backed away
from a plan to adjourn for a
one-week recess this after-
noon, meaning the GOP-con-
trolled House could wait to
see if a last-minute compro-
mise would be reached requir-
ing a new vote.
A test vote on a filibus-
ter by Senate Democrats
appeared likely before the
shutdown deadline. Schumer
was rebuffed in an attempt to
vote Thursday night.
“We can’t keep kicking
the can down the road,” said
Schumer, insisting on more
urgency in talks on immigra-
tion. “In another month, we’ll
be right back here, at this
moment, with the same web
of problems at our feet, in no
better position to solve them.”
The short-term measure
would be the fourth stopgap
spending bill since the cur-
rent budget year started in
October. A pile of unfinished
Capitol Hill business has been
on hold, first as Republicans
ironed out last fall’s tax bill
and now as Democrats insist
on progress on immigration.
culating in Pacific County for
several months, after the Den-
nises concluded the next gen-
eration of family members
wasn’t interested in active
involvement in retail sales
on the coast. Both Brent and
Randy Dennis are of retire-
ment age. Their four children
— two for each brother — are
pursuing other interests and
succession planning necessi-
tated finding a buyer.
Discussions with Westlake,
which coincidentally was also
founded in 1905, reassured the
Dennis family that Westlake
recognizes the strengths of the
local firm.
“Dennis Co. is being
treated differently than most
of their acquisitions,” Dennis
said. In part because of geo-
graphical distance from Kan-
sas and different seasonal pat-
terns between here and the
Midwest, Westlake is leav-
ing Dennis Co.’s internal sys-
tems intact, with the expecta-
tion that the Washington state
stores will continue to pur-
chase and sell a variety of
unique product lines. Westlake
will serve Dennis Co.’s exist-
ing charge accounts, and will
be adding a rewards program.
Employees will remain in their
current positions, and West-
lake provides “great benefits,”
Dennis said.
The Dennis family has
played key roles in Pacific
County. For example they led
the revival of the Long Beach
Razor Clam Festival and
host the annual Shop With
A Cop events at Christmas-
time. Dennis said he expects
all that to continue under
“We are excited to wel-
come the Dennis Co. into the
Westlake family, expand our
relationship within the com-
munities they serve and con-
tinue their proud tradition of
outstanding customer service,”
Westlake president and CEO
Joe Jeffries said in a press
On its website, West-
lake said without reference to
this specific acquisition that
“While the merchandise may
have changed, along with store
locations and size, the com-
mitment to be the best neigh-
borhood hardware store in the
market remains. This commit-
ment is what has kept West-
lake strong for its first cen-
tury of service — and will
keep us growing into our next
Brent and Randy Dennis
both plan to retire. Brent Den-
nis’ children — a teacher and
an accountant — live out of
state and he eventually expects
to live near one of them. In
the meantime, he is maintain-
ing community activities such
as a volunteer position with
the Red Cross. Randy Dennis
recently remarried and now
lives in Clatsop County.
End of an era
Dennis Co. marked its cen-
tennial in business in 2005.
The Raymond-based com-
pany was founded by Stewart
Lake “Bert” Dennis in 1905
as Shepard and Dennis Trans-
fer Co.. It sold firewood, coal
and building materials. They
also offered draying, piano and
furniture moving, and black-
smithing services and served
as a general store.
The store that started in
Raymond a century ago and
expanded to Long Beach in
1933 is still one of the most
popular places to get “almost
anything.” Stewart Lake Den-
nis never imagined selling
razor clam licenses by com-
puter or having HD televisions
among the wares in his gen-
eral store. However, his origi-
nal idea of meeting the needs
of his customers continues
through today.
In 1940 the present Long
Beach location was con-
structed at Pacific and Sec-
ond Street North, including a
storage facility for beer, wine,
soda and Arden ice cream
products. The front of the 50
by 148-foot building was used
for retail sales.
In 1968 the Long Beach
Dennis Co. came of age as
a 4,800-square-foot addi-
tion was completed. In 1973
a second story was erected for
more storage and office space.
In 1986 a 3,400-square-foot
clothing retail area and second
story was added to give Dennis
Co. its present look.
Judge lets lawsuit continue against Astoria hash oil makers
The Daily Astorian
A federal judge will let a
lawsuit against two former
Astoria butane hash oil man-
ufacturers involved in an
explosion and fire move for-
ward, without a monetary
award, while they seek bank-
ruptcy protection.
An explosion and fire
ripped through the basement
of a commercial building at
Portway and Industry streets
in October 2016. Jacob Mag-
ley, a contractor working at
the site who was badly burned,
sued Higher Level Concen-
trates owners Jason Oei and
William “Chris” West in Mult-
nomah County Circuit Court,
alleging they had been con-
suming cannabis in a tech-
nique called “dabbing” while
making butane hash oil, caus-
ing an explosion. The lawsuit
seeks $8.9 million in damages.
Higher Level was fined
$5,300 by state health and
safety regulators for failing to
ventilate the building, provide
an adequate electrical system
and obtain city permits.
Magley also sued John
Danny Miller/The Daily Astorian
The legal fallout continues over an explosion and fire at
a marijuana processor in Uniontown in 2016.
Harper, an investor in local
marijuana and tobacco stores,
and his companies Under the
Bridge Cigarettes and UTB
Investments, for helping
finance the buildout of Higher
Level’s manufacturing space
and for providing the Whip-It!
Butane gas used to process
hash oil.
Harper’s attorneys have
sought to insulate Under the
Bridge from liability, arguing
that Portland company Rich &
Rhine Inc., a distributor of the
Whip-It! Butane gas provided
to Higher Level, and United
Brands Products Design
Development and Market-
ing Inc., the manufacturer, are
responsible for any defects.
West and Oei pleaded
guilty in August to felony
assault in the third degree
and misdemeanor reckless
endangerment in connec-
tion to the explosion and fire.
They received three years of
Oei and West both filed for
Chapter 13 bankruptcy in fed-
eral court in October. The fil-
ing allows individuals with a
regular income to develop a
repayment plan of their debts
and save homes from foreclo-
sure. It also stops most col-
lection actions against debtors
and their property.
Lawyers for Rich & Rhine
and United Brands filed a
motion to allow the state law-
suit to proceed during the
bankruptcy. U.S. Bankruptcy
Judge Peter McKittrick per-
mitted the lawsuit to move for-
ward with discovery and depo-
sitions of Oei and West.
“Nothing in this order is
intended to permit a money
judgment to be entered against
either Mr. West or Mr. Oei in
the state court case, in each
case, so long as the bank-
ruptcy case concerning such
debtor remains pending in this
court unless this court enters
a separate order granting such
further relief,” McKittrick
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Northwest Hardwoods • Longview, WA
Contact: John Anderson • 360-269-2500
All Rents
Electricity · Garbage · Water
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at 10:00 a.m. every Saturday
to pick up and deliver
meat for processing.
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Please call or leave message by
Friday so we know to expect you!
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2210 Main Avenue N. • Tillamook, OR • 503-842-2622
January 1st &
December 31st , 2017 ,
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See more on
1315 SE 19 th Street, Warrenton • 861 - PETS
If your baby was born
Noon to 4pm, Tues-Sat
you can submit your
newborn’s picture either
via email at:
classifieds @ dailyastorian . com
or drop by one of our offices in Astoria or
Seaside and we can scan in the photo for you.
Deadline to enter is
Thursday, January 25 th at 5 pm
Entries will be printed in The Daily Astorian
on January 31st.
*Human babies only please!*