Meet our April Business Owner of the Month, Rissa Conway. She came into owning a business by taking a huge leap of faith! She doesn't have a retail background, but a fierce passion for fashion, resale, and consignment. We think you will enjoy her story and how she came to open and own Truffle Pig Trading Company.
Conway grew up in Southern Oregon, but her Bend roots started when she was born. In the late 1970's, her father was an English teacher and COCC tennis coach. Her grandparents also lived in Bend and Conway spent much of her childhood visiting them and Bend.
"I have been visiting and shopping in Downtown Bend since I was a kid," Conway said. "I always looked forward to it!"
Conway attended film school at the University of California Santa Cruz where she met her husband, Stephen. After they graduated, they moved to Tumalo in 2013. They have since moved to the Old Farm District where they live in a farmhouse with the love of their lives, Chido, their rescue dog. Conway worked as a corporate consultant in Leadership Development where she worked with executive teams all over the country.
Fast forward to the pandemic, both Rissa and her husband's career came to a screeching halt in March 2020 when the shutdown began. All jobs they had lined up for the year were canceled indefinitely. Conway took on a job as a remote customer service person, which she says soon took the sparkle out of her.
"By May 2020, Stephen was in full support of a 'full send' on giving Truffle Pig a try. We figured at that point, there wasn't much more to lose," Conway said.
The pair dove in headfirst to create Conway's dream boutique. Conway said they became a good pair as they each took on a part of the business the other doesn't like doing.
"I'm the magician and he is the mathematician," Conway joked. "I am so happy to say that through the amazing support of the Bend community and many Downtown Bend business owners championing our shop and sending people our way, we made it through the pandemic and are coming up on three years!"
The community support is what encouraged Conway to open the boutique Downtown in the first place.
"I love contributing to our community with a consignment shop hidden in the heart of Downtown," Conway said.
Truffle Pig Trading Company has been a unique addition to Downtown.
"I think what makes the store so special is how we curate all the treasures that go on the floor," Conway said. "Bend is such an affluent community and we get so many amazing things to choose from our thousands of consignors! We get clothing brands and home goods from all around the world that you can't find to purchase anywhere else in Bend."
Many shoppers and locals have found how sustainable Truffle Pig Trading Company is for their wallets and closets. Not only is the store sustainable for shoppers, but also for the planet.
"Many people don't realize that the manufacture of clothes, shoes, belts, and accessories - otherwise known as textiles - is the second largest polluting industry in the world after oil and gas," Conway said.
Another great thing about the boutique is the staff does the digging for you! You don't have to go through endless amounts of items and clothes to find what you're looking for.
"For me, clothing can be an artistic expression and I want to share the fun, creative confidence that one can experience when they feel truly fabulous in an outfit," Conway said. "We try to create and curate a space for people to play with fashion and feel excited and inspired to be whoever they feel like being!"
So, next time you're shopping online, think about stopping by Truffle Pig Trading Company!
"Local businesses keep our community connected and encourage us to leave our house and have an in-person experience with other locals," Conway said. "I still believe that the tactile experience of getting to feel material, see the color of something not through a screen, try things on and pursue local businesses with loved ones just can't be replaced. Shopping local also helps keep money circulating in our own Bend economy, creates jobs and promotes community. I get so inspired when I see how beautifully curated all the Downtown businesses are. They stock their shops with treasures that speak to them and our Bend way of life!"
Truffle Pig Trading Co.
934 NW Gasoline Alley
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Kathy moved to Bend in 1993 after completing school at Appalachian State University in North Carolina. Her first job was at the Westside Bakery. She went on to co-found Bend Take-Out Express in 1995. After selling the business she used her counseling degree to work with dislocated workers at Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council.
Sterling arrived in Bend a few years before his future wife, Kathy. His first job was grooming at Mt. Bachelor. He later became certified in Sustainable Building while working as a general contractor. When he discovered electric conversion bike kits, he was sold! He knew that electric bikes were the future.
“We like to say we are part of the solution,” Kathy said. “We obviously can’t sell every ebike that is out (nor do we want to), but due to our reputation and experience we have access to ebikes that meet our high mark for being ahead of trends, known brands, built with premium components, safe and durable.”
Be sure to follow Bend Electric Bikes for new items coming to the store. The McCord’s tease and say they have a lot happening. “Hint: more show room, more service, more cargo, more rides!”
Kathy and Sterling have seen Bend through the decades. They have seen the city grow, change and adapt. “When we arrived the population was around 20,000 and now 30+ years later and with two nearly grown children, the small town has grown into a medium-sized city with real city elements. Now there’s traffic and cars everywhere. We also see more bike riding and walking,” Kathy said. “The one thing that hasn’t changed is how much those of us who live here, love it!”
Visit Bend Electric Bikes
869 NW Wall Street Suite #104
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Start your adventure with PaddleBoardOregon by booking a unique paddle tour around Bend and beyond. There are sunset and star-gazing paddles, date-night paddle and hammock in Drake Park or try your balance with one of the Paddle Strong Classes, which is a beautiful fusion of yoga and fitness on the paddleboard.
"Yes, that's right.. a super fun workout focused on flexibility and core strength," Skiles said.
Between 800 and 812 NW Wall Street
The Executive Director is responsible for planning, organizing, and directing the daily activities and operations of the Downtown Association. Send applications here.
• Not required but preferred, at least 2 years’ experience managing a Main Street program, economic or community development initiatives, or relevant experience.
• Not required but preferred, proven successful experience in nonprofit administration or leadership.
• Familiarity with the Main Street Approach to downtown revitalization
• Experience in one or more of the following areas: business/economic development, city/urban planning, marketing, historic preservation, community organizing, or volunteer management
• Experience and interest in fundraising; especially working with a board of directors to develop and implement successful fundraising strategies.
• Experience fostering and maintaining strong relationships with civic leaders and a variety of community stakeholders.
• Outstanding communication skills and the ability to communicate effectively with a wide variety of stakeholders.
• Experience managing and motivating volunteers.
• Strategic thinker, problem solver and community collaboration builder.
• Self‐motivated and action‐oriented.
• Strong writing skills.
• Tech‐savvy with facility in MS Office applications, Dropbox, social media, website content management, and ability to troubleshoot basic IT issues.
• Bachelor degree is preferred, though experience in program development and fundraising may be considered in lieu of a degree.
• Sense of humor
While they have had the business in downtown for the past seven years, they find the people to be their favorite part of their business. "We have the honor of working with an incredible group of successful, smart, and aring brokers," Ryan Buccola said. "To be able to show up every day and do what we love together as a team - it's awesome."
RE/MAX Key Properties
431 NW Franklin Avenue, Suite #3
While building this brother-sister business, the Davis' have a lot they have enjoyed about being part of Downtown Bend. "I love building a team and culture, and meeting so many people from all walks of life and dressing them for their everyday or their adventures," Davis said. "Finding something that makes them feel confident and beautiful, and providing a space to feel inspired to do so is what we aim to do!"
945 NW Wall Street, Suite 100
945 NW Wall Street
Since opening their shop in 2015, Bonta and the Labhart's have taken the Gelato world in Central Oregon by storm. They are ranked number one place to eat in Bend on Google, TripAdvisor, and Yelp. Jeff believes a lot of this high praise comes from their customers who love them and they love back.
"We have also worked hard by creating an amazing product nad making our own downtown Bonta Scoop Shop more of an experience than just your average ice cream shop," Labhart said. "We also love to hear the crazy stories from our customers like people asking for Bonta Gelato literally while giving birth, how it brightened their day after a surgery, or even a family from Boise who named their child Bonta after us!"
Bonta Natural Artisan Gelato
920 NW Bond Street, Suite 108
"Jeremy and I always wanted to own a business together, but weren't sure what we wanted to do! We were on vacation, Jeremy walked out and said, 'Want to bake bread with me?' and here we are," Kristi Testerman said.
Baking was something Kristi grew up with. "My mom used to bake all the time for other people," she said. "Baking is such a labor of love." It has become such a family ordeal that their kids have joined in on the fun. "My son loves slicing bread and my daughter has helped raise money for the Humane Society with our dog treats," Testerman said.
The team at Great Harvest Bread Company is a close-knit family away from home. "We've been through so much together," Testerman added. "I hope they stay around for a long time." With a supportive family at home and at work, Kristi said it makes her life fun.
Great Harvest Bread Company
835 NW Bond Street, Suite 1
Here's a list of businesses' owned by the Mikesell Family:
RSM Investments Inc.
920 NW Bond Street
Earlier this year, the store has grown. Wren & Wild expanded their location to offer a larger space for their employees and customers to find what products work best for them through hair classes and make-up tutorials. "We get such a kick out of helping our clients find the perfect skincare routine and makeup," Butera said. "It feels so good when we know we have made someone feel good about their complexion and have started a long-term relationship with us."
Wren and Wild
112 NW Minnesota Avenue