PENDLETON — The Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation is the new owner of Hamley’s.
The tribes was one of several interests bidding Thursday at a Portland law firm in an auction for the Hamley’s steakhouse, coffee shop and western store, the result of the split between former Hamley’s owners and business partners Blair Woodfield and Parley Pearce.
Pearce, the day before the auction, said some bidders with piles of money were coming and if the tribes wanted to win, “they better put their big boy pants on and bring their wallet.”
The tribes did.
Woodfield said the tribes won with a bid of $3.55 million. He said he was pleased with the outcome and had every confidence the tribes would do a great job with the iconic Pendleton establishments.
Gary Burke, chairman of the CTUIR board of trustees, in a written statement said it was a fitting acquisition.
“The tribes have a long and storied history with the Hamley family and businesses that have spanned over five generations,” Burke said. “We are pleased to keep this business in local hands.”
Wildhorse Resort & Casino, which the tribes own, will handle day-to-day operations of the Hamley’s business.
“We look forward to continuing operations and bringing our extensive business skills to bear,” said Gary George, Wildhorse chief executive officer. “Hamley is a western icon and will continue to provide a service to the community for years to come.”
The Hamley’s family founded the business in 1905. Tribal members of the CTUIR along with surrounding tribes have shopped for clothing, tack and saddle since then.
“Many tribal members have great respect for the family and their sponsorship of tribal events in past years and look forward to carrying on this western tradition,” according to the statement from the tribes. “The Cayuse, Umatilla and Walla Walla tribes have engaged in commerce and trade since time immemorial and this purchase is an extension of their history of a strong business acumen.”
Pearce said the bidding came down to the tribes and Fancho “Fee” Stubblefield, owner of the Lehman Hot Springs resort near Ukiah. The deal has eight days to close, Pearce said, and the transition in ownership should be smooth.
Pearce did not want to sell the Hamley’s businesses to the tribes despite a $3.1 million offer a few years ago. But Thursday afternoon he said he wished them “all the success in the world.” He also said he would stay on as long as the tribes wanted or needed him.
Chuck Sams, spokesman for the tribes, said the auction lasted only a few hours. He said he did not have a definite time line for when the tribes would take control of Hamley’s, but the management and government teams will
meet soon to discuss the next steps.