I read the editorial about Hamley’s in Saturday’s paper with some curiosity. As one of the subjects of the criticism handed out so freely, it became more and more clear that the editorial board knows very little about what they were so critical about.
I am the partner that in Hamley’s that continues to invest in Pendleton and Hamley’s. I am the partner that hasn’t sued anybody. I am also the partner that has made four bona fide offers to Blair Woodfield to buy his half of Hamley’s. He has never offered to buy my interest. He has not even been willing to engage in dialogue about selling his interest, while at the same time wants to sell the whole company.
I’m the partner that wants to keep Hamley’s together and thriving. Woodfield moved to Lake Oswego two years ago and has now filed for bankruptcy. I am the partner who tendered my half of the obligation when the Hamley loan fell due on March 1. Woodfield didn’t.
I am the partner that has continued to invest more money in Hamley’s, including funding the cost of launching the new Hamley Saddle Academy out of my own pocket. I am the partner that made the commitment to purchase and restore Hamley’s in the first place. Woodfield at the time didn’t know what Hamley’s was and what it represented in Western culture.
So at this point I have defended myself successfully against Woodfield’s barrage of lawsuits and intend to see Hamley’s survive and thrive. To put it simply, I love this company and will fight until I accomplish what I set out to do in the first place.
Pendleton is a great little town and with great charisma and lots of really fine people. My wife Vicky also loves Pendleton and has purchased two of its Main Street buildings and operates a successful antique business on Main Street. We continue to invest in Pendleton and have more downtown projects in the works.
It would have been easy to let Hamley’s sell and end up in the hands of someone with less commitment than myself, and just take the money and run. Instead, I have stayed to fight for the life and soul of Hamley’s for the second time in 15 years. When Woodfield’s bankruptcy wraps up, I expect to be the owner of Hamley’s and I will pay the underlying debt and return it to a debt-free company.
I challenge the editorial board to get their information correct before just blasting whoever they are in the mood to blast. I agree with them on one thing: Hamley’s does deserve better. And if things go right over the next eight weeks, it will get better. Without naming names, because I expect they would choose to remain anonymous, there have been some great local heroes who have stepped up in a big way to see that Hamley’s stays strong and viable. We thank them from the bottom of our hearts. We thank dozens of people who called, wrote and expressed their support of what Vicky and I are doing to save Hamley’s.
Parley Pearce is a co-owner of Hamley’s. He lives in Walla Walla.