History of the Store
Just like the Valley we call home, the Mazama Country Store has an incredibly colorful and interesting history. The first record we find of its existence is detailed in “Mazama, the Past 125 Years” by local author Doug Devin. He determined the original store to have been opened by Homer and Lucille Peters in the 1920’s. Doug also notes that the first building the store was housed in was “moved about and re- cycled several times”. The building is currently located at the MVSTA trailhead parking lot, housing Merrill Kirkley’s bike shop.
The next mention of the store comes in 1939 when Wilfred “Wink” Byram bought The Mazama Store and Post Office from a Mrs. Braun for $1,200. He and his wife Gretchen had lived in the valley 10 years earlier and wanted return to be closer to her ailing mother. In his memoir “Down to the Harness Section” Wink fondly recalls his eagerness to get back to the “most beautiful valley in the state of Washington”. Wink gave his customers credit month-by-month and this is a tradition we like to keep for our regular local customers. As we all know, the United States entered WWII in December 1941. Wink found that, as the war effort increased, his business at The Mazama Store and Post Office decreased in the same proportion. He and Gretchen sold in 1944. The next notable owners were Bill and Vi Pederson who built a new store across the street from the original structure. The current Mazama Country Store still calls this location home. Bill and Vi kept the Mazama Post Office in working order and increased the size and number of buildings as the volume of business increased. One local fondly recalls the cash box and pastries they used to leave by the door when the store was closed. “That's the way we used to roll, take what you need and leave your payment!”
After a number of other owners, Jeff Sandine got hold of the business in the early ‘90's. He immediately demolished all the old buildings and built a large new store and post office. The store flourished, but the post office was short lived. According to “Mazama, the Past 125 Years” (by local author Doug Devin) “Jeff could not abide the red tape and bureaucracy that went along with running a post office and moved it out of the store after only a few months”. Today Mazama has its own zip code, but the closest thing to a post office is the store’s little red mailbox, which serves as a local mail drop.
In the mid 1990's two of Jeff’s employees, Scott Rogers and Jen Gode took over ownership of the store. Longtime local residents, they were and integral part of turning the store into the community hub it is today. Scott and Jen did a lot for the Mazama community; the larger store with increased seating capacity partnered with a new espresso machine attracted locals who began to use the store as a place to gather for socializing and community updates. Now a-days it is the place to go to get the latest news and the place to work to learn the who, what and why of the area.
In 2007, Missy and Rick LeDuc became the current owners of The Mazama Country Store. They eagerly support the Methow Valley economy and actively look for ways to increase visibility of the local artisans and vendors. In late 2010 they remodeled the store once again, doubling the retail floor space and adding a commercial kitchen. Currently The Mazama Country Store creates all its own fresh pastries, breads, soups, pies and pizzas. The store employs over 30 people, which is about 10% of the full time Mazama population!