Two prominent Idyllwild businesses face changes, one prospective and the other a done deal. Higher Grounds, the centrally located coffee and Internet bistro in the Village Centre will have new owners Mimi and Don Lamp, beginning March 1. And in what they describe as a felicitous exchange, the Lamps will keep in place what Chris Fourroux and staff have built — a cozy and comfortable meeting place for locals and tourists. “They’ve created a great business with good people,” Mimi said. “We’ll keep it as it is. We just want to grow it.”
“Everything fell into place,” Don Lamp said of the sale. “This is a heart thing. The driving force is to keep alive a wonderful gathering place and provide good solid jobs for townspeople. We’re going to be committing a percentage of profit to a charity that has personal meaning for us, Teen Challenge.” Teen Challenge provides residential treatment for teens struggling with addictions.
Mimi Lamp has experience both in restaurant and retail management, having started a restaurant in San Jose and a carpet cleaning business with 17 employees. Lamp is a present Idyllwild Chamber of Commerce director and former president. She said she is looking forward to being at Higher Grounds on a daily basis. “I want to be part of it,” she said. “We’re thinking of bringing in more food items that go with coffee.” Don said, “This is just a happy day for us.”
Richard and Karin Greenwood’s Community Lumber has been a mainstay of the Idyllwild business mix for 34 years, and while the Greenwoods stress they are not leaving Idyllwild, they are putting their business up for sale. “While continuing business as usual and supplying you with the lumber, building supplies and U-Haul equipment you need, we are also beginning the process of finding a new owner for Community Lumber,” Karin said in her announcement of the couple’s plans. “We want to be the ones to tell the community what our plans are. We’ll see where this leads us now.”
“Everything about this place is made of something used, rejected, crooked, extra or left over,” said Richard with a smile, looking out over buildings that came about by necessity, made of what was available at the moment. Richard explained that it all began with a truck that he used to haul lumber from the San Diego area to Idyllwild in the early 1970s. Then came the land in 1984, the present location of Community Lumber. And it was just land, Karin pointed out, no structures. But over time, and as opportunities arose, the Greenwoods added new structures, new features and expanded the services they provided.
The Town Crier will profile the Greenwoods in a longer article about their many contributions to the civic life of this community. But for now, Karin wanted readers to know that even when the business sells, their home will be Idyllwild and they will continue to participate in community activities.
“The land and house we have in Alabama will be for vacations,” Karin said.