McMinnville Needs Bunn’s Village
Nathan Knottingham

How often have you driven in to, or out of, North East McMinnville on Highway 99 and sped by a group of brown industrial buildings just on the outskirts of town?  Chances are, unless you have had to stop there before, you may not even know the treasures that lie in a community of businesses known as Bunn’s Village.

Why would the McMinnville Chamber write about a place like Bunn’s Village?  I’m writing because of what that community of buildings and businesses represent for McMinnville.  You may have thought at one time or another that it would be nice to build something else there, or put up big signs about wineries and food, or just paint the buildings another color; but hopefully you’ve never thought that those buildings and businesses just don’t belong.

Bunn’s Village represents the American Dream in so many ways.  It is a place where a guy with a dream, down on his luck from work, finds the gumption to boot-strap a new business; and he scrapes enough funding together to rent a space at Bunn’s Village, hang his shingle, and unlock his door to Valley Archery.  It is where a man who loves to work on cars found space to build a business, which is now employing nine local residents who are expanding (exploding!) operations and the positive reputation of our area with TNT Automotive.  Where furniture finds a second life, their Encore performance, and many new items at low prices, a business like this needs space and they can find that space at Bunn’s Village.  The area represents a great spot for a husband and wife team to pursue their dreams with Accu-Tech Automotive, working hard to provide for their family while proudly operating their own business.  Bunn’s Village is a fertile ground for entrepreneurs who are ready to take their dream and business plan and make it a reality.

Some businesses out there are struggling.  Not because they are not wanted, or needed, but maybe because they are unknown or forgotten.  Has McMinnville become too “snobbish” to embrace the entrepreneur who is bringing their ideas/skills/passions to the marketplace and looking to better the lives of people in their community?  I do not think so.  Imagine: Play is a good example of a business that needs the space that Bunn’s Village has to offer, but is possibly suffering from the fact that our community is not looking to the gems that surround this town.  My kids love that place, and so do many other families I know, but what is the community ready to do to make sure their doors stay open after May?

As I drive past Bunn’s Village on my way to this meeting or that event I am proud to see the assortment of brown, tan, and grey buildings meeting me at the edge of town.  They represent hope, opportunity, the American Dream, possibility and potential.  Not every business out there will continue, that is the nature of a free market (even though I wish they all would), but some businesses currently located in Bunn’s Village will one day be taking up space at MIP or another growing area of McMinnville.  They will employ many people and become well known in the North West and possibly the entire Nation.  They will usher in a new era of business for McMinnville and our surrounding area.

That is why McMinnville needs Bunn’s Village and other areas like it.  I’m proud to talk to entrepreneurs and say with all honesty, “Yes, we have space for you in McMinnville, and we’re really excited to have you join our business community” and I say that because of places like Bunn’s Village.  Hopefully you will visit the businesses out there soon, and the other industrial/business areas in town.  Explore the gems that are hidden in plain site by walking in the door and saying “Hi!”  Next time you’re thinking there is nothing else to do in town I challenge you to drive to that one area that you never stop at and look around.  Who knows, you may find a passion for blowing glass, or archery, or watching your kids be pirates cooking in a kitchen while entertaining you with a puppet show.