Alongside the Avenue: Hagan Hamilton named a High 100 employer

Marcus Larson/News-Register ## Jason John, chief operating officer, chats with receptionist Hannah Forster in the companies McMInnville office. Hagan Hamilton has been named one of Oregon’s Top 100 employers more than a dozen times.

Hagan Hamilton Insurance Solutions has been named one of the Top 100 Employers in the state by Oregon Business Magazine for the 12th time in a row.

The McMinnville company also received the award several times prior to 2008, according to Jason John, chief operating officer. But the award for 2020 is especially special because it showed that Hagan Hamilton was able to maintain its high quality during such a difficult year, he said.

“We were able to hold the line and do some special things for our employees during some tough times,” John said.

While many companies cut or furloughed staff as the coronavirus pandemic slowed the economy, Hagan Hamilton was able to keep its 56 employees working, he said. “We sent the staff messages that things would be OK so they felt secure.”

Hagan Hamilton grew out of a company founded in McMinnville in 1910 by W.L. Warren, who had served as county sheriff in the late 1800s. It took its current name in 1961 when it was purchased by Merrill Hagan and Mike Hamilton.

Rick John, Jason’s father, became owner with a partner in the early 1990s. He has been the sole owner since 2000.

Thirty-two of the independent insurance agency’s 56 employees work in the McMinnville office at 448 S.E. Baker St. Nine are in Newberg. Others are stationed at Hagan Hamilton offices in Sheridan, St. Helens and Junction City.

Employees include agents who work with individuals and businesses to help them find the right insurance and benefits; service team support staff; and administrative staff.

Hagan Hamilton employees are treated like, and feel like, family, said Jason John, who joined the firm in 2008 as an account manager.

“We have open doors and open conversations,” he said.

That lets employees know their ideas are valued, he said, and inspires them to have pride in their workplace, what they do and how they do it.


Hallmark home

Kathleen’s Hallmark will stay in its longtime location in the Town Center shopping at least through June.

The gift card and collectible store has been located at 1321 N.E. Highway 99W since it opened 35 years ago, according to David Toth. He and his father, Les, bought the business 11 years ago.

Before Christmas, the Toths were told by owners of the shopping center they would have to move at the end of 2020. They had been trying to renegotiate a new lease, but, due in part to the pandemic, had not reached an agreement.

The landlord gave them another month, until the end of January. But now the shop has at least six more months before it needs to move.

Customers reacted with delight when Toth announced that Kathleen’s Hallmark would remain for the time being. Many regulars had sent letters to the shop’s landlord or commented in support on its Facebook page in December, when things were still up in the air. 

Kathleen’s Hallmark is open from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays. For more information about the store, call 503-434-5813.


Sheridan branch

Sara Meyer has been promoted to branch manager of First Federal Savings & Loan Association’s Sheridan Branch, 246 S. Bridge St.

Meyer previously was branch operations manager, a position in which she focused on day-to-day branch responsibilities and team development.

As branch manager, she will direct all operations including customer service, business development, administration and community support. She also is responsible for “bringing out the best of branch’s personnel” through training, coaching, development and motivation.

Meyer, a native Oregonian, is involved in the Sheridan Chamber of Commerce, the Carlton Community Foundation and Carlton’s city budget committee.

Ron Wolfe, First Federal’s chief banking officer, said Meyer is “a great example of hard work and perseverance paying off.”


Mexican seafood

A new McMinnville restaurant opened that specializes in serving Mexican-style seafood dishes.

Mi Lindo Nayarit Mariscos is located at 1310 N.E. Baker St., in the Baker Street Sqaure shopping center location that’s been home to several restaurants over the years.

It offers a regular menu of seafood dishes, ranging from various fish preparations to crab legs, crawfish, scallops, mussels and octopus. It also offers specials, such as fish or shrimp tacos. Margaritas, piña coladas and other beverages also are available.

The menu is available on the Mi Lindo Nayarit Mariscos Facebook page.

Customers can call ahead to 971-706-5152, then pick up their food. Delivery also is available, along with limited outdoor seating.


Greeters gatherings

The McMinnville Area Chamber of Commerce’s Jan. 29 Greeters program will featured First Federal. It will run from 8 to 9 a.m. via Zoom. A link is available through the Chamber website,

The Chehalem Valley Chamber of Commerce in Newberg will host a virtual Greeters session from 8 to 9 a.m. on Jan. 29, as well. A Zoom link is available through the website,


Business tax rules

McMinnville Area Chamber of Commerce’s Business Support Series will feature an “Income Tax Law Update for Small Business & Individuals” on Jan. 26.

CPA Kathleen Bernards will speak at the webinar, which will run from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. Cost is $10 per person. To register, visit

Bernards will address new federal and state tax laws and their impact on individuals and small businesses. A question-and-answer session will follow.

To submit items for consideration in Along the Street, email [email protected] with “Along the Street” in the subject line.