Turning corner for new school

MARYSVILLE – Dave Rohde has been a customer at Hunter’s Corner Service ever since he was 6 or 7 years old. He used to ride his bike up to the grocery store and gas station with a group of childhood buddies.

“I used to buy my soda pops and wind up airplanes there,” Rohde said of the business on 84th Street NE.

When Rohde was 14 years old, Russ Hunter, owner of the store at that time, gave him his first charge card.

“It came in handy when I was 16 and started driving,” Rohde said.

The boy used it to buy gas for his lawn mower as he went around cutting grass for neighbors.

Hunter’s Corner is where Rohde, now 46, still goes every day to get his coffee.

But Rohde will have to savor his memories and his last sips of java today when the grocery store and gas station closes after being in business since 1935.

Owners Melinda and Shannon Ramey hope customers write out their stories ; stories like Rohde’s; and bring them to an open house planned for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.

The Rameys sold the gas station, grocery store and surrounding 1.4 acres to the Marysville School District. The site will likely be the student entrance to Marysville Getchell High School, scheduled to open in 2010.

“The store purchase was just a natural purchase,” said John Bingham, capital projects director for the school district.

Work will likely start with logging in the late fall. Building will begin in summer 2008.

“It’s debatable about whether the shop will come down,” Bingham said.

Neither the Rameys nor the school district staff knows. It depends on the cleaning of the site and the tanks.

“We are required to turn over to them a clean site,” Shannon Ramey said. The gas station has relatively new pumps and tanks, so Ramey doesn’t anticipate any problems.

Bingham has been around Marysville all his life and is somewhat of a history buff of the area.

“I’ve been there quite a few times,” he said of Hunter’s Corner Service.

Although he see the gas station closing and perhaps coming down as a little different from old buildings brought down years ago, he doesn’t know how people will feel.

The store property has plenty of tales to tell from the last century. Bessie Ashmun, a logging-country school teacher, bought about 15 acres of land at Getchell in 1911. She had been injured in a train accident, and the money for the land purchase came from her insurance settlement.

During the Depression, Bessie and her husband, Russ “Pappy” Hunter, and their two sons and daughters lost almost everything, including an Arlington trucking business. The family moved to Winlock, where Pappy Hunter worked as a logger, before returning to their Getchell property with the little cabin on it.

As that family grew, they raised chickens and livestock and worked a large garden on the property along 84th Street.

The farm became popular with travelers. Drivers heading up the steep Getchell Hill would run out of gas and stop to ask Pappy Hunter if he could help them. The idea for a gas station came to fruition and three generations have run the business over the last 70 years.

The property burned down in 1952, and Russ Harvey Hunter came home from a job in Alaska to help the family recover from the loss. He was instrumental in starting the Getchell Fire Department, which served the community for almost 50 years. At one time he served as fire chief.

When the business was up and running again, the younger Hunter opened an automotive mechanic repair business. He married Rose Haaland, a neighbor farm girl, in 1956. She lives on the property today.

The couple and their three daughters ran the store and all worked behind the counter. There were no regulations at that time about who could and couldn’t sell and buy cigarettes.

Russ Harvey Hunter and his wife began looking for a buyer for the store when he turned 70. Their daughter, Melinda, and her husband, Shannon Ramey, stepped up and have run the family business since 1993. Russ Harvey Hunter died in 1999.

The Rameys had previously considered selling the business. Although he and his wife own the store, Shannon Ramey also owns and operates Rampart Engineering, a residential remodeling design business.

With new construction all around them and new roads, it’s time for them to shut up shop.

“The whole culture is changing,” Shannon Ramey said. People used to go to bars and smoke; now there are no-smoking laws. The new community centers are coffee houses, he added.

People still want a familiar experience: that burger drive-thru, that corner store.

“But it’s not as valued as it used to be,” he said.

The family will maintain their homes on the remaining 2.5 acres. “Plenty to garden and weed,” Melinda Ramey said.

Rose Hunter says that she will probably have withdrawals from the business, even though her role has been minimal the past 10 years.

“It is time to move on,” Rose Hunter said. “I have no regrets in that manner.”

Customers, though, have been a little shocked to hear that the business is closing, Melinda Ramey said.

“It will be very sad,” she said. “I’ll miss the customers. Some have threatened to come to the house with their coffee.”

Rohde, like many other customers, plans to attend the open house. He lives in the immediate area of the store. His family has a beautiful view of the mountains but they will be moving any day now toward Granite Falls to acreage where there is room for their animals. Rohde said he just sold his family’s property to Harbour Homes.

New construction, both residential and commercial, has been booming in Marysville during the past few years.

“We fully expected it to make Highway 9 but not this quick,” Rohde said. “I guess it’s the inevitable. It’s not the same town I grew up in.”

Rohde said he’ll have to find a new place to get his morning coffee or that gallon of milk his wife might need at the last minute.

“We don’t know where the heck we’re going to go,” Rohde said.

Christina Harper is a Snohomish County freelance writer. She can be reached at harper@heraldnet.com.

Talk to us

More in Herald Business Journal

An Alaska Airline plane lands at Paine Field Saturday on January 23, 2021. (Kevin Clark/The Herald)
Alaska Airlines stalls plan for extra flights in Everett

Business has been sluggish, but the airline says it will offer 12 flights a day at Paine Field in the new year.

Mukilteo asks for input on housing density, and it’s complicated

Here’s a guide to what voters should know about the advisory ballot measure. What does it actually do?

FILE - In this file photo dated Monday, March 11, 2019, rescuers work at the scene of an Ethiopian Airlines plane crash south of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.  The number of deaths in major air crashes around the globe fell by more than half in 2019 according to a report released Wednesday Jan. 1, 2020, by the aviation consultancy To70, revealing the worst crash for the year was an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX on March 10 that lost 157 lives. (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene, FILE)
Former Boeing test pilot pleads not guilty in 737 Max case

He’s the first person to be charged with a crime in connection with the Indonesia and Ethiopia crashes.

People hold signs in protest of the vaccine mandate after Boeing announced it would terminate workers who do not comply on Friday, Oct. 15, 2021 in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Some Boeing workers protest in Everett over vaccine mandate

The Boeing Company announced earlier this week that its workers must be vaccinated by Dec. 8.

FILE - In this March 14, 2019 file photo, Ethiopian relatives of crash victims mourn at the scene where the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 crashed shortly after takeoff killing all 157 on board, near Bishoftu, south-east of Addis Ababa, in Ethiopia. Relatives of some of the passengers who died in the crash will mark the two-year anniversary of the disaster on Wednesday, March 10, 2021, by seeking a reversal of government orders that let Boeing 737 Max jets fly again.  (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene, File)
Boeing pilot involved in Max testing is indicted in Texas

He’s accused of giving the FAA false information about systems that played a role in two deadly crashes.

Top (L-R): Kim Daughtry, Steve Ewing. Bottom (L-R): Gary Petershagen, Marcus Tageant.
Developers court Lake Stevens council incumbents with over $20K

Over half of the campaign dollars for four candidates came from people tied to real estate or property development.

Traffic drives in view of a massive Boeing Co. production plant, where images of jets decorate the hangar doors, Friday, April 23, 2021, in Everett, Wash. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Boeing says workers must get the COVID vaccine by Dec. 8

“Compliance with these requirements is a condition of employment,” says an internal company presentation.

The Boeing 737 Max 10 airplane landing at Boeing Field in Seattle on June 18. (Chona Kasinger / Bloomberg)
Boeing ramps up 737 Max but 787 deliveries are still blocked

Boeing last month maintained its steady trickle of sales as it navigates the aviation downturn.

A handful of Northwest Union Carpenter members picket in front of the new Marysville civic center construction site on the sixth day of a region wide union carpenter strike on Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021 in Marysville, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Carpenters strike ends with new contract and a $10 raise

Roughly 500 union members were working on projects in Snohomish County. It was among the largest strikes in 18 years.

FILE - In this March 20, 2020, file photo, the Amazon campus outside the company headquarters in Seattle sits nearly deserted on an otherwise sunny and warm afternoon. Amazon said Monday, Oct. 11, 2021 it will allow many tech and corporate workers to continue working remotely indefinitely, as long as they can commute to the office when necessary. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
Amazon to allow employees to work remotely indefinitely

Although most cannot work remotely because their duties include grabbing orders and delivering them.

With new owners demanding the Grand Apartments' longtime residents leave, Stephen Teixeira, 52, documents issues at the Rockefeller Avenue building, on Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021 in Everett, Washington.  (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Life at the Grand Apartments in Everett is now a ‘nightmare’

Longtime residents say the new owner, an investment company, is trying to bully them out of the building.

Bob Martin, 80, owner of the The Stag Barber and Styling in Snohomish. (Andrea Brown / The Herald)
$90,000 fine doesn’t stop defiant Snohomish barber

Bob Martin appealed a state penalty for ignoring coronavirus rules and lost. It has not cut into his business.