Chris Collins
The Baker City Herald

Construction finished June 1, and an open house is set for Saturday

The Arritola family's faith in Baker City's future outweighed

recessionary fears when they broke ground on a $150,000 expansion that

nearly doubled the size of Oregon Trail Livestock Supply.

"We'd been planning the remodel for a couple of years before the

economy turned. We had a little better outlook on the local economy

than what the national media painted, and we flat needed the space, so

we decided to move forward with it," said Martin Arritola, a partner

and manager of the business founded by his parents, Dan and Mary


There will be an open house Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with free hot dogs and pop, hourly door prizes and discounts on horse tack, jewelry and other items.

"Most of the people we deal with are working people. They're mostly farmers and ranchers and people who work around town," Martin said. "Our business has never really revolved around what's happening on Wall Street.

"The agricultural economy goes through its ups and downs. Farmers and ranchers know how to deal with the machinations of the market place," he added.

"We feel pretty stable in the community. We are the only locally owned feed and seed store in the community. We compete with two chain stores that sell feed, but the community has been pretty good to us," he said. "We are not going anywhere."

Dan said his grandparents homesteaded in the Jordan Valley in the early 1900s, but after three generations of ranching in the Jordan Valley area, the ranch was sold shortly before he and Mary opened Oregon Trail Livestock Supply in 1993 at 3931 10th St. in Baker City.

"We rented pasture and ran cattle in the Baker Valley. That's what brought us to this area," Dan said. "We built the original building in 1993, and two years later we added a 2,400-square-foot warehouse out back."

During their 16 years of operation, the business outgrew the original building and the warehouse, so the Arritolas broke ground on another expansion project last November that was completed June 1.

"We had so much stuff crammed in the retail area that customers couldn't easily see everything," Martin said. "We had a lot of things there was no room to display, so it wound up in the back warehouse where nobody saw it.

"In the expansion completed last week, we doubled the retail space from 13,000 square feet to 26,000 square feet, and we expanded the warehouse from 24,000 square feet to 45,000 square feet," Martin said. "Now people can actually see the things we stock."

The additional retail space allowed the Arritolas to beef up their display of Western home decor items, as well as cowboy hats, rain gear, shovels and other hardware. There's sections with horse tack, pet items, and non-prescription vaccines, vitamins and livestock supplements.

"Cattle and horse vaccines and feed are a big part of our business," Dan said.

Other improvements made during the expansion include the construction of a 20-foot by 48-foot hay shed and a fenced area for storing metal gates, wooden fence posts and other building materials.

"Part of the reason we went ahead with the expansion was to break the image that we are just a cow feed and cow vaccine store," Martin said.

"Some people think because you are a small, locally owned business that you can't buy in volume or get discount prices. With this expansion, we are hoping to dispel that myth," Martin said. "We buy things in volume and at discounted prices just like the big stores."

When there's a difference in price between items sold in a discount store and those sold at Oregon Trail Livestock, Dan said it generally reflects a difference in quality.

"We pride ourselves on handling top quality supplies, and we stand behind everything we sell," Dan said. "We have a no-hassle return policy, and if we don't have something a customer needs we're happy to take special orders."