Worldview acquires local travel agency
California-based Worldview Travel has acquired McMinnville Travel, located at 105 N.E. Tenth St., in order to expand its West Coast presence.
Kathy Lambert, who owned McMinnville Travel for 10 years, is continuing under the new ownership. So are staff members Maureen Roemmick, Debbie May and Cherie Ellingson.
Michele Benigno, previously working out of Worldview's office in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., has assumed the management position. She has a Sicilian heritage, so has particular expertise about travel in Italy and Sicily.
Last year, Worldview founder Ricci Zuckerman had asked Benigno, who has almost 25 years of experience in the industry, to relocate to Oregon's Willamette Valley and scout about for a potential acquisition. Earlier this year, she initiated discussions between Lambert and Zuckerman, feeling the McMinnville outlet would be a good fit.
Zuckerman, who founded Worldview in 1974, is a five-time recipient of CondŽ Nast Traveler's Travel Specialist Award. She felt the Yamhill Valley would be a great place to expand because it lies at the epicenter of Oregon's food and wine culture.
With the new association, the local travel office earned entry to the luxury travel network Virtuoso, an invitation-only organization.
According to Lambert and Zuckerman, that connection will help it offer competitive prices for luxury travel, and provide special value-added amenities such as room upgrades, airport transfers, special dining experiences, exclusive shore excursions and custom itineraries. Less than 1 percent of travel companies are admitted to membership, they said.
Worldview Travel also has outlets in New York and Florida to serve the East Coast. For more information, call 503-472-5127.
PaulŽe, a new high-end wine country dinner house with a 90-seat capacity, has opened at 1410 N. Highway 99W, Suite 102, in Dundee.
The ownership team includes Executive Chef Daniel Mondok and Master Sommelier Brandon Tebbe, who are welcoming customers 4:30 to 9:30 p.m. six days a week, from Wednesday through Monday.
They are focusing on a unique menu based on local food sources. They plan to purchase virtually all of their meat and produce from local farms and ranches.
Eventually, they plan on growing most of their own produce on three plots, including one-acre adjacent to the restaurant. They also plan to extend their hours and add a lunch menu eventually.
Melody McClary, who previously managed the Montesino Organic Farm in Wimberley, Texas, has been hired to oversee the restaurant's provisioning. For more information, call 503-538-7970.
Bank of America is expanding in Oregon with the hiring of 15 small business specialists, including Paul Gilbertson, assigned to the McMinnville branch, and Cheri Johnson, assigned to the Newberg branch.
Oregon is home to 336,072 small businesses, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration. They account for 97 percent of all employers in the private sector, and 56 percent of all employees.
Craig Christenson, the bank's small business manager, said owners are increasingly turning to banks for more than just checking accounts and lines of credit.
"Business owners are looking to their banker as a dedicated resource who knows their business and can effectively navigate the unique and complex demands their company has," Christenson said.
He feels the hiring of the new staff will help address that need. The bankers will consult with owners at their place of business, he said.
In the first quarter of 2012, the bank extended $47.6 million to the state's small businesses, a 19 percent increase from the first quarter of 2011. Its local branches are located at 1650 N.E. Highway 99W in McMinnville, 600 E. First St. in Newberg and 322 N.E. Main St. in Willamina.
Sokol Blosser Winery in Dundee has been ranked number five in Oregon Business magazine's annual compilation of the top 100 green companies to work for in Oregon. It's the winery's second straight year in the fifth spot.
The selections were made by more than 20,000 employees from 431 companies and nonprofits, taking part in two anonymous surveys.
The winery is located at 5000 N.E. Sokol Blosser Lane in Dayton. The phone is 503-864-2282.
The Heiser and Munoz farms, located at 21425 Grand Island Loop in Dayton, are hosting a strawberry festival from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and tomorrow, June 2 and 3.
In addition to offering pre-picked or u-pick strawberries for sale, the festival will feature live music and train rides. For more information, call 503-868-7512.
The McMinnville Downtown Association will hold a member meeting from 8 to 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, June 6, at The Sage, on the mezzanine at 406 N.E. Third St. Guest speaker Rachael Karl will discuss marketing through social media.
Cost is $5 per person. Prospective participants are being asked to RSVP at 503-472-3605.
Molly Walker, the News-Register's business editor, can be reached at email@example.com or 503-687-1272.